Concentration Areas (50+ units)
You can find PDF hard copies of the course and requirements document and curriculum forms for past years on our Forms & Policies page. For the most up-to-date course offering information, please use our website and ExploreCourses.
STS students are required to take a total of at least 12 courses and 50 units in a single concentration area. All courses must be chosen from the list of approved courses for student’s concentration. Students should have a clear sense of what their particular thematic foci are within the concentration, and select courses related to them. Each curriculum plan is reviewed as a whole to ensure intellectual coherence, engagement with foundational ideas and approaches in STS, and strengths both in the social sciences/humanities and in science and engineering. Specifically, your social sciences/humanities courses must expose you to key STS analytical approaches; your science and engineering courses must allow you to develop strong technical expertise in at least one area.
When filling out planned coursework on the curriculum form, please group courses by department where applicable. Your initial curriculum plan - and all future changes - will be reviewed and approved by the STS Associate Director and Undergraduate Advisor.
Bachelor of Arts Degree (B.A.) Students
Take 50+ units in a single concentration area. All courses must be chosen from the list of approved courses for student's concentration (course lists are available online or from the STS Office). B.A. students are required to take at least 8 classes from the social science and/or humanities course menus, and at least 4 classes from the science and engineering course menus. Social science/humanities courses should include a sequence of courses that build on one another, and address each of the dimensions of the concentration; and science and engineering courses should include a sequence of technical courses that build on one another.
Bachelor of Science Degree (B.S.) Students
Take 50+ units in a single concentration area. All courses must be chosen from the list of approved courses for student's concentration (course lists are available online or from the STS Office). B.S. students are required to take at least 8 classes from the science and engineering course menu, and at least 4 classes from social science and/or humanities course menus. Science and engineering courses should include one or two sequences of technical courses that build on one another. Social science and humanities courses should engage with key STS ideas and analytical approaches.
STS Concentration Areas: Overview
Students interested in designing their own concentration must have their proposal approved by the associate director in a timely manner. A proposal (5 to 10 pages) should describe your intellectual objectives in detail, explain why a self-designed concentration is the optimal way to pursue these objectives (as opposed to the five STS concentrations or other majors at Stanford), and list at least 12 courses and 50 units that comprise the plan of study.
B.A. students must include at least 8 courses from the humanities and/or social sciences and at least 4 courses from science and/or engineering while B.S. students must include at least 8 courses from science and/or engineering and at least 4 courses from the humanities and/or social sciences. These courses should be clearly related to the intellectual objectives of the concentration, and should include sequences of classes that build on one another. Students with a self-designed concentration must fulfill the same core requirements as other STS students.
Please note that the approval of a self-designed concentration often requires multiple meetings with the associate director, and could take several weeks. Interested students should take the following steps:
- Talk to a peer advisor during their office hours.
- Carefully examine the examples of approved self-designed proposals on file in the STS office. This will help you familiarize yourself with what is possible and expected in this unique option for concentration.
- Prepare a paragraph that describes your academic interests and a list of courses you plan to take. This list should (a) clearly indicate 8 or 4 courses in science/engineering and 4 or 8 courses in the humanities/social sciences; and (b) include descriptions from ExploreCourses for each course, copied and pasted. Where available, also attach syllabi for courses that are not part of the STS curriculum.
- Meet with the associate director during office hours, or set an appointment via email. For this meeting, bring hardcopies of the paragraph and the list of courses.
- Upon review of your materials, if your interests are deemed appropriate and productive as a self-designed concentration in STS, you will work with the associate director to finalize your proposal and curriculum in the following weeks.
All degree courses must be taken (1) for a letter grade where offered and (2) for at least the minimum amount of units approved for STS, even if the course offers registration for fewer credits.