FAQS

General Questions

What is an interdisciplinary program?

An interdisciplinary program crosses the boundaries between traditional disciplines to tackle problems that require a diverse set of methods and concepts. The STS Program's affiliated faculty members represent over a dozen departments, including Anthropology, Communication, Computer Science, Education, Electrical Engineering, History, Law, Management Science and Engineering, Political Science and Sociology. By learning to bring this rich collection of disciplinary expertise to bear on issues surrounding science and technology, students graduate uniquely equipped to succeed in professions that demand interdisciplinary fluency across technical and social frameworks.

May I study abroad and major in STS?

Absolutely! A quarter abroad in a different cultural context allows you to enrich your academic interests, expand your network, and generate new ideas. The STS major constitutes roughly 80-90 of your 180 required graduation units, which allows you the time, if you plan ahead, to study abroad for a quarter or more. Some courses offered overseas may count towards your major; to find them, check the Bing Overseas Program website and then cross-reference any BOSP courses you plan to take with the STS course lists in your chosen concentration area. Even if you are unable to take coursework towards your major, you will still be making progress towards your Stanford degree.

May I use transfer credit toward the major?

Transfer students may petition to apply coursework from institutions outside Stanford University to their major, provided the Registrar has already awarded transfer credit and that the coursework is relevant and/or equivalent to courses approved for the STS major. All such petitions are subject to approval by the STS faculty director.

Can I minor in STS?

The STS program does not offer a minor.

Program Questions

May I choose a faculty advisor?

After you declare, you will be assigned in Axess to a faculty advisor who is affiliated with STS. Students who have a pre-existing relationship with an STS-affiliated faculty member, and would like to request them as their advisor, must receive a signature of permission from that faculty member in order to be re-assigned. The role of your faculty advisor is to serve as an intellectual mentor. You should be proactive in scheduling an annual appointment with your advisor during their office hours to discuss your academic interests, goals and challenges. You are also encouraged to meet with your advisor to discuss research and other academic opportunities.

Can I get credit toward the STS major for a class that is not on the pre-approved course list(s)?

COURSE PETITIONS: STS majors may petition to count up to two non-approved courses toward their individual STS Concentration Area requirements.

Courses may not be petitioned for Program Core or Concentration Core requirements. If the course is taken at another institution, Stanford must first award you Stanford credit if you would like the course to be considered in lieu of an STS requirement. The STS Director and/or Associate Director will review all petitions and the final decision will be communicated via email.

COURSE NOMINATIONS: Stanford faculty and declared STS majors may nominate courses for permanent inclusion in the STS curriculum. The STS Curriculum Committee reviews nominations once a year during summer quarter. If approved, the course will be permanently added to the curriculum for the upcoming academic year.

Why would I nominate a course? Because it helps both you and the STS Program! New courses relevant to STS are being created every year, but it is impossible for us to keep track of every department’s offerings. Nominations bring new courses to the attention of the STS Curriculum Committee and, if approved, directly benefit our majors. All nominations are reviewed in the context of all six concentrations, so if a course has been approved for one concentration, but not another, it cannot be re-nominated. To find out whether a course was previously nominated, please contact the Student Services Officer. 

NOTE: Frosh (first-year) seminars are not eligible for petition or nomination.

Course petition and course nomination forms are available online.

Internship and Research Questions

How do I get academic credit for an internship?

Please see our Labs and Internships page for more detailed information.

Does STS offer funding for student research?

STS does not offer unrestricted funding for student research at this time.

However, STS co-sponsors the Stanford Existential Risks Initiative, which offers both part-time and full-time funded research opportunities in particular focus areas related to the Catastrophic Risks and Solutions concentration.

Please see the UAR website for additional university funding and grant opportunities.

Does STS offer Curricular Practical Training (CPT)?

Yes, CPT is available for declared STS majors maintaining a valid F-1 visa during summer quarter (additional information on CPT eligibility can be found on the Bechtel International Center website). Students obtain an internship in a relevant research or industrial activity to enhance their professional experience consistent with their STS degree program and area of concentration. The student is responsible for arranging their own internship and must obtain an offer letter before submitting the CPT proposal form or the STS Program Director's evaluation and approval. Once approved, the student may enroll in STS 199A, for 1 unit.  Course may be taken twice (for a maximum of 2 units). At the end of the quarter, a one-page final report must be submitted to the STS Program Director documenting work done and relevance to degree program.