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How to Declare

What step of the process are you on?

Developing your Course of Study

  • 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 a Student Advisor ("SA") about your selected classes and what you want to do with your Human Biology major. You also may want to explore the binders in the SA office which have tons of sample Courses of Study. 
  • Revise your list and divide your chosen classes into Breadth, Depth, and Upper Division courses, being sure to fulfill all of the Requirements for the HumBio Major. Then go to our new HumBio electronic course of study tool, "SFACT":  Enter your Course of Study (“COS”) and have a Student Advisor look it over.  If it doesn't require changes, an SA will approve it. This COS indicates that you agree to fulfill all Human Biology requirements. (Changes can always be made to your COS later. However, they require approval by an SA or the Student Services Coordinator.)

Writing your Cornerstone Essay

  • Write your Cornerstone Essay (minimum 3 pages) explaining why you chose your Area of Concentration. Please view below the guidelines, a sample Cornerstone Essay, and our set of pre-writing exercises to help you get started:
  • Guidelines
  • Sample Proposal Essay
  • Pre-writing Strategies
  • Leave your proposal with an SA to read.  S/he will let you know if any revisions are necessary.  When the proposal is in finished form it can be uploaded to your SFACT COS and approved by the SA.

Finding your Faculty Advisor

  • When your Cornerstone Essay is complete, meet with an SA to discuss finding a suitable Faculty Advisor.
  • Make an appointment to meet with the Faculty Advisor to discuss the proposed coursework for your HumBio major and your area of interest.  The Faculty Advisor may be able to suggest courses or extracurriculars that would inform and enhance your area of interest.  Once a Faculty Advisor agrees to be your HumBio major advisor, ask an SA to add them to your SFACT Course of Study page.  This will automatically trigger an email asking the Faculty Advisor to approve your COS in SFACT and “sign on” as your HumBio major faculty advisor.  Once your Faculty Advisor has approved your course of study, complete the 'Final Check' steps below to complete your Human Biology major declaration. 

Final Check

  • Print out an unofficial transcript (via Axess).  Bring a printed copy of your SFACT COS, unofficial transcript and proposal to Human Biology Student Services who can then approve the final check in SFACT.
  • In Axess, apply for the Human Biology major (click on the 'Student' tab, then once the page loads, select 'Declare a major / minor from the drop down menu under Academics. Follow the steps from there and make sure to hit 'Update database' at the end). Your major declaraton will then be processed and approved in Axess by the Student Services Coordinator. Congratulations! You are now a "declared major" with HumBio and the University.

Things to remember after declaring:

  • Be sure to meet at least once in your Junior year and once in your Senior year with your Faculty Advisor. In these meetings, you should inform them of any changes to your COS.
  • All changes to your COS must be approved in advance by either an SA or the Student Services Staff. If you both agree on a suitable substitute, the change/s can then be entered and approved via SFACT. More than one change to the Depth courses requires writing an addendum to your original Cornerstone Essay which includes the added courses that need approval.
  • If you decide to revise your entire Area of Concentration, you must discuss these changes with an SA before you begin taking the classes. After the SA approves the new Area of Concentration, you must rewrite your Cornerstone Essay to reflect this revision and submit it for SA approval. Then, set up an appointment with your Faculty Advisor to discuss the changes and show them your new Cornerstone Essay. As stated before, they may have additional suggestions that would enhance your COS. Depending on the degree of the changes, you may want to consider searching for additional mentors in your new concentration or even officially switching to a Faculty Advisor who is an expert in your new area.