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What should I do if I’m interested in Interdisciplinary Fields?

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Do you have interests that defy categorization? Do you enjoy reaching across disciplinary boundaries and finding connections between sometimes disparate fields? If so, then explore one of Stanford’s many Interdisciplinary Programs! In fact, Interdisciplinary Programs offer some of the most popular majors on campus, allowing you to combine interests within and across the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and engineering.

For example:

  • Interested in the interconnection of health policy, medicine, and culture? Try the Human Biology Program.
  • Passionate about understanding how history informs the present and inspires an engagement with the past in order to collectively dream a more just and equitable future? Explore African and African American Studies. 
  • Want to create policy to solve current environmental problems? Check out the Earth Systems Program.
  • Curious about the links between human and artificial intelligence? Learn about the Symbolic Systems Program. 

Courses and Opportunities

There are dozens of courses that may be a good starting point in interdisciplinary fields, depending on your particular interests. IntroSems are a great way to leap right into a field, and Cardinal Compass maintains a list of additional courses that departments think are suitable for frosh. You might also use keyword searches in ExploreCourses.

Students interested in interdisciplinary fields should look into courses within the combined disciplines as well as within the interdisciplinary program itself. For example, a student exploring an interest in Symbolic Systems might start with SymSys 1, but might also begin by exploring courses in Computer Science, Linguistics, Philosophy, or Psychology.

Talk with your Academic Advisor to learn more about which interdisciplinary programs might be right for you!

Return to the Advising Student Handbook