Immersive, enlightening – and sometimes unorthodox – courses help fulfill Stanford’s founding mission

In creating Stanford University, Leland Stanford and Jane Lathrop Stanford wanted students to gain a world-class education that expanded their minds, strengthened their morals and made them adept in practical skills. One way the Stanford community continues to uphold this guiding purpose more than 125 years later? By facilitating and taking part in immersive, enlightening – and sometimes unorthodox – courses.

Stanford students replicate museum objects from the Cantor Arts Center

Stanford physics and history students explore how hands-on investigations can provide insights into the past in an art and science learning lab.

New course tackles designing for people with disabilities

A new course teaches undergraduates how to design for people with physical disabilities. Each week, students learn about a different disability, then brainstorm design ideas to address issues and present their work to the class.

Stanford’s Generation Anthropocene podcast is back

Started by two graduate students, the Generation Anthropocene podcast has grown into an award-winning production and beloved undergraduate course. Its fifth year brings new insight into how humans are changing the planet.

Students recreate medieval feasts in new course

As part of a new humanities course, undergraduate students replicate the recipes and the ambience of ancient feasts in order to learn about how people lived in the Middle Ages.

Class examines diplomacy, global challenges

The new Stanford class, "Hacking for Diplomacy," gives students the opportunity to analyze global challenges and apply "lean start-up" methods to solving them.

Stanford Mohr Visiting Artist Majel Connery reimagines the string quartet

A team of visiting artists teach the theatricality of musical performance.  

Hands-on approach to archival research earns praise

Stanford students who experience a new archives-centric teaching approach stress the importance of exposure to primary historical materials for students of all disciplines.  

Robo pingpong: Stanford students design, ‘teach’ robots to play

After learning new software and programming languages, Stanford students in the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory have an opportunity to choose a creative task and design a robot to perform the task for demonstration.

Learning through doing in Alaska

A powerful, immersive course at the edge of wilderness helps Stanford students understand the connections between humans, nature and sustainability.

Stanford students create a mobile art studio that rolls with learning opportunities

A Stanford student-built mobile art space offers rewarding experiences in creativity and sustainability.

Iranian Studies Program cultivates student’s passion for history

As an undergraduate in the Iranian Studies Program, Anna Polishchuk translated top-secret documents from the Soviet Union as she researched the relationship between Iran’s pro-communist groups and the Soviets during the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

Digital archive of antique wax figures becomes a teaching tool

A project to photograph anatomical wax figures made between the mid-17th and mid-19th centuries has yielded images now used in courses at Stanford.

Stanford humanities students cook up Julia Child’s recipes, study history

Kristen Haring takes her American studies class into a "teaching kitchen" to study the famed chef's impact on American culture.

Educational farm hosts classes from across campus

Stanford Earth aims to draw more than 1,000 students from multiple majors for field learning every year at its working farm, complete with animals and crops.

Warrior's view of the Battle of the Little Bighorn on display at Stanford's Cantor Arts Center

The Red Horse exhibition at the Cantor Arts Center provides a treasure trove of illustrations and insights on the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876.

Stanford musicologist brings the 15th century to life

Stanford’s Jesse Rodin reanimates musical experiences of the distant past through performance.

From the classroom into the world

Global Studies internships in Cambodia give Stanford students life-changing experiences abroad in the field of human rights and international justice.

Introductory freshman seminar publishes paper on Zika

Students in an infectious disease seminar quickly become Zika experts thanks to the epidemic’s sparse, rapidly changing history. In an unusual twist, their coursework culminated in a journal publication.

New teaching approach brings more students into Stanford’s archives

Stanford faculty and librarians are working together to modify the curriculum of large undergraduate courses to bring more students to the special collections and archives of the libraries on campus.

Stanford in New York program adds quarter focused on theme of media and finance

Stanford is gradually expanding Stanford in New York, a three-year pilot program, to encompass an entire academic year, with each quarter focused on some of New York City’s strengths: arts, architecture, design and urban studies; media and finance; the global city.

Navigating the guts of an ancient submarine canyon

Tourists flock to Point Lobos State Natural Reserve near Monterey, Calif., for its breathtaking coastal views and glimpses of the playful sea otters and other marine mammals that can be found among its waters. But the site has long attracted geologists for a very different reason.

Students recreate 5,000-year-old Chinese beer recipe

Stanford students brewed an ancient beer during class with Stanford archaeologist Li Liu, who discovered evidence of earliest beer-making in China as part of her recent research.

Stanford program brings science mentors to San Jose high school

Stanford graduate students and postdoctoral scholars are helping Andrew P. Hill High School students grow their interests in science through mentorship and project-based learning.

Stanford art students get lesson on the evolution of anatomy illustration

Historical curator Drew Bourn of Lane Medical Library recently reveals how a 16th-century anatomy book revolutionized medical education.

Making Stanford’s Roble Hall sustainable for its second century

The historic Roble Hall houses a multifaceted program that focuses on hard questions, like how to get 300 students engaged daily and deeply with sustainability.

New Stanford class targets U.S. national security problems with Silicon Valley-style innovation

Student teams at Stanford use "lean launch pad" startup methodology to innovate at speed and find technological solutions for critical challenges facing America’s defense and intelligence agencies.

Injection molding class teaches valuable lessons in mass production

In an advanced design and manufacturing class at the Product Realization Lab, students push themselves to make plastic parts that look deceptively simple.