Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation


Main content start

How are IntroSems different from other classes?

Introductory Seminars, sponsored by Stanford Introductory Studies in VPUE, are small-group, discussion-based courses of about 16 students taught by esteemed faculty designed specifically for Stanford first-year, sophomore, and new transfer students. These discussion-based academic classes are offered in a wide range of disciplines, in more than sixty departments and programs from all seven schools of Stanford University. Introductory Seminars are only open to matriculated undergraduates and seminar units count towards the 180 units needed to graduate. Many IntroSems fulfill Stanford's general education breadth requirement, or Ways of Thinking/Ways of Doing, and some fulfill the university's second-level writing requirement, Writing 2.

A key pedagogic mission of the seminars is that first- and second-year students have the opportunity to work with faculty directly. Therefore, the hiring and use of Teaching Assistants (TAs) is not supported by the IntroSems Program.

First-year students, sophomores and new transfer students are eligible to apply for priority enrollment in IntroSems by ranking their top three seminars each quarter and submitting statements of interest starting in August. There are deadlines for each quarter. Faculty select students from those who apply and admitted students are enrolled before other courses open for enrollment. Students may self-enroll in IntroSems that still have space available after priority enrollment is released each quarter.