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How to Choose an IntroSem

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Steps for Choosing an IntroSem

  1. Read the online catalog carefully:  Each seminar description contains information about the topic, prerequisites and units, as well as a biographical profile of the faculty member. If you are interested in taking a course in a particular department or quarter, you may find the filtering tools in the left sidebar of the Seminars page particularly useful. You can also review by interest, GERs, school, and cohort-preference.
  2. Be open to possibility: Allow yourself to imagine the excitement in subjects that may seem far afield from what you initially expected to pursue. As a first- or second-year student, you have the liberty to be open to the entire spectrum of intellectual pursuits at Stanford. This is the best path toward defining your own personal and particular passions and to designing your education. This includes both coursework and activities (such as research) that will best enable you to explore these passions. You’ll have the most satisfying education and the most to contribute if you seek out what compels you personally and not limit yourself with preconceptions.
  3. Create your Annual Seminar Plan : Select your top three seminars for autumn, winter, and spring. By choosing seminars in advance, you will have a head start on academic planning for the year. Write statements of interest for your first choice seminars each quarter and sign up in the IntroSems' VCA at
  4. Discuss your choices with your Undergraduate Advising Director: Seek out advice about how particular course options might help you refine your future directions; which faculty might be particularly good intellectual mentors for you; and if it makes sense to fulfill a requirement with an IntroSem.
  5. Confirm that the course fits your schedule: Day, time and location (DTL) are arranged by the offering department and are made available before each quarter begins. The most current DTL, WAYS and other pertinent information will be available in Explore Courses. Planning your schedule for the new quarter may undergo multiple revisions, so use this information as another guideline for your selection.
  6. Be persistent: Although some IntroSems are oversubscribed each quarter with more student demand than space, many others still have available space at the beginning of the term. You will find many fascinating instructors and topics by browsing the list of space-available courses. 

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