Stanford Introductory Studies (SIS)

About Stanford Introductory Studies

Stanford Introductory Studies (SIS) is a unit in the office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education that manages required and elective academic programs for first- and second-year students: Thinking Matters and COLLEGE, ITALIC, SLE, Education as Self-Fashioning, Introductory Seminars, Sophomore College and Arts Intensive. SIS administrative offices are located on the second floor of Sweet Hall.

More than 300 tenure-track faculty from all seven schools of the University teach in one or more of these SIS programs, sharing their enthusiasm for learning while encouraging students to discover their intellectual interests. SIS classes promote active learning in an inclusive and supportive classroom environment where individual students receive individual attention and support for their exploration of the full range of expansive and diverse academic opportunities offered at Stanford. 

SIS Programs

Thinking Matters

The Thinking Matters program oversees a curriculum of team-taught required courses and provides entering students with a gateway to liberal education and a guided transition to the intellectual life of the University. Contact Thinking Matters.

Civic, Liberal, and Global Education

The Thinking Matters program is transitioning to the Civic, Liberal, and Global Education program, a new iteration of the Stanford first-year requirement, to take effect in Autumn 2021. Please visit the COLLEGE website for more information as it develops.


ITALIC is an arts-minded, residence-based academic program for first year students. Using art as the frame for discussing big ideas, frosh who participate in this yearlong academic program will be part of a tight-knit community, living together, attending classes, and making art in Stern Hall’s Burbank House residence. Contact ITALIC.


Sometimes called ‘a liberal arts college experience’ within the University, Structured Liberal Education (SLE) is a residence-based academic program that encourages students to live a life of ideas in an atmosphere that emphasizes critical thinking and interpretation. Contact SLE.

Education as Self-Fashioning

Education as Self-Fashioning classes focus on the meaning and purpose of a liberal education in seminars that integrate writing instruction with discussion. Contact Education as Self-Fashioning

Introductory Seminars

The Introductory Seminars program connects frosh and sophomores with the research faculty of the University through more than 230 small, departmentally based classes drawn from the full range of scholarship and discovery at Stanford. Contact Introductory Seminars.

Sophomore College

The Sophomore College hosts a residential living and learning community in which rising sophomores focus on a single class in September. Contact Sophomore College.

Arts Intensive

Arts Intensive courses engage students of all class years in the theory and practice of a particular artistic discipline for three weeks in September. Contact Arts Intensive.