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Prospective Students FAQ

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 questions of science and technology, students graduate uniquely equipped to succeed in professions that demand interdisciplinary fluency across technical and social frameworks.

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.

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.

COURSE PETITIONS: STS majors 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 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: If a course is offered consistently by Stanford (including BOSP/SIW/SINY courses), Stanford faculty and declared STS majors may nominate the course 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 you nominate a course? New and relevant courses are being offered all the time but it is impossible for us to keep track of every department’s offerings each year. Nominations bring new courses to the attention of the STS Curriculum Committee and, if approved, directly benefit our majors. This is a great opportunity for students and faculty to get involved with, and give back to, the STS program. Each nomination is reviewed in the context of all five concentrations so if a course is already approved for one concentration, but not another, it cannot be re-nominated. If you would like to find out if a course has been previously nominated, please contact Joo Ae Chu (jooae@stanford.edu). The deadline to submit nominations for the 2018-2019 academic year is Monday, June 25th. Nominations submitted after this deadline will be reviewed in Summer 2019.

NOTE: Freshmen seminars are not eligible for petition or nomination.

Course petition and course nomination forms are available online

As of September 1, 2012, the STS program no longer offers a minor.

STS does not offer direct funding for student research at this time. Please see the UAR website for university funding and grant opportunities.

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 take a quarter to travel abroad. To find out if there are pre-approved courses overseas that will count towards your major, 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 thematic concentration area. Even if you are unable to take coursework towards your major, you will still be making progress towards your total Stanford units.

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 (bottom of the 'forms' page) for the STS Program Director's evaluation and approval. Once approved, the student may enroll in STS 199A, offered summer quarter only, for 1 unit.  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.