The Program in Human Biology is a dynamic interdisciplinary undergraduate program that approaches understanding the human being from biological, behavioral, social, and cultural perspectives.
Human Biology was one of the first interdepartmental majors to be offered at Stanford, and it now boasts over 8,000 alumni working across a diverse array of fields.
Human Biology provides students with a broad, comprehensive, and rigorous introduction to the biological and behavioral sciences and their interrelationships through a sequence of common core courses. Students explore how this knowledge, in conjunction with studies in other disciplines, can be applied to formulate and evaluate health, environmental, and other policies and practices that influence human welfare. Each student then builds upon this foundation by crafting an individualized course of study that draws on courses from across the university to reflect their personal academic interests.
Human Biology also promotes student research through the Research Exploration (HB-REX), honors thesis, and Senior Synthesis programs. Networking and career mentoring workshops with the program’s diverse alumni is also offered year-round. The Program offers both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science degree option, as well as a minor and an honors program.
Our students are extraordinary, often involved in numerous groups, teams, and research on campus and beyond. The program is honored to be the major of choice for many professional athletes and prestigious award-winning students including Fulbright and Knight-Hennessy Scholars.
Cultivate Skills for Your Future
A degree in Human Biology provides students with a transferable skillset that prepares them to join a broad scientific community with a culture of building and sharing knowledge and to face the challenges of the modern world.
With an emphasis on both empirical inquiry and applied knowledge, students engage with literature and audiences from multiple disciplines and varying levels of subject expertise to build their communication and presentation skills.
Students cultivate a capacity to carefully examine and analyze data to make observations and judgments regarding patterns of human behavior and function. These data are sometimes imperfect or incomplete, but are used nevertheless to make decisions and policies.
From peer-reviewed journals to popular science journals, Human Biology students learn to critically evaluate evidence in support of claims and write for a range of audiences.
Science Communication in Action: Trees We Love
In Dr. Katherine Preston's course, HumBio 113, The Human-Plant Connection, students develop and hone their science communication skills by contributing to a public writing project, Trees We Love, which teaches the general public about significant tree species found on campus.
HumBio is often perceived as a pre-med major (and many students pursuing medicine do, in fact, graduate from HumBio). However, HumBio majors are an incredibly diverse group. Graduates of Human Biology have gone on to pursue advanced training in distinguished professional and graduate programs and our alumni have forged successful careers in a variety of diverse fields including medicine, technology, public service, community law, education, and so much more.
Learn more about what you can do with a HumBio degree and how our students have applied their skills and service in the real world by exploring our Alumni Stories