Main content start

Undergrad Advising

Upon your declaration approval as a Symbolic Systems undergraduate major, will be assigned to both the Program Director and Associate Director as major advisors.

  • Declared majors have until the Autumn Quarter of their junior year to select a Concentration Advisor. Juniors declaring the major must have a concentration advisor confirmed at the time of declaration.
  • A hold is placed on Winter Quarter registration for Juniors who do not have a Concentration Advisor prior to that point.

In the Program, you will have three tiers of advising available to you

Tier 1. Undergraduate Advising Fellows (AFs)

  • AFs are upper division undergraduate or coterm students in Symbolic Systems, who have taken a substantial number of courses for the major and can advise from a student's perspective.
  • AFs can answer questions such as "What is this course like?", "How can I get involved in research?", and "How can I meet other Symbolic Systems students?"
  • AFs plan and host events for students, appear at majors fairs, perform declaration interviews, and serve as the official voice of students in policy making for undergraduate programs in Symbolic Systems.

Tier 2. Director, Associate Director, and Student Services Officer

  • Are all official administrators of the program.
  • Can sign forms and grant approvals on behalf of the program, depending on the exact approval required.
  • Will answer questions and provide advice about the program as a whole, particularly pertaining to the core requirements, degree requirements, and selecting an advisor.
  • To meet with Todd Davies, the Associate Director, please review his office hours.
  • To meet with the Student Services Officer, please email to request an appointment.

Tier 3. Concentration Advisors

  • Juniors (defined for this purpose as undergraduates who have completed 6 quarters of instruction -- not including Summer Quarters -- at Stanford or at an institution prior to transferring to Stanford) must have a Concentration Advisor or a hold will be placed on their registration. An advisor hold is effective for Winter quarter of the junior year for a student without a Concentration Advisor (or for the quarter following the 7th quarter of non-Summer enrollment).
  • Any individual with an ongoing instructional appointment at Stanford (listed as such in Chapters 2, 6, or 9 of the Faculty Handbook) may serve as your Concentration Adviser. This excludes Visiting or short term instructors.
  • Once you identify a potential advisor, please email them, asking if they are willing to consider acting as your concentration advisor for the Symbolic Systems major.
  • To confirm a Concentration Adviser after an eligible faculty member has agreed to fill this role for you, send an email message to symsys-sso [at] (symsys-sso[at]stanford[dot]edu) stating this fact, with a cc to the Concentration Adviser. 
  • Your concentration advisor provides advising specific to his/her area of research and teaching, which should fit your concentration area within the major.
  • Concentration advisors are not expected to provide advice about program requirements or areas of the major outside of their specializations.
  • Any later change in your Capstone plan must also be approved by your Concentration Adviser, and that fact together with a statement of the revised plan must be submitted to symsys-sso [at] (symsys-sso[at]stanford[dot]edu )before you submit your final Course Plan for graduation.
  • Your Concentration Advisor does not have to be listed as a SymSys affiliated faculty member or suggested Concentration Advisor for your Concentration. Anyone with an ongoing (not visiting or short-term) instructional appointment at Stanford who has expertise in the area of your Concentration may agree to be your Concentration Advisor. To identify potential candidates for your Concentration Advisor, consider any of the following if they have expertise in the area of your Concentration:
    • Instructors of courses you have taken or plan to take.
    • Faculty and research staff with whom you have done research.
    • Instructors of courses that are listed as options for the Concentration.
    • Faculty and research staff who do research that is related to your Concentration.

Voices of SymSys

Voices of SymSys is the podcast of the Symbolic Systems Program at Stanford University. Each episode features an interview with current students, alumni, and/or faculty in Symbolic Systems discussing topics such as career paths, navigating Stanford, and academic/professional advice.