Frosh FAQs

What is HumBio at Stanford?

Interdisciplinary approach to understanding human beings from biological, behavioral, social, and cultural perspectives. Courses in the major allow students to see connections and parallels with other fields as they learn to formulate and evaluate health, environmental, and other public policy issues that influence human welfare. 

Freshman Friendly Courses:

HUMBIO 11 - Meet HumBio: a lecture series introducing HumBio themes - this course has been canceled for Spring 2020. To learn more about HumBio we recommend chatting with our student advisors. 

Dr. Katherine Preston's lecture and discussion series designed for freshmen who want to learn more about Human Biology – either the major itself or the topics within its realm – by hearing from some of HumBio's most engaging faculty. Each week the class will feature a faculty member addressing three central questions: 1) What do I do? 2) Why is it important? and 3) What professional opportunities are possible for a person concentrating in my field?
*This course is not meant for declared HumBio majors or students currently in the HumBio Core.
HUMBIO 9: Public Service Internship Preparation
HUMBIO 26: Designing Research-Based Interventions to Solve Global Health Problems 
HUMBIO 29A: Well-Being in Immigrant Children & Youth: A Service Learning Course 
HUMBIO 44: Diagnostic Odysseys In Medicine
HUMBIO 51: Big Data for Biologists - Decoding Genomic Function
HUMBIO 57: Epidemic Intelligence: How to Identify, Investigate and Interrupt Outbreaks of Disease
HUMBIO 74: Ethics in a Human Life
HUMBIO 79Q: Sexuality and Society
More details and scheduling information for these classes is available by searching on: ExploreCourses

Annual Events to find out more

Major's Night - look for the HumBio table with advisors and students

HumBoba - event for freshman with Boba tea and Student Advisors to learn more about the major. Ask about it at Major's night or stay tuned to the Events section on our website for more details!

Frequently Asked Questions

Who should I talk to if I want to learn more about HumBio? 

The Student Advisors (advanced seniors within the HumBio major) hold drop-in office hours - no sign up required - in the HumBio Hub (Room 21A of the HumBio building - Bldg 20, inner main quad) throughout Autumn / Winter / Spring quarters. You can view their schedule online here:

SA Office Hours

Why do students choose HumBio? 

HumBio allows you the flexibility to create a rigorous, unique course of study that includes a wide variety of a students' academic interests. Alumni often reminiscence about the life-long friends and community found in the HumBio Core:

What is the HumBio Core?

Human Biology Core is dedicated to the study of human biological and cultural evolution. It is a year long sequence of six courses for a total of 30 units typically started in Fall of Sophomore year. In general, "A-side" focuses on the biological sciences such as Human Genetics, Evolution, Ecology, Cellular Development, and Human Physiology and the "B-side" focuses on Human Culture, Society, Behavior, Development and Environmental & Health Policy. 

Am I prepared for the Core?

Yes. The HumBio Core is designed to prepare all students to succeed. There are no prerequisites for the Human Biology Core except for HumBio 3A in Winter which requires college chemistry or completion of the HumBio Core on-line chemistry lecture series during the fall quarter. Our expectations may differ from those you have encountered in prior academic experiences. We ask you to go beyond simply absorbing basic facts. You will be invited in examinations, discussion sections, problem sets, and papers to analyze evidence and apply your knowledge, an important distinction between knowing and thinking. Over the course of the year the mission is to further develop students' communication, data analysis and scientific literacy skills in the process of exploring human biology.

What is the difference between HumBio and Biology?

The Human Biology curriculum provides an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the human being from biological, behavioral, social, and cultural perspectives. The Biology curriculum focuses on understanding life, from molecules to cells, and organisms to ecosystems.

Do the BIO 80 series courses count in HumBio? Can I switch from Bio to HumBio?

Yes, there are two options. You can use 2 of the BIO 80 series courses in your Breadth requirement (note: breadth courses must fit into your area of concentration). Or you can use 4 of the 80 series courses as a substitution for the A side of the HumBio core. 

What is the difference between the BS and BA?

The B.S. degree allows students a more scientific and technical focus for their studies, and requires completion of course work and specialization in the biological sciences, physical sciences, mathematics, and/or computer science and engineering.  The B.A. degree is designed for students who prefer a traditional liberal arts degree with a curriculum based across the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. The B.A. degree gives students a solid foundation in biology, while allowing students more flexibility and breadth in the social sciences and humanities. Both degree options are equally suitable regardless of whether a student plans to attend graduate or professional school.

What is the Capstone?

A culminating experience for your Human Biology course of study. The Capstone is a requirement for all Human Biology majors, and can be fulfilled in a handful of ways. For more details, visit: 

Capstone Overview

What can I do with a degree in HumBio?

HumBio is often perceived as the "Pre-Med major" for Stanford (and many students pursuing medicine do, in fact, graduate from HumBio). However, HumBio majors are an incredibly diverse group who go on to careers in technology, public service, community law, education and much more. Find out more by exploring our Alumni Stories

When can I declare?

Sophomore Year. For more details, visit: