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This archived information is dated to the 2008-09 academic year only and may no longer be current.

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

Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities


A student who is a member of the Humanities Honors Program may choose to pursue the B.A. degree in Humanities through one of four concentration options: (1) the standard student designed thematic concentration; (2) the concentration designed for students who also plan to complete the established premedical curriculum for careers in the health sciences; (3) the concentration in digital humanities; or (4) the concentration in philosophical and literary thought. For all options, the B.A. degree conferred is in Humanities. Each student chooses a field that reflects the focus of study, which is noted on the transcript after degree conferral. Students who complete a thesis with a grade of 'B' or higher receive Honors in Humanities, which is noted on the transcript and on the diploma. More detailed information may be found in the Procedures and Guidelines documents, available at the program office. Admission information and recommended academic schedule follow below.

Each applicant to the major submits a study plan and statement of purpose which outlines the rationale for a particular field of study. The study plan should be worked out in consultation with the student's faculty mentor. Students who wish to major in Humanities must apply to the major by the end of the sophomore year.

Students may complete fields of study in the following; these fields are declared on Axess and appear on the transcript but not on the diploma.

  1. Culture and Politics
  2. Digital Humanities (see below)
  3. Early Modern Studies
  4. Film, Literature, and Society
  5. Medieval Studies
  6. Modern Thought and Literature
  7. Performance, Culture, and Society
  8. Philosophical and Literary Thought (see below)
  9. Philosophy and the Visual Arts
  10. Philosophy, Literature, and Ecology


Majors must first enroll in the Humanities Honors Program. With the exception of the premed option, each program of study must include at least 12 courses for a minimum of 60 units over and above the requirements of the Humanities honors program (28-30 units). In order to count toward the major, courses must be at least three units, must be at the 100 level or above, and must be taken for a letter grade.


The program of study for the thematic concentration includes:

  1. A statement of purpose designating the field and outlining the rationale for the program of study.
  2. Six courses in one of the three areas: literary, historical, or philosophical study.
  3. Three courses in each of the other two areas above.
  4. The requirements for the Humanities honors program.

If additional courses are needed to make up the 60 unit minimum, the student may take those courses in any of the three categories. Each program of study must be signed by a Stanford faculty member who has agreed to act as the student's academic adviser; the proposed program must then be approved by the director. Changes in the study plan must be approved by the student's adviser and kept on file in the program office.

For some fields of study, such as film studies or modern thought and literature, specific courses or types of courses may be recommended. Consult the student handbook for such recommendations.


The Interdisciplinary Major in Humanities offers an option for students who are preparing to attend medical school, but who wish to focus their studies in the humanities. This program of study gives students a coherent way to organize interdisciplinary interests by theme, nationality, or historical period. In addition, students choosing this track take all the courses usually required by medical schools (two years of organic and inorganic chemistry with labs, one year of physics, one year of biology with labs, and one or two courses to provide proficiency in quantitative skills as determined by a premed adviser), as well as course work in various humanities disciplines (eight courses and a minimum of 40 units) distributed as follows:

  1. A statement of purpose choosing one of the fields listed above.
  2. Four courses in the student's chosen field. Generally these four courses address different aspects of literature, history, and philosophy.
  3. Three courses in medical ethics, history or philosophy of science, or science and the humanities.
  4. One course in the arts.
  5. The courses recommended by Undergraduate Advising and Research to fulfill medical school entrance requirements.
  6. The requirements for the Humanities honors program.


The development of new technologies has produced new topics for scholarly discussion in the humanities as well as new forms of cultural expression. The Interdisciplinary Major in Humanities offers a field of study for students who wish to concentrate study in the Digital Humanities with the following course requirements:

  1. A statement of purpose outlining a narrowly defined field of study and approved by a digital humanities adviser.
  2. HUMNTIES 198 as one of the core seminars for the Humanities honors program.
  3. CS 105, Introduction to Computers, or CS 106A, Programming Methodology, or equivalent.
  4. Seven humanities courses relevant to the student's focus as articulated in the statement of purpose.
  5. Three computer science or technology courses relevant to the student's focus; one course should have a technical focus, and one should deal with societal issues.
  6. HUMNTIES 201, Digital Humanities Practicum, in preparation for the student's honors project.
  7. The requirements for the Humanities honors program.


The field of study in philosophical and literary thought is available in association with the crossdisciplinary Program for the Study of Philosophical and Literary Thought. Students wishing to major in Humanities with this focus must consult with the director of that program, as well as the director of Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities. Students prepare a program of study including at least 12 courses in literary, philosophical, and historical study, of which six courses are in philosophical or literary thought, and three in each of the other two categories. Requirements:

  1. A statement of purpose defining a focus in philosophical or literary thought.
  2. HUMNTIES 181, Philosophy and Literature Gateway, which can be counted toward the course requirements for philosophical study or toward the requirements for literary study.
  3. PHIL 80, Mind, Matter, and Meaning.
  4. Courses in philosophical study normally include at least one course from the PHIL 170 sequence and one course from the PHIL 180 sequence.
  5. Courses in literary study should focus on one national literature.
  6. Courses in historical study should include at least one course in the history of philosophy.
  7. The requirements of the Humanities honors program.
  8. Students in this track are strongly encouraged, where possible, to select one or two Interdisciplinary Core Seminars which are approved as courses of special relevance for philosophical and literary thought.

Interested students should consult the director of undergraduate studies in the Program for the Study of Philosophical and Literary Thought for a listing of courses of special relevance to the study of philosophy and literature (which includes some of the HUMNTIES interdisciplinary core seminars).


The Honors Program in Humanities aims to heighten a sense of the relations among various humanistic disciplines, and to study issues in intellectual and cultural history through aesthetic, literary, historical, religious, social, and ethical perspectives.


Any qualified undergraduate at Stanford, regardless of major, may apply to the Humanities Honors Program. Interested students may obtain information from the program office. Students are encouraged to register for the program at the earliest opportunity and to take HUMNTIES 100, Text and Context in Humanities, in the sophomore year. However, students may join the program as late as the junior year under certain circumstances such as in the case of transfer students. Students enrolled in the crossdisciplinary majors affiliated with the Program for the Study of Philosophical and Literary Thought, whether through the Philosophy major or one of the literature majors, are encouraged to write their honors essays through the Humanities honors program. Students must meet the following entrance requirements before being admitted to the program:

  1. Completion of at least two quarters of the Area One requirement, except in the case of transfer students, who are granted an exception.
  2. A grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.3 (B+) in all course work in the humanities. Such course work includes any Area One sequence and all Program in Writing and Rhetoric sections; all courses in the departments of Art and Art History, Drama, and Music (except studio or performance courses); all courses in the departments of Asian Languages, Classics, English, French and Italian, German Studies, Slavic Languages and Literatures, and Spanish and Portuguese (except first-year language courses); all courses in the departments of Comparative Literature, History, Philosophy, and Religious Studies; and all courses in the programs in Feminist Studies and Modern Thought and Literature.


  1. Completion of HUMNTIES 100, Text and Context in Humanities, 3 units, preferably in the sophomore year.
  2. Two different seminars in the series 160-163 or 190-198: 8-10 units, sophomore or junior year. Both seminars must be completed by the end of the tenth quarter of undergraduate study in order for students to remain members in good standing.
  3. At least one survey course in intellectual or cultural history, 4-5 units, in a field relevant to the anticipated topic of the senior essay, choosing from the 160-163 series or among courses in history, philosophy, religious studies, literature, and the arts. Students should consult the course list in the program office.
  4. In order to develop the requisite knowledge and methodological background to write a Humanities honors essay, students must take, during their sophomore and junior years, the required Humanities honors courses and additional humanities courses in disciplines germane to their honors essays.
  5. Enrollment in 200A, one unit each, Winter and Spring quarters of the junior year.
  6. Enrollment in 199A,B Honors Essay Writing Workshop, one unit each.
  7. Completing an honors essay on a topic approved by the Steering Committee (usually 5 units Autumn Quarter and 5 units Winter Quarter, senior year).
  8. A minimum GPA of 3.3 (B+) in all courses taken for the Honors Program, as well as an overall minimum GPA of 3.0 (B) in all course work in order to remain in the program.

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