Symbolic Systems Honors Program

Past honors projects in SymSys have been very diverse, ranging from philosophical analyses to studies involving human subjects to programming/design projects. Many projects combine two or more methodologies, drawing on different disciplines represented within the major. An honors project is an opportunity to pursue work over multiple quarters, often an entire academic year or more.


  • Declared major in Symbolic Systems with junior or senior credit standing
  • Good academic standing, with at least a 3.0 GPA
  • Submission of an acceptable honors project proposal

Program Requirements

  • Approval and submission of your final project (in hard copy and pdf) before the University Dissertation and Thesis Submission Deadline for the quarter you are graduating. Details about the honors thesis and submission process is available on the Honors Thesis page
  • Participation in a public Symbolic Systems Forum, featuring 10 minute oral presentations by senior honors candidates, in Spring Quarter. 
    • Students considering applying to the Honors Program are strongly encouraged to attend the Forums and/or to enroll in SYMSYS 280 (Symbolic Systems Research Seminar), which includes the public Forum sessions.

Honors Courses

  • Honors Students may enroll in SYMSYS 190 (Senior Honors Tutorial) during any quarter they are working on their thesis for a grade and 1-5 units. Three or more units of SYMSYS 190 may be included as part of a Capstone plan to fulfill either the Practicum or the Integrative Requirement of the undergraduate major Core.
  • Honors Students may enroll in SYMSYS 191 (Senior Honors Seminar) during Autumn Quarter following admission to the Honors Program. In the seminar, students working on Honors projects meet, under the Honors Program director's leadership, to discuss and present their work. SYMSYS 191 is offered for 1 unit, S/NC only.

Getting Started


  • Participation in the Honors Program begins with a proposal (see Application Submission below for details). Proposals are considered on a rolling basis, but should be submitted by the second Sunday (beginning of Week 2) of Autumn Quarter of the academic year in which a project is to be completed.
  • For more details, see the Timeline for Honors Program.

Faculty Advisor

  • Either prior to or after being accepted into the Honors Program you will need to find a faculty honors advisor and a second reader.  The second reader should be a Stanford faculty member or researcher familiar with your general area of inquiry.

Application Submission

Send a plain text (ASCII only, no attachments) message to symsys-directors [at] (symsys-directors[at]lists[dot]stanford[dot]edu) by the deadlines above with your Honors proposal, consisting of the following information:

  • Your name
  • A tentative title for the project
  • The tentative name of your proposed honors advisor
  • The tentative name of a second reader
  • A Description (500-1,000 words) of what the objectives and methods of the project are, related work by others (including published research) and research that you have done on it to date.