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As of June 18, 2019, the department is no longer accepting new students to the CS + X joint major program.

Left-brained, right-brained, techie, fuzzy—these are less and less terms for the world or for life. Stanford is excited to be launching a new CS+English joint major for students who want to think across the divide and create projects that fuse science and the humanities. Increasingly, groundbreaking work in literary studies is being done through technology; simultaneously, the world of computer engineering thrives on the creativity and adaptability taught in literature departments. Stanford is uniquely situated to bring together the Bay Area’s rich currents of innovation and imagination, and we are happy to invite you to be the first partners in this new integration of the disciplines.

Joint Major

The joint major is not a double major. In a double major, you work along parallel, non-intersecting paths, and are required to take all the credits required for a major in both departments. In the joint major, you integrate the skills of the two disciplines, working with advisors in both departments to craft a project that shows the possibilities of synthesis between literature and CS. The joint major is a new program that works with you to explore and create new work between the disciplines. Because that work is integrated, the credit requirement is significantly less than for the double major.

The joint major is a pioneering program not just in the country but in the world. There is, quite possibly, no other place on Earth at this moment where you can pursue an academic experience of this kind and caliber. We are delighted to have a chance to build something new with you in this program.  


The joint major is structured to let you thoughtfully explore and develop your own project at the intersection of CS and literary studies. You declare the major during your sophomore year (latest by the beginning of Autumn of your junior year). All students declaring must complete the CS+English Program Proposal

Your studies as a joint major begin in your junior year, when it is recommended you create an ePortfolio of reflections, ideas, and work on the interplay between humanities and computer science. Students are encouraged to seek resources on building an ePortfolio in their junior year, as an ePortfolio can parlay the full-fledged capstone project.  In addition to helping you build up a body of work and thinking related to CS+English, building an ePortfolio will introduce you to much of the exciting work in the field being done at Stanford and in the Bay Area. 

In your senior year, you will complete a capstone project. This project involves both programming and literary research, and could include such work as digital editions, analyses of corpora, works of electronic literature, digital representations of literary venues, studies of natural language processing as applied to literary analysis, or any other project that draws integrally on both disciplines. All capstone projects must be approved by both the student's Computer Science advisor and English advisor. This project will normally take one quarter, and should be taken concurrently with the Computer Science capstone requirement. In English, students are required to complete 3 units of ENGLISH 198. Individual Work with a faculty advisor in English as part of the integrative project. In preparation for the Independent Study in English, students must secure an advisor, complete the CS+English Capstone form, and submit a written proposal of the project.

Course Requirements

Students who major in CS+English must complete requirements in all four following categories: the English Core, the Computer Science Foundations, an English Emphasis, and a Computer Science Track. Details for each of these categories are below.

English Core (33 units)

Students who major in CS+English must complete all of the following English courses:

  1. ENGLISH 160. Poetry and Poetics (5 units)

  2. ENGLISH 161. Narrative and Narrative Theory (5 units)  

  3. One course in the ENGLISH 10 series - Introduction to English I (5 units)  

  4. One course in the ENGLISH 11 series - Introduction to English II (5 units)

  5. One course in the ENGLISH 12 series - Introduction to English III (5 units)

  6. One Pre-1800 Historical Course (5 units)

  7. ENGLISH 198. Individual Work (3 credits) --Units completed for the Integrative Capstone Project.

Computer Science Foundations (minimum of 53 units)

Students who major in CS+English must complete all of the following courses:

  1. MATH 41. Calculus (5 units)

  2. MATH 42. Calculus (5 units)

  3. CS 103. Mathematical Foundations of Computing (5 units)

  4. CS 109. Introduction to Probability for Computer Scientists (5 units)

  5.-6. Two additional Math electives (6-15 units total)

  7.   Physics 41. Mechanics (4 units)

  8.   Physics 43. Electricity and Magnetism (4 units)

  9.   One additional Science elective (3-5 units)

  10. One course in Technology in Society (3-5 units)

  11. CS 106B. Programming Abstractions or 106X. Programming Abstractions (5 units)

  12. ENGR 40. Introductory Electronics (5 units) (E40A and M also allowed)

  13. One Engineering Fundamentals elective (3-4 units)

English Emphasis (25 units)

Students who major in CS+English must complete five classes in their chosen emphasis in English. Complete requirements for each English emphasis can be found here

Computer Science Track (35-37 units)

  1. CS 107. Computer Organization Systems (5 units)

  2. CS 110. Principles of Computer Systems (5 units)

  3. CS 161. Design and Analysis of Algorithms (5 units)

  4. CS191. or CS191W. Senior Project (3 units)

  5-9. Five courses that satisfy a CS Track. These are the first five courses listed under the “Depth/Track and Electives” area on the CS Program Sheet.

Note: Writing in the Major for CS can be satisfied with either CS181W or CS191W. The requirements for the Biocomputation and Computer Engineering Tracks do not follow this pattern. Please see Explore Degrees for requirements for the Biocomputation and Computer Engineering Tracks.

Sample 4-Year Plan

CS Information Track and English Literature Emphasis. (Assumes no programming experience, no AP credit in Calculus, Physics, or Chemistry.)

  Autumn  Winter Spring


CS106A (5)

Math 41 (5)

CS106B (5)

Math 42 (5)

Physics 41 (5)

CS103 (5)

CS107 (5)

Physics 43 (5)

English 10A (5)

English 160 (5)

Math elective (3-5)

English 11C (5)

English 161 (5)

CS109 (5)

English 12A (5)

History of literature course (5)

Engineering 40M (5)

English elective (5)

CS110 (5)

CS elective (3-5)

English elective (5)

CS124 (4)

TIS course (4)

English elective (5)

CS161 (5)

English elective (5)

CS145 (4)

CS224W (3)

Math elective (3-5)

English elective (5)

CS142 (3)

Science elective (3-5)

English 198 (3)

CS191W (3)

Eng Fund elective (3-4)


What is the CS+English joint major?

The CS+English joint major is a new type of undergraduate degree program that allows you to gain mastery in depth of two disciplines, Computer Science and literature, and to demonstrate that mastery through work that integrates computational and literary analysis.

What degree will I receive?

Bachelor of Arts and Sciences (BAS) in English and Computer Science.

How is a joint major different from a double major?

The joint major integrates the two majors: your central work in the joint major is a project that involves both programming and literary evaluation or research. A double major runs on two different tracks; with the joint major, you bring the tracks together.

Because the joint major works by integrating two majors, you earn the degree with fewer credits than the double major.  In the case of the joint major, both departments have scaled back their required courses to make room for your work between the disciplines.

How is this different from a major and a minor?

As with the double major, the key difference is one of integration: the joint major works by synthesizing your work in CS and English, while a major/minor option is basically two tracks. When you minor in a subject, the department you are minoring in aims to give you breadth in the subject; with the joint major, you will get depth in both subjects.

What is an ePortfolio?

The ePortfolio is an online collection of your work that features: (1) best assignments from both CS and English, (2) reflections on and revisions of this work, (3) reflections on the crossovers and differences between English and CS, (4) planning and early stages of the integrative capstone work.

In some cases, and with the agreement of your advisors from both departments, an expanded ePortfolio can become the Integrative Capstone Project.

When can I declare the CS+English joint major?

Contact us now for details on getting involved. All students must declare this joint major by the beginning of their junior year.

What is the Integrative Capstone Project?

The Integrative Capstone Project is defined by its integration of programming and literary evaluation and research. The intersection between CS and English is new and rich, and there are many types of projects to be done. From digital editions to quantitative analysis of corpora to studies of natural language processing as applied to literary analysis, the key to these projects is the synthesis of coding and literary work. Above all, the program looks to you: what project would you like to pursue that synthesizes the two disciplines?

Can I combine CS+English with one of the “emphases” tracks in English?

If you are declared as a joint major in CS+English, you may pursue the English and Creative Writing emphasis. However, the English and Foreign Language Literature, English and Philosophy, and Interdisciplinary English emphases are not available with the joint major.

What happens if I decide to go back to majoring in just English or CS?

Because the joint major is structured to include most of the requirements for both majors, there is some room for transferring onto a single-major track. It is simply necessary to look at the requirements that have been omitted from the joint major and be sure that you have enough time in your schedule to take these courses. Naturally, talk to your advisors and the Undergraduate Student Services Coordinator about the decision and the process.


- Learn more about CS+English on Explore Degrees

- Learn more about the new joint degree program on Stanford Undergrad.

Connect with Stanford English on Facebook and Instagram

Contact Information: 

Blakey Vermeule / English Department Chair / 

Vivian Beebe Sana / Student Services Officer, English /

Meredith Hutchin / Student Services Specialist, Computer Science /