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Stanford University

Stanford Introductory Studies

The administrative home for some of the first courses undergraduate students take at Stanford.

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Stanford Introductory Studies (SIS) functions as a gateway to the two central missions of undergraduate education at the University – liberal education and research.

As the administrative home for required and elective academic programs for first- and second-year students, SIS fosters a spirit of innovation and provides ways for participating faculty to connect with each other and expand their knowledge of effective strategies for working with students early in their careers. Teach with SIS


Students outside on lawn

COLLEGE: The first-year Civic, Liberal, and Global Education requirement. Going to college is not just about acquiring the ability to make a living, but about exploring what makes living worthwhile. 


IntroSems Excellence Awards

Introductory Seminars: Small, hands-on courses offered across all seven schools, specifically designed for Frosh and Sophomores. Work with top faculty and engage in research early in your Stanford career while exploring your interests.


ESF students in front of the Getty

Education for Self-Fashioning (ESF): Consider writings about education by intellectuals working in various fields, with the aim of articulating different ways that education can be used to structure one’s thinking, one’s self, and ultimately one’s life as a whole. 


ITALIC students watch a string quartet

ITALIC: An arts-minded, residence-based academic program for first year students. Conversations often carry on from class to the dining room and back to the dorm late at night, where they morph into jam sessions or collaborative projects in the art studio.


Outdoor large group pic of SLE students.

Structured Liberal Education (SLE): Sometimes called ‘a liberal arts college experience’ within the University, Structured Liberal Education (SLE) is a residence-based academic program that encourages students to live a life of ideas in an atmosphere that emphasizes critical thinking and interpretation.


Arts Intensive student sculpts metal

Arts Intensive: Access your creativity with a 3 week, immersive arts experience in September. All classes are project-based and invite students to dive deep into a particular art form.


Sophomore College students outside by the water

Sophomore College: Soco is more than a class—it's an experience. Spend 3 weeks taking a single class just before your sophomore year begins, creating a rich intellectual community with your faculty and classmates.