Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

Submit a New Seminar

Main content start

How to Submit a Proposal to Teach an IntroSem

Faculty and instructors from all seven schools of the University are eligible to teach an Introductory Seminar. Submitted seminars will be part of the curriculum contingent on department chair and dean approvals. Please see the section below for eligibility and compensation details.

The deadline to submit a new IntroSem for the next academic year is March 15.


Types of Introductory Seminars
and Instructor Eligibility & Compensation

To be eligible to teach an IntroSem, an IntroSem instructor must have a teaching appointment and be hired by their department into a paid position in the quarter of IntroSem instruction with a base salary that meets minimum state labor requirements. The person’s only appointment at Stanford cannot be teaching an IntroSem course.

Frosh Seminars

Frosh Seminars provide first-year students the opportunity to work closely with faculty and build mentoring relationships, and to develop an intellectual community with other first-year students around a shared area of interest. Topics are designed to be accessible to incoming students with no prerequisites.

Frosh Seminars offered in the current academic year are automatically renewed for the next academic year as part of our curriculum development process. Please email introsems@stanford.edu if you would like to make any changes to your renewal or to renew a Frosh Seminar from one or more years ago.


Eligibility & Compensation:

  • Only Academic Council or MCL faculty are eligible to teach Frosh Seminars.
  • Frosh Seminars are offered by departments in exchange for support, in the form of billets or funding on an annual basis. They are part of Doerr, H&S, and SoE faculty’s Regular teaching load
  • For faculty in GSB, GSE, LAW, and SoM, Frosh Seminars typically count as Overload teaching with a supplemental payment of $12,000 to the instructor. Updated compensation information for 2024-25 will be posted soon. To be eligible, the instructor should already have a 75% FTE appointment in a salaried position before adding the IntroSem. The base salary should also meet the minimum state labor requirements, with the supplemental payment amount not included in this calculation. 

Units & Weekly Class Meetings:

  • To meet university expectations regarding hours per week and to encourage more weekly face-to-face time with first-year students, a 3-unit Frosh Seminar is expected to meet twice weekly, in two 80-minute meetings for 160 minutes in class per week.

Sophomore Seminars 

Sophomore Seminars aim to personalize education for second-year students considering a major or minor before they declare, and encourage a spirit of mentorship between students and instructors who may have deeper connections in the professional schools and to regional industries and the arts. May have minimal prerequisites or be targeted to an audience of non-specialists.


Eligibility & Compensation:

  • Sophomore Seminars may be taught by faculty who hold an Academic Council appointment; experienced and successful lecturers/academic staff; or staff with terminal degrees with ongoing teaching responsibilities at Stanford. Such instructors typically hold teaching appointments as 'Academic Staff' or 'Staff-Other Teaching/Research.' Graduate students and postdocs are not eligible at this time.
  • Sophomore Seminars are usually taught as Overload courses, going beyond the instructor’s regular teaching load. Instructors who teach an IntroSem in addition to their regular teaching load may qualify for a supplemental payment of $7500. Updated compensation information for 2024-25 will be posted soon. To be eligible, the instructor should already have a 75% FTE appointment in a salaried position before adding the IntroSem. The base salary should also meet the minimum state labor requirements, with the supplemental payment amount not included in this calculation. 
  • While less frequent, Sophomore Seminars can be taught as part of an instructor’s Regular responsibilities within the hiring department. In this case, the base salary covers the compensation for the IntroSem, and no extra supplemental payment is provided to either the instructor or the department.

Units & Weekly Class Meetings:

  • To meet university expectations regarding hours per week, the recommended schedule for a 3-unit Sophomore Seminar is two 80-minute meetings per week, or 160 total minutes of weekly in-class time.

New IntroSem Submission Process

There is a slightly different approval process whether you are submitting a new Frosh or a Sophomore IntroSem. Please read the instructions carefully for the type of seminar you would like to teach. 

Frosh IntroSems

Only Academic Council and University Medical Line faculty may teach Frosh IntroSems. Teaching is contingent upon your department's approval. Once your department has approved you to teach a new Frosh IntroSem, submit your seminar to the IntroSems program.

As your prepare your submission, you will need—

  1. Seminar Title
  2. Your email, SUNet, and EMPLID and the same details for a co-instructor, if applicable. No more than two eligible instructors may teach an IntroSem together.
  3. Primary Offering Department
  4. Intended Quarter of Instruction 
  5. Number of Units (typically 3 units)
  6. Grading Basis
  7. A course description (150-300 words)
  8. A first-person biographical statement for the catalog (150-300 words)
  9. The Way(s) you are considering for your course. 

Submit a New Frosh Seminar


Sophomore IntroSems

Sophomore Seminars may be taught by Stanford faculty, instructors, and staff with terminal degrees and a salaried position with a Stanford department or program. (Instructors may be eligible for supplemental payment if they meet the conditions outlined above.) Teaching is contingent upon your department's approval and approval from the IntroSems Program after you submit your new seminar form to us.

As your prepare your submission, you will need—

  1. Seminar Title
  2. Your email, SUNet, and EMPLID and the same details for a co-instructor, if applicable. No more than two eligible instructors may teach an IntroSem together.
  3. Primary Offering Department
  4. Intended Quarter of Instruction 
  5. Number of Units (typically 3 units)
  6. Grading Basis
  7. A course description (150-300 words)
  8. A first-person biographical statement for the catalog (150-300 words)
  9. The Way(s) you are considering for your course. 

Proposals will be assessed by the IntroSems Program based on the likelihood they will attract students and the degree to which they add diversity to the curriculum. Also, please note that all Sophomore Seminar approvals are contingent upon courses receiving at least one WAYS certification.

Submit a Sophomore Seminar Proposal


After You Submit

  • The IntroSems Program will seek formal approval of your seminar teaching plans from your department chair and DFO in April and, upon their approval, will send you a confirmation letter. Notify us of any changes to your IntroSem plans.
  • Share your meeting pattern and room preferences with your department course administrator for course creation and scheduling. 
  • Your course description and bio will be edited for the online IntroSems catalog released over the summer and your course will be entered into the IntroSems' VCA, the system where students apply for priority enrollment. In the quarter prior to your teaching, you will be invited to review applications, select students, and build a waitlist in the system, as applicable.
  • If your department adds your new seminar to the IntroSems approval app prior to you sharing information with the IntroSems Program, then please use the new seminar form to submit complete course details to us for the IntroSems catalog.

Certifying Your IntroSem for Ways

Students highly favor courses that fulfill requirements and IntroSems are no exception. If your course incorporates both ‘thinking’ and ‘doing,’ and helps students consider intellectual issues from new perspectives, please consider submitting your course for certification in the Ways Breadth Requirement. Submission for Ways (up to two) is strongly encouraged by the IntroSems Program. Introductory Seminars without Ways certification generally may attract fewer students.

So your IntroSem is certified in time for student outreach in the summer, aim to submit your course for Ways in the spring prior to the year you are teaching your seminar, especially important for IntroSems offered in Autumn and Winter Quarters. Please note that your department course administrator must create an official course record for you to be able to submit the course through the Ways portal. 

If you miss the spring submission deadline in the preceding academic year and your IntroSem is in Winter or Spring Quarters, please aim to submit your seminar by no later than the first Ways deadline of the new academic year in October so students may see new certifications before quarterly application deadlines. Review the submission process and see sample syllabi for each of the eight Ways on the Ways of Thinking, Ways of Doing website.