CS+X Frequently Asked Questions for Students

CS+X Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is a CS+Humanities Joint Major the right choice for me?

That is a decision that you must make for yourself after carefully considering your academic priorities and interests and after consulting with your Pre-Major advisor. What does your heart tell you to do? What does your head tell you? As you contemplate the possibility of a Joint Major, you should also contact the departments you would be majoring in. They can offer you detailed advice about curricular and intellectual choices. (A list of faculty and staff contacts for students with questions is available at the VPUE’s Undergrad website.) Remember: a CS+Humanities Joint Major is an exciting new possibility for Stanford’s undergraduates, but it is only one of many paths through the university. For some students it will be an ideal educational opportunity. For others, a different path will make more sense. Think about it, and talk it over with, at a minimum, your advisor.

2. Is there a list of approved CS+Humanities Joint Majors?

A list of approved Joint Majors is available at the Joint Major page of the Undergrad Explore Majors website. This site also includes contact details for participating departments and links to other relevant information.

3. What if I’m not sure that a CS+Humanities Joint Major is the right one for a person with my interests?

You should discuss your thoughts with (if you haven’t declared a major yet) your Pre-Major Advisor and your Academic Advising Director or (if you have already declared a major) with your departmental advisor. A Joint Major will be the right choice for some students but not for others. You also have the option of considering a Double (or Dual) Major, or a Major and Minor and a number of programs offer you the chance to study different disciplines in combination. Beside a CS+Humanities Joint Major, relevant Stanford programs in this respect include Science, Technology and Society, Symbolic Systems and Mathematical and Computational Science.

4. How do I declare a CS+Humanities Joint Major?

Students declaring the Joint Major:

  1. Declare each major separately in AXESS (individually elect English – BA and CS – BS, for example). When adding the second degree, you will be prompted to choose between the BAS and Dual Degree options. Select the BAS single degree option by electing not to pursue the Dual Degree.
  2. Then, complete and submit the Declaration or Change of Undergraduate Major, Minor, Honors, or Degree Program form. Both Departmental Signatures are required.

If you encounter any problems with declaring in AXESS, you may submit a HelpSU to the Registrar’s Office (Request Category = Central Office Issues; Request Type = Registrar).

In the long term, there will be a system enhancement to allow students to declare the majors entirely online.  Prior to declaring a Joint Major, it is important that you meet with faculty and staff in the relevant departments to review degree requirements and to determine if the Joint Major is a good fit for your academic interests.

5. Is there a deadline for declaring a CS+Humanities Joint Major?

At Stanford, all undergraduates are expected to declare a major by the end of their sophomore year, and this deadline is the same for the Joint Major. Because the Joint Major requires additional planning to ensure integration of the two disciplines and completion of degree requirements for two majors, we recommend that students explore the Joint Major as an option early in their sophomore year, or, if they are already certain they will want to declare a Joint Major, towards the end of their freshman year. If you are beyond your sophomore year and are interested in pursuing a Joint Major, please contact both departments for information and to determine whether or not adequate time in your undergraduate career remains for you to complete all degree requirements.

6.  What degree will I receive if I successfully complete a CS+Humanities Joint Major?

Students completing a Joint Major will graduate with a B.A.S. degree.

7. What is the Major-Minor and Multiple Major Course Approval Form and when am I required to complete and submit it?

The Major-Minor and Multiple Major Course Approval Form is a graduation requirement for students with multiple majors, including joint majors. Before a degree is conferred, departments must certify that the plan of study meets all of the requirements for the majors. To accomplish this, the student who is pursuing multiple majors within a single bachelor's degree must inform the appropriate department which courses are intended to satisfy the requirements for the major and/or minor. The form must be submitted prior to the application to graduate deadline of the degree conferral quarter. 

8. How will the CS+Humanities Joint Major appear on my transcript and diploma?

Students completing a Joint Major will graduate with a B.A.S. degree. The two majors will be identified on one diploma, alphabetically and with a hyphen in between. There will be a notation indicating that the student has completed a Joint Major. The two majors will also be identified on the transcript, and there will be a notation on the transcript indicating that the student has completed a Joint Major.

9. The Joint Major I’m interested in isn’t listed on the Joint Major page. Why is that?

The CS+Humanities Joint Majors constitute a pilot program beginning in 2014-2015 and continuing for 6 years. Only a limited number of Joint Majors has been approved by the Faculty Senate. Assessment of the Joint Major program will continue throughout the duration of the pilot, and decisions will be made about continuation, termination, and/or expansion of the pilot. For now, the School of Humanities and Sciences is limiting participation in the pilot to Humanities departments that wish to propose a Joint Major with Computer Science.

10.  Whom should I contact to learn more about a CS+Humanities Joint Major?

A list of approved Joint Majors is available on the Joint Major page of the Undergrad website. This site also includes contact details for participating departments. While faculty contacts will be helpful in determining if the Joint Major is the right academic fit for you, we recommend that you also contact student services officers in the relevant departments with administrative questions, such as how and when to declare a Joint Major and what the number of required units will be.

11. How does a CS+Humanities Joint Major differ from a double major or a dual major?

The Joint Major provides a unique opportunity to gain mastery in two disciplines: Computer Science and a selected humanities field. Unlike the double major or dual major, the Joint Major emphasizes integration of the two fields through a cohesive, transdisciplinary course of study that would not be possible within an existing major. The Joint Major not only blends the intellectual traditions of two Stanford departments—it does so in a way that reduces the total unit requirement for each major. 

12. How does a CS+Humanities Joint Major differ from a major and a minor?

Unlike a course of study involving a major and a minor, a Joint Major integrates work in each discipline. Typically, a minor provides breadth in a subject without the level of mastery associated with a major. The Joint Major is designed to lead to mastery in two fields while blending the intellectual traditions of two Stanford departments.

13. How does the CS+Humanities Joint Major integrate the two different majors?

Typically, integration of the two disciplines in a Joint Major will occur, at a minimum, through completion of a capstone project in the senior year. Each Joint Major may differ, however, in how and when integrative experiences occur. For this reason, the faculty and student services staff in the two departments offering your Joint Major will be in the best position to give you specifics and details about the program you are interested in. (A list of faculty and staff contacts for students with questions is available at the VPUE’s Undergrad website.)

14. Where can I find the degree requirements for a CS+Humanities Joint Major?

Degree requirements, including number of required units and required coursework, will be available in the 2014-2015 Bulletin. We recommend that students consult with faculty and staff to thoroughly review Joint Major requirements and to determine if the Joint Major is a good academic fit. Additional information about Joint Major requirements may be available from departmental websites (e.g., CS+English).

15. How many units are required to complete a CS+Humanities Joint Major?

 All undergraduates must complete a minimum of 180 units to fulfill University unit requirements. At least 135 of these units must be completed at Stanford. The exact number of units required for each Joint Major, however, will be specific to the program undertaken, and also to the ways in which the student chooses to fulfill his or her GERs (i.e. language and breadth requirements). The units required for each specific Joint Major will be available in the 2014-2015 University Bulletin.

16. Can I double-count a class to satisfy both degrees in a CS+Humanities Joint Major?

It is possible, with approval of both departments, to use one course to fulfill a requirement for each major in a joint major program. University policy prohibits double counting of courses in multiple programs except in specific cases such as introductory skill requirements or overlapping courses that enable a student to meet University requirements such as GERs. Therefore, when a single course fulfills requirements in both majors, a student may apply the units associated with the course to the total units requirement of only one of the majors and then must work with the other major to identify another course that would benefit the academic plan and whose associated units may be applied to that major's total units requirement.

17. Can I complete one capstone to fulfill degree requirements for both parts of a CS+Humanities Joint Major?

The CS Senior ‘capstone’ Project will be fulfilled by 3 units of CS191 or CS191W. For the capstone, students will work in conjunction with both their CS and Humanities advisors on a plan for the project and may be required to enroll in additional capstone units for their Humanities major.  Students should confirm capstone requirements for the Humanities major, as additional units and/or additional integrated experiences may be required.

18. Are students required to fulfill Writing in the Major in one department or both?

Since it is conceivable that a student might drop one of the majors within the Joint Major just prior to graduation, the best practice is for students to complete WIM requirements for each degree.  CS requires that students fulfill the standard Writing in the Major requirement for that major.  While the expectation is that students will also complete the WIM requirement for the Humanities major, students should discuss this requirement with the faculty advisor to confirm degree requirements and whether or not the CS WIM course will satisfy the Humanities WIM major requirement.

19. Does the CS+Humanities Joint Major include all of the School of Engineering requirements (Math, Physics, etc.)?

 Yes, all of the School of Engineering requirements remain in effect. For the Joint Major, all requirements on the first page of the CS Program Sheet (the Math, Science, Technology in Society and Engineering Fundamentals requirements) remain intact. On the second page of the CS Program Sheet, a Joint Major may waive two CS electives; more details can be found in the Bulletin [add link when available]. The CS Senior ‘capstone’ Project will be fulfilled by 3 units of CS191 or CS191W. For the capstone, students will work in conjunction with both their CS and Humanities advisors on a plan for the project and may be required to enroll in additional capstone units under their Humanities major.

20. Can I pursue Honors in the Joint Major? 

Yes.  You may pursue Honors in either or both majors within the Joint Major. In order to obtain honors in one of the majors within the Joint Major, students must complete the honors requirements for that particular major. To obtain honors in both majors, students must complete the honors requirements for both majors.  

Departmental Honors will be noted on diplomas. If both majors are conferred with departmental honors the notation on the diploma will read as, “Conferred with Departmental Honors”.  If only one of the two majors is conferred with departmental honors the notation will read as “Conferred with Departmental Honors in [Name of Major]”. 

Departmental Honors will be noted on transcripts as “[Name of Major] with Honors”. The notation “with Honors” will follow the name of the major in which Honors is being pursued (or has been completed). 

21. Is it possible to study abroad and still fulfill the requirements of a CS+Humanities Joint Major?

Stanford encourages every undergraduate student to participate in an overseas experience. A Joint Major requires careful planning and coordination to ensure that degree requirements are satisfied in a timely manner. Students should consult with each department and with BOSP to identify the best time for an overseas quarter.  

22. How do I drop one of the degrees in a CS+Humanities Joint Major?

Students dropping one or both of the degrees within a Joint Major:

  1. Drop the one or both sides of the major in AXESS.
  2. Submit a HelpSU to notify the Registrar’s Office (Request Category = Central Office Issues; Request Type = Registrar).
  3. Communicate with the Joint Major student services staff contact in each department to inform them of which side/s of the major you will drop.  It is important that you meet with the remaining degree program to identify any outstanding degree requirements and plan to complete the degree. It is also important that you contact the other department to notify them that you will be dropping that degree and will no longer be pursuing a Joint Major.  If you will drop both sides of the Joint Major, please notify both departments.