Major Requirements

Requirements & Policies

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STS students take a set of Program Core courses, as well as a set of Socio-Cultural and Technical Courses in a selected concentration area. Within each concentration, students must complete the Concentration Core requirement as well. In putting their program together (on a B.A. or B.S. Form), students are advised to review the STS Program Policies below.

Students are asked to define and articulate one or two cohesive themes that connect the coursework in their Concentration Area. These themes should articulate how your Concentration Core and Sociocultural courses are helping you to critically examine your Technical courses.

Each student’s curriculum plan must be reviewed and approved by the STS Associate Director (AD) and Student Services Officer (SSO). The goal of that review is to help students maximize the intellectual coherence of their engagement with foundational STS ideas and approaches. With AD and SSO approval, students can design their own Concentration Areas.

Current Majors: Access your Google file here

STS Program Core courses (PC)
  • Employ analytical approaches commonly used in STS
  • Expose students to topics, theories, methods, and ways of thinking important in STS, including (but not limited to) sociotechnical systems, infrastructure, path dependence, social constructivism, ethics, constitutionalism, ethnography, actor-network theory, or history and politics of science, technology, and medicine
  • Cannot be substituted or petitioned
STS Program Core Requirements (26+ units; 8 course minimum with C grade minimum)
  1. Gateway Requirement: STS 1 (strongly recommended prior to declaring)

  2. Disciplinary Requirement: Should include at least one Writing in the Major (WIM) course and one STS Global course.

    1. Engineering and Science PC (Program Core) Courses (complete 2 courses)

    2. Social Science and Humanities PC (Program Core) Courses (complete 4 courses)

  3. Senior Requirement:

    1. STS 200: Senior Capstone (4 or 5 units) or

    2. STS 299: Honors Program (10+ units)

STS Concentration Core courses (CC, formerly Foundational)
  • Are specifically designated sociocultural courses directly relevant to the chosen STS concentration 
  • Provide students with tools to critically engage with the knowledge and skills they are learning in their technical courses
  • Cannot be double-counted with student’s choice of Program Core courses
  • Cannot be substituted or petitioned
STS Concentration Area Requirements (50+ units; 12 course minimum)

1. B.A. degree requirements for the concentration areas

  • 8 Socio-cultural courses from the approved course list for the selected concentration area, including 3 CC (Concentration Core) courses.

  • 4 Technical courses from the approved course list for the selected concentration area.

**Note that the 50-unit requirement may require taking additional courses**

2. B.S. degree requirements for the concentration area

  • 8 Technical courses from the approved course list for the selected concentration area.

  • 4 Socio-cultural courses from the approved course list for the selected concentration area including 3 CC (Concentration Core) courses. 

**Note that the 50-unit requirement may require taking additional courses**


Your concentration must:

  • Have a cohesive overall theme or two that you can articulate

  • Include Concentration Core courses and Sociocultural Electives that allow you to critically examine a sequence of your Technical Electives

  • Be approved as a whole by the STS Program: Note that approved courses may not be approved for your specific concentration, if your curriculum does not achieve the above requirements as a whole

STS Sociocultural Courses
  • Provide historical, social, cultural and/or political context for specific areas of science and technology in each concentration

  • May include STS Program Core or Concentration Core courses not used to fulfill those requirements

  • Electives must be part of a cohesive plan approved by the STS Associate Director

STS Technical Courses
  • Courses involving lab work, engineering problems, coding, or other technical work in science, technology, or medicine

  • Help build technical knowledge and skills relevant to the chosen concentration

  • Students seeking the B.S. degree take more of these

  • The majority of Technical Electives should be a sequence (or two sequences) of increasingly advanced levels. In general, introductory courses with little technical content will not be approved. 

  • At least one sequence should be accompanied by either Concentration Core or Sociocultural Electives that allow you to examine and analyze its context and social consequences

STS Program Policies
  • All degree courses must be taken for a letter grade if offered. If declared after 8/31/2013, must receive a minimum grade of C in all Program Core (PC) courses.

  • Courses cannot be taken for less than the minimum number of units listed in the course menus, even if the course is offered for fewer units.

  • Courses may not be double-counted toward both Core and Concentration Area requirements.

  • AP credit does not count toward the STS major.

  • Students may use only one introductory computer science course, CS 105 OR CS 106A, toward STS Core & Concentration Area requirements if declared after 8/31/2013.

  • Students may not use similar or variations of the same course including: 1) MS&E 152 and MS&E 52   2) HISTORY 140A and HISTORY 232F   3) HISTORY 144 and HISTORY 44Q  4) BIO 109A and BIO 109B  5) BIO 41 and HUMBIO 2A and  6) BIO 42 and HUMBIO 3A.

  • Students are responsible for any prerequisites. It is recommended that STS majors take the Math Calculus sequence (or have AP credit), as many Technical Courses approved for Concentration Areas require it.

  • Students may count no more than two approved course petitions (subject to STS staff approval) toward their individual STS Concentration Area requirements (courses may not be petitioned for Program Core or Concentration Core requirements). Freshmen seminars are not eligible for petition.  

  • Transfer students may petition equivalent and/or relevant STS coursework from institutions outside Stanford University, provided the Registrar has already awarded transfer credit. All such petitions are subject to approval by the STS staff approval.

  • All courses must be taken for minimum of 3 units. Core requirements should be taken for 4+ units where offered.

  • Note that the Human Biology department typically requires students taking any of the HUMBIO core courses (HUMBIO 2A, 3A, 4A, 2B, 3B, and 4B) to take the entire coure sequence.

  • STS 51 must be taken as a complete series (A, B, C) to count a concentration core (formerly foundational) course.