Symbolic Systems ProgramSchool of Humanities & SciencesSearch
- For Undergraduates
- For Graduates
Span. Dig Deep. Solve complex problems.
How does human cognition work?
How do people interact with machines?
How human-like can a machine be?
SymSys will help you answer these questions and more. Students take an array of courses in computer science, linguistics, mathematics, philosophy, psychology, and statistics while also pursuing an area of concentration. Created in 1986 by faculty members at the Center for the Study of Language and Information, the program has become one of the top five undergraduate majors at Stanford.
Silos are for farms. Not for learning.
SymSys breaks down traditional academic boundaries to train your mind and expand your thinking. But don’t mistake it for “light” or “less than”, this is one rigorous, intensive, rock-your-mind kind of education.
The program is designed to help students see connections, consider diverse perspectives, and explore new frontiers of knowledge across varying disciplines. Not only are there courses in different fields but there are overlaps in course content that complement each other.
Each student chooses an area of concentration, allowing you to dig deeper and focus on what interests you most. Concentrations can include: cognitive science, artificial intelligence, human-computer interaction, learning, computer music, neuroscience, and decision making and rationality.
Multi-Faceted Problem Solving
SymSys brings together multiple disciplines and methodologies to help you see complex problems from multiple angles and perspectives. We believe this is essential for 21st century learning, not to mention better problem solving.
What can you do with a SymSys major? Practically anything. Invent. Research. Teach. Lead. With hands-on technical training and a deep understanding of how people think and communicate, your SymSys degree will help you stand out. Our alumni are academics, business pioneers, journalists, lawyers, and more.
Still wondering why we call it Symbolic Systems?
You’re not alone. Learn why