The Thinking Matters Requirements: ESF, ITALIC, SLE

There are several different paths to completing your Thinking Matters requirement.

This table shows options for completing your Thinking Matters requirement. Columns show the programs and rows show comparative criteria.
Thinking Matters (THINK) ESF SLE ITALIC
Commitment 1 quarter, classes offered in Autumn, Winter, Spring 1 quarter, only offered in Autumn 3 quarters (Autumn, Winter, and Spring) 3 quarters (Autumn, Winter, and Spring)
Student Experience Provides an opportunity to delve into cutting edge topics (Viruses, Spirit of Democracy, Worlds of Sound) and encourages students to explore new subjects Students will engage with longer texts and use writing as a means of understanding what they have read, of thinking for themselves and of developing a coherent set of aspirations and values Fosters close relationships among students and instructors in an residential atmosphere that emphasizes critical thinking and interpretation while studying classic texts Opportunity to join a tightly knit residential artist community while exploring art history and theory and experiencing world class art events through field trips
Residence N/A N/A East Florence Moore, mixed class dorm Burbank, all-frosh dorm
Requirements Satisfied THINK, 1 Way THINK, WR1, 1 Way THINK, WR1, WR2, up to 4 Ways if all three quarters completed THINK, WR1, up to 3 Ways if all three quarters completed
Number of Units 4 7 24 (8 each quarter) 11 (4 units in Autumn and winter + 3 units in Spring)
Size 40-90 person in lectures and 15 person discussion sections 15 persons per seminar/ writing section 96 person lectures; 15 person discussion sections 44 person lectures; 15 group discussion sections
Structure Two 50-minute lectures, and two 50-minute discussion sections per week One 80-minute seminar, two 110 minute writing sections, and one 50 minute Friday plenary per week Three 60-minute lectures, and two 120-minute discussion sections per week Autumn: Two 50 Two 80-minute Winter: Two 110-minute writing sections Spring: 110 minutes divided between lecture, section, and art workshop


Thinking Matters Courses

Thinking Matters courses are meant to develop your ability to ask questions and articulate problems in ways that are as unique as each of you. You will complete a single 4-unit course from over 20 options, offered in autumn, winter, and spring.

 see Thinking Matters courses

Education as Self-Fashioning (ESF)

In Education as Self-Fashioning, we explore this idea from many different perspectives. We consider writings about education by intellectuals working in various fields, with the aim of articulating the ways that education can be used to structure one’s thinking, one’s self, and ultimately one’s life as a whole. Offered in autumn only, ESF offers several thematic 7-unit seminars that integrate the Thinking Matters Requirement and the first-year Writing and Rhetoric Requirement.

 visit the ESF page

Immersion in the Arts: Living in Culture (ITALIC)

ITALIC is propelled by a series of provocative questions about the place of the arts across the academic disciplines and in the world outside the university. The class is built around a series of questions about the purpose of art, the unique understandings it makes possible and the challenges it can present to categories of knowledge—history, politics, culture, science, medicine, law. The course makes the arts a frame for exploring existence through a series of close investigations and analyses of major works of the visual, performing and filmic arts, as well as less considered instances of the aesthetic in daily life. ITALIC will explore what the cultivation of aesthetic perception, analysis and experience in art can bring to creativity and perception in areas of human endeavor outside of art. ITALIC is a three-quarter residential program that fulfills multiple requirements in addition to the Thinking Matters Requirement.

Visit the ITALIC page

Structured Liberal Education (SLE)

SLE is among Stanford’s longest-running programs designed especially for frosh. Since 1974 it has offered an integrated program in humanities classics (literature, philosophy, and the arts) and writing instruction in which the 90 students live together in the three houses of East Florence Moore Hall. Over the three quarters, SLE fulfills multiple requirements in addition to the Thinking Matters Requirement.

visit the SLE page