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How to Declare

Steps to declaring HumBio

  1. Develop a Course of Study in SFACT (electronic course of study tool).
    Meet with an SA for your 1st approval.
  2. Write your Cornerstone Essay. 
  3. Find a Faculty Advisor.
    Meet with a different SA for your 2nd approval.
  4. Final check with Student Services staff.
    Apply for the major in Axess. 

Developing Your Course of Study

  • Think about Human Biology 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. Visit a Student Advisor ("SA") during scheduled office hours (virtual at this time:  schedule here) to discuss your selected classes and what you want to do with your Human Biology major. You also may want to explore the "White Binder" document with the SA that contains many examples of current HumBio 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 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:


Sample Proposal Essay

Pre-writing Strategies

  • Leave your proposal with an SA to read.  They 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.
  • Faculty lunches are a great opportunity to meet HumBio faculty. They are announced through the Core Canvas site. If you aren't currently in the core talk to an SA about signing up. 
  • 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

  • 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).
  • E-mail an unofficial transcript (via Axess) to A Human Biology Student Services will review your course of study and approve your course of study or follow-up, if needed. 
  • A Human Biology Student Services will process your major declaration in Axess. 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 scope 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.