Think about topics presented in the Core or elsewhere on which you might be interested in focusing. We encourage you to discuss your ideas early on with faculty, other students, and with the Student Advisors.
Look through the Stanford Bulletin and compile a list of all the classes that you would be excited about taking. Come into the Student Advisors' office and talk with an SA about your selected classes and what you want to do with your Human Biology major. You also may want to examine the binder with sample Areas of Concentration.
Revise your list and divide your chosen classes into Foundation, Area of Concentration, and Upper Division courses, being sure to fulfill all of the Requirements for the HumBio Major. Then fill out a Course of Study form and have a Student Advisor look it over. If it doesn't require changes, an SA will sign it. Be sure to keep a copy for yourself! This form indicates that you agree to fulfill all Human Biology requirements. (Changes can always be made to your course of study later. However, they require you to fill out a Drop/Replace petition available in the SA office and obtain signed approval by a SA and your Faculty Advisor. See "Things to remember after declaring" below.
Writing your Proposal
Write a proposal (minimum 3 pages) explaining why you chose this Area of Concentration, being sure to follow the guidelines here. You can view a sample proposal here. For a set of exercises to get you started, see our pre-writing strategies here.
Leave your proposal for an SA to read and make revisions if necessary.
Finding your Faculty Advisor
When your proposal is ready, work with a SA to settle on a suitable Faculty Advisor.
Make an appointment to see your Faculty Advisor. He or she will discuss your proposed coursework and your field of interest and may be able to suggest courses that would enhance your area of interest. Be sure to have her or him sign your Course of Study sheet.
Print out an unofficial transcript (via Axess). Bring your paperwork to the Student Advisors' office and have an SA (or the Student Services Coordinator in Room 21D) check that it is in order and sign the “Final Check” on your Course of Study form. You will be given a folder for all your paperwork.
Drop off your completed folder with the Student Services Coordinator, and in Axess apply for your HumBio major; if all forms are complete (with signatures) your major will be approved in Axess by the Student Services Coordinator. Congratulations! You are now a "declared major" with HumBio and with the University.
Things to remember after declaring:
Be sure to retrieve your folder at least once in your Junior year and once in your Senior year and have the required additional meetings with your Faculty Advisor. In these meetings, you should have him or her approve any changes to your Course of Study by signing off the Course of Study form for these years with these changes noted on it and recorded on a Course Drop/Replace petition attached to your Course of Study form (SEE BELOW).
All changes to your A/C must be cleared, first, with a SA, and second, with your Faculty Advisor. The only exception concerns canceled courses - in that case speak with the Student Services Coordinator or a SA. If you both agree on a suitable substitute, this change can be approved by your SA and then explained to your Faculty Advisor at your next meeting. More than one change to the A/C additionally requires completion of an Course Drop/Replace Petition and revision of your original proposal to include the added courses approved before the close of the quarter PRIOR to the graduation quarter.
If you decide to reconstruct your entire Area of Concentration, you must discuss these changes with a SA before you begin taking the classes. After the Student Advisor approves the new Area of Concentration, you must rewrite your proposal to reflect your new A/C and submit it for SA approval. Then, set up an appointment with your Faculty Advisor to discuss the changes and show him/her your new proposal. As stated before, s/he may have suggestions that would enhance your Course of Study. Depending on the degree of the change, you may need to consider switching to a Faculty Advisor who is an expert in your new area.