Stanford Majors: What And How To Choose

November 19, 2022
By AdmissionSight

Stanford Majors: What And How To Choose

The liberal arts education at Stanford University provides students with a vibrant intellectual life that helps foster these skills. At the same time, a focused study from a selection of the Stanford majors available prepares students for post-baccalaureate study in business, education, law school, and medical school.

Students who can think analytically, communicate effectively, participate actively in their undergraduate coursework, and take advantage of opportunities for research, leadership, and community service are highly sought after by professional schools.


Stanford University center plaza

At Stanford, “pre-business,” “pre-law,” and “pre-medical” are not majors; instead, they are designations that identify paths of interest for students who intend to attend a professional school after graduation. These students can choose from various academic programs to prepare for their future careers. A comprehensive advising system that assists students in educational planning is another way students can benefit from the system.

At Stanford University, every major is taught at a challenging academic level. As a result, students graduate prepared to tackle the challenges of their professional and personal lives in a thoughtful and well-informed manner.

In addition, students have the opportunity to become involved in a wide variety of organizations during their time at college, which not only enriches their college experience but also helps mold them into the sort of applicants that professional companies want to hire.

Which of the top majors at Stanford should you pursue?

Any student attending Stanford may need help selecting from the many Stanford majors available. This is due to the university’s extensive offering of top-tier academic programs, which may make the decision seem even more difficult.

Because students at Stanford are allowed to change their Major until the beginning of their sophomore year, it is acceptable to be unsure about your area of focus when you first enroll in college.

Female student hanging out in the school grounds.

As you are studying, you should spend some time thinking about the subjects in school that interest you the most, your goals for your future career, and the projects and assignments you’ve done exceptionally well in so far. You will eventually realize your choice from the top majors at Stanford that suit you.

Is it possible to have two different majors at Stanford?

Suppose you want to pursue two majors at Stanford if you are interested in more than one academic track. Earning a secondary degree in addition to your primary major is possible if you attend Stanford University.

However, it is essential to keep in mind that students pursuing a double major will be required to complete all of the requirements for both of the Stanford majors without taking any similar courses. This means that students pursuing a double major must plan and meet with their academic advisor to ensure they have all of the credits necessary to graduate with the desired degree.

10 Most Popular Stanford University Majors

Although the School of Engineering at Stanford is considered one of the most prestigious and most sought-after academic programs in the entire university. There are other Stanford University majors that you can attend instead; you should consider enrolling in some of these top programs:

#1 Computer Science Major

The undergraduate Major in computer science at Stanford was established in 1965. Since then, the university has upheld its reputation as a leader in academic achievement and technological advancement. The program focuses on introducing students to the various subfields of computer science, such as the student’s capacity to apply the defining processes of computer science theory, abstraction, design, and implementation to find solutions to problems that arise within the field.

Students who are considering computer science as one of the Stanford majors they wish to enter typically pursue one of the following popular career paths after earning their degrees:

  • Software engineering
  • Web development
  • Data science
  • Product management
  • Information technology

#2 Economics Major

Economics is yet another popular choice as a major for students who excel in mathematics and statistics. The study of economics at Stanford is broken down into several sub-disciplines, including Behavioral and Experimental, Finance, International and Development, Government Policy Analysis, Quantitative Methods, Business Strategy, and Regulation.

University students working on their laptops in a table.

Students who major in economics at Stanford have the opportunity to pursue a variety of career paths, including the following:

  • Financial analysis
  • Accountancy
  • Research
  • Investment analysis
  • Business analysis

#3 Human Biology Major

Students interested in pursuing a career in the life sciences should pay attention to Stanford’s Human Biology major, another one of the university’s most popular majors. It is one of the most popular Stanford majors; approximately half of the students majoring in Human Biology go on to get a degree in medicine.

The school is also well-known for its exceptional marine biology program, supported by cutting-edge laboratories and a sizable library containing numerous books, journals, and other resources about marine science. The following are some of the most popular careers for human biology graduates:

  • Biological sciences
  • Research
  • Medicine
  • Anthropology
  • Social sciences

#4 Management Science and Engineering Major

The intersection of engineering, business, and public policy is at the heart of the Management Science and Engineering major, which prepares students to become leaders in this space. The department’s mission is to advance the design, management, operation, and interaction of technological, economic, and social systems through education and research as its primary means of accomplishing this mission.

This popular major at Stanford can lead to a variety of career opportunities, including:

  • Business analysis
  • Management consultancy
  • Data analysis
  • Operations research analysis
  • Budget analysis

#5 Symbolic Systems Major

Not only is Symbolic Systems one of the most well-liked Stanford majors, but it is also one of the university’s most distinctive. Knowledge from a variety of academic disciplines, such as computer science, linguistics, mathematics, philosophy, psychology, and statistics, is incorporated into the program. Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, stated that Symbolic Systems is home to some of the company’s most intelligent employees and has previously visited the company’s labs.

As a result of the interdisciplinary nature of the symbolic systems major at Stanford, graduates can pursue a wide variety of career paths, including the following:

  • Program management
  • Product management
  • Software engineering
  • Strategic consulting
  • Financial analysis

#6 Political Science Major

Suppose students want to get involved with public policy, governance systems, and institutional design issues. In that case, they should consider majoring in political science at Stanford, a very popular major there. The department is home to some of the most well-known names in domestic and international politics, teaching a diverse range of classes.

At Stanford, students who major in political science have the opportunity to explore a variety of career paths, including the following:

  • Political reporting
  • Social media management
  • Law
  • Social work
  • Campaign management

#7 Mechanical Engineering Major

It should come as no surprise that one of the most popular academic programs at Stanford is Mechanical Engineering, given the prominence of the university’s school of engineering. The program emphasizes various topics, including applied mechanics, biomechanical engineering, design, computer simulations, and energy science and technology.

Students graduating with this major may have the opportunity to pursue careers in the following areas:

  • Aerospace engineering
  • Biomedical engineering
  • Automotive engineering
  • Manufacturing engineering
  • Patent law

#8 Electrical Engineering Major

The field of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University is yet another one of the university’s most prestigious majors. The curriculum is divided into several disciplinary areas, including bio-electronics and bio-imaging, circuits and devices, computer hardware and software, music, signal processing, communication, controls, photonics, solid state and electromagnetics, and energy and the environment. Students can broaden their horizons and gain experience working cross-functionally through a number of departments by participating in several interdisciplinary elective areas.

To have this as one of the Stanford majors of your choice can open doors to a variety of popular career paths, including:

  • Controls engineering
  • Design engineering
  • Test engineering
  • Communications engineering
  • Systems engineering

#9 International Relations Major

One of Stanford’s most popular academic tracks is known as International Relations. The program is an interdisciplinary major studying actors’ interaction in international politics. These actors can be of the state or non-state variety, such as the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, Amnesty International, and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

The following are examples of possible career opportunities:

  • Politics
  • Diplomacy
  • Economics
  • Foreign affairs analysis
  • Intelligence specialization

#10 Mathematics

The mathematics major is intended to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of mathematics in various contexts, such as logical reasoning, generalization, abstraction, and formal proof.

The program’s goal in this department is to teach students how to construct, analyze, and interpret mathematical models to articulate rationally-based arguments. Students who earn a degree in mathematics are better prepared for careers in the private sector and government agencies and graduate studies in various quantitative fields.

The following are examples of possible career opportunities when choosing this among the many Stanford majors:

  • Mathematics or statistics
  • Actuaries
  • High school teaching
  • Data science
  • Market research analysis

Additional factors to take into account

After you have selected from the vast choices of Stanford majors, you will be assigned a major advisor (some departments assign major advisors, and some ask you to find your major advisor during the declaration process). Although you will continue to work with your Academic Advisor on general academic issues and overall progress toward graduation, it is in your best interest to meet with your major advisor regularly to receive guidance regarding the requirements for your major and the courses offered. Check out the information on our page about Communicating with Faculty.

Male student using a laptop to write an essay.

You can also find great assistance by speaking with the Director of Undergraduate Studies, the Student Services Officer, and the peer advisors in the department of your choice from the list of Stanford majors. They can guide you on effectively tailoring the major to your specific areas of interest.

It is beneficial to read faculty profiles on the department website as you advance through the major. This will allow you to become familiar with the faculty’s research and locate professors who teach classes that are relevant to your areas of interest.

Prepare yourself by choosing classes from the choice of Stanford majors you have decided that will give you background knowledge and can teach you the necessary methodology and research skills. This is true if you intend to participate in a research project conducted by a professor or run your independent project, honors thesis, or senior capstone project.

As you find the major at Stanford that fits you, your next step is entering Stanford University. If you want to have an easier time in the very competitive admissions process, it is wise that you get all the help you need. At AdmissionSight, we have over ten years of experience guiding students in getting accepted to the top universities. You can visit and set up an appointment today to book your initial consultation.


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