Major Requirements

After the Human Biology Core, majors design their own Course of Study with a unique Area of Concentration topic. A Course of Study is made up of the Breadth, Depth and Upper Division requirements. Breadth & Depth courses can come from any department but should be consistent with the student's Area of Concentration topic. Additional requirements include Statistics and Capstone.

Total Units (83-110)

The Core (30 Units)

The Core introduces the biological and social sciences, and the relationship between them. Normally taken during the Sophomore year, the Human Biology Core is the center of the HumBio major. The Core consists of two courses taken each quarter for a full year, one of which focuses on the biological sciences (the “A” side), while the other focuses on the social sciences (the “B” side). Upon completion of this sequence, students will have gained a broad and integrated perspective on the human organism and the many crucial issues facing the world today, from child development to molecular biology to international health and environmental issues.

  • Students should begin the Core in Autumn Quarter of sophomore year
  • Freshmen are not permitted to enroll
  • Majors (and Minors) must earn a minimum LETTER grade of C-. (Review COVID-19 policies for grade requirements)
  • Core sequences (2A/B, 3A/B, 4A/B) introduce the biological and social sciences, and the relationship between them


    Fall 2A: Genetics, Evolution, and Ecology
    Fall 2B: Culture, Evolution, and Society

    Winter 3A: Cell and Developmental Biology
    Winter 3B: Environmental and Health Policy Analysis

    Spring 4A: The Human Organism
    Spring 4B: Behavior, Health, and Development

Breadth Requirement (20-25 Units)

Breadth courses have a  broad focus and are chosen as a basis for and to give breadth to the student's chosen HumBio Area of Concentration topic. 

  • May include introductory-level courses (course numbers ending in N or Q are introductory seminars), lab courses, and practica
  • May include a maximum of 10 premed units (chemistry, physics, and calculus series and biology labs)
  • May include a maximum of 4 research units in research related to the Area of Concentration. Honors students may not count HUMBIO 193 towards their Breadth requirement.
  • A minimum of C- is required if taken for a letter grade (may be taken for S/NC)
  • May include a maximum of 10 units transferred from another institution. Exceptions will be considered for courses transferred to replace courses that would have been taken in spring 2020.
  • For the BS: Coursework is predominantly in the natural sciences, mathematics, and/or computer science and engineering with a minimum of 10 units designated as Ways for SMA, AQR and FR or designated as BS by the program.
  • For the BA: Coursework is predominantly in the social sciences and humanities, with a minimum of 10 units of courses designated as Ways for AII, ED, ER, and SI or designated as BA by the program.
  • Resources for finding courses are available here:
    Finding Courses
Depth Requirement (20-25 Units)

Depth courses have a narrow focus and are chosen for depth of knowledge in the student's chosen Area of Concentration topic. 

  • Minimum 5 courses.
  • Must be PRE-APPROVED by HumBio advising team 
  • Upper-level, non-introductory courses (within the HumBio department, numbered over 100 - numbering conventions in other departments do NOT have any bearing on whether a course is or is not depth eligible )
  • 3 or more departments must be represented
  • Each course must be taken for a minimum of 3 units
  • A minimum LETTER grade of C- is required for each course. (Review COVID-19 policies for grade requirements)
  • May include a maximum of 6 units transferred from another institution. Exceptions will be considered for courses transferred to replace courses that would have been taken in spring 2020.
  • For the BS: Coursework is predominantly in the natural sciences, mathematics, and/or computer science and engineering with a minimum of 5 courses (between Depth and at most 2 Upper Division courses) designated as Ways for SMA, AQR and FR or designated as BS by the program.
  • For the BA: Coursework is predominantly in the social sciences and humanities with a minimum of 5 courses (between Depth and at most 2 Upper Division courses) to include courses designated as Ways for AII, ED, ER, and SI or designated as BA by the program.
  • Resources for finding courses are available here:
    Finding Courses
Upper Division (9-15 Units)

Any three HumBio upper-division courses numbered 100 to 189.

  • May include crosslisted courses in the HumBio section of the Stanford Bulletin
  • Courses must be taken for a minimum of 3 units
  • A minimum LETTER grade of C- is required for each course (1 course may be taken for S/NC; Review COVID-19 policies towards this limit)
  • 1 course may overlap with the Depth Requirement if there is 18 units in the Depth before overlapping
  • No units may be transferred in
Statistics (3-5 Units)

One statistics course must be taken by majors. 

  • A full and updated list is available on the Stanford Bulletin. Courses such as: HUMBIO 88, HUMBIO 89, CME 106 (ENGR 155C), CS 109, ECON 102A, EDUC 400A, EPI 259 (HRP 259), EPI 262 (HRP 262), SOC 180B, STATS 116, STATS 141 (BIOSCI 141).
  • Must be taken for a LETTER grade; a minimum C- is required. (Review COVID-19 policies for this grade requirement)
  • HumBio majors are strongly encouraged to complete their statistics course well before their final undergraduate quarter
Capstone (1-10 Units)

A culminating experience completed during Senior year. Options include:

  • Human Biology Practicum (HUMBIO 191) consists of multiple workshops including written reflection and presentation based on community-engaged service, research, or pre-professional experience. 1 unit; fulfills the Capstone requirement for the major, (Graded letter). 
  • Human Biology Synthesis (HUMBIO 192) expands the work of the student's area of concentration in a culminating, creative work of scholarship based on a synthesis of personal and academic interests, including service projects. 6 units; fulfills the Capstone requirement for the major, (Graded Letter. By application.)
  • Human Biology Honors (HUMBIO 194) qualified majors are provided the opportunity to work closely with faculty on an individual research project culminating in an honors thesis; 10 unit maximum (see handbook); fulfills the Capstone requirement for the major, (Graded Letter. By application.)
  • Also fulfills the Capstone Requirement:  Interdisciplinary Honors, Biology Senior Reflection, Notation in Science Communication.