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This archived information is dated to the 2011-12 academic year only and may no longer be current.

For currently applicable policies and information, see the current Stanford Bulletin.

Bachelor of Arts in Human Biology


A prospective major must consult with the student and faculty advisers to obtain detailed information about the program and guidance in the development of an individual course of study.

At the time the major is declared, the student must submit a written statement (3-5 pages) of academic and long-term goals and the proposed list of courses satisfying the requirements for the major. The proposal is then reviewed by the student advisers who help identify an appropriate faculty adviser. Final approval of the proposed course of study rests with the faculty adviser.

It is important to declare early, preferably in early spring as soon as students have passed both Autumn and Winter Quarter core courses (2A,B, 3A,B). The University requires students to declare a major by the end of Spring Quarter of the sophomore year. Under special circumstances students may declare as late as Autumn Quarter of the junior year. Petitions to declare late require additional documentation and are less likely to be approved.

Students who plan to pursue graduate work should be aware of the admission requirements of the schools to which they intend to apply. Early planning is advisable to guarantee completion of major and graduate school requirements.


The B.A. in Human Biology (HUMBIO) requires a minimum of 87 units in the major divided among four levels of courses:

  1. Fundamental Program: at least 38 units, to include
    1. Human Biology Core (30 units)
      • The Human Biology Core refers to HUMBIO 2A and 2B, 3A and 3B, and 4A and 4B. See "Human Biology Core" below for more information.
    2. Statistics (4-5 units)
      • Statistics may be chosen from courses such as STATS 60 or 141, PSYCH 10, SOC 181B, and BIO 141. For questions about other statistics courses that might fulfill this requirement, see the program office. The core and statistics courses must be taken for a letter grade by majors.
    3. Internship (HUMBIO 197, 4 units)
      • The internship requirement, a mentored non-classroom project, is graded satisfactory/no credit only.
  2. Foundation Courses: 20-unit minimum. Total units vary, depending on the focus of study chosen by the student for the area of concentration. They may include introductory-level courses from across the University and lab courses. The minimum grade requirement for foundation courses is 'C-.'
  3. Area of Concentration: a minimum of five courses totaling at least 20 units. This in-depth area of study enables the student to focus on educational and post-baccalaureate goals. Courses are non-introductory, theory-based, and are usually numbered over 100. Three or more departments must be represented in the concentration. Each course must be taken for a minimum of 3 units. The area of concentration is individually designed by the student in consultation with the student advisers and faculty adviser. Final approval of the concentration rests with the student advisers and faculty adviser. All area of concentration courses must be taken for a letter grade. The minimum grade requirement for area of concentration courses is 'C-'. The area of concentration generally has an emphasis in one, and sometimes more than one, of the following eight areas:

    Area 1: Environment and Environmental Policy

    • Environment
    • Environmental Policy
    • Culture/Demography/Human Ecology

    Area 2: Health and Health Policy

    • Health Policy
    • Public Health
    • International Health

    Area 3: Human Performance

    Area 4: Human Development

    • Biological Development
    • Psychological Development
    • Education

    Area 5: Biomedical Science

    • Genetics
    • Molecular Biology
    • Human Physiology
    • Infectious Diseases

    Area 6: Brain and Behavior

    Area 7: Ethics and Medical Humanities

    Area 8: Evolution

    A non-exclusive list of possible courses for each emphasis is available at the student advisers' office or at

  4. Upper-Division Courses: students must take three Human Biology upper-division courses numbered 100 to 189. These courses should be used to explore subjects outside the area of concentration. One upper-division course may be taken satisfactory/no credit. Each course must be taken for a minimum of 3 units. All non-laboratory advanced HUMBIO courses (those numbered 100 to 189) fulfill the Human Biology upper-division requirement. A list of Human Biology cognate courses can be found at


Required core sequences (HUMBIO 2A,B, 3A,B, and 4A,B) introduce the biological and social sciences, and most importantly, relationships between the two. Classes meet throughout the academic year. Students must register concurrently for the A and B series and take the core in sequence. Students should initiate the core in Autumn Quarter of the sophomore year. Freshmen are not permitted to enroll. Majors must earn a minimum letter grade of 'C-' in core courses. The Human Biology core consists of the following courses:


The honors program in Human Biology provides qualified majors the opportunity to work closely with faculty on an individual research project, culminating in an honors thesis. Students may begin honors research from a number of starting points including topics introduced in the core or upper-division courses; independent interests stemming from an internship experience; or collaborating with faculty from the natural, social, or behavioral sciences.

Students may apply to the honors program if they have completed the Human Biology core with a minimum GPA of 3.0, have an overall Stanford grade point average (GPA) of 3.2, and meet other requirements detailed in the honors handbook. Interested students should consult the Human Biology Honors Handbook at and meet with the Human Biology Associate Director or student services officer.

Most honors projects involve a total of 10-15 units of course work in HUMBIO 193 and 194.

Admission to the honors program is by submission of an intention to undertake honors research in early February, followed by the application in early March of the junior year. Students planning to undertake honors begin research or preparation as early as completion of the sophomore year.

The honors thesis is normally completed by the middle of Spring Quarter of the senior year. Honors students then present summaries of their research at the Human Biology Honors Poster Symposium in May.

Human Biology also holds a Summer Honors College just prior to Autumn Quarter each year for students who have applied to the honors program. Students apply to Summer Honors College in April of the junior year. For applications, contact the program office.

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