Summer 2020 Program Update

Please note that the details below are specific to our residential program, which has been transitioned to an online-only format due to COVID-19. For more information about this summer’s program, please visit the Online Program page.

Residential Life

Stanford Summer Humanities Institute believes that valuable growth experiences take place inside and outside of the classroom. We intentionally design learning opportunities to happen throughout the day, evening, and weekends. Academic and residential experiences are woven together in a vibrant community of participants from across the country and around the globe.
The welcome dinner at Ng House welcomes students to the program.

An Interactive Experience

Participants work and relax in their summer dormitory.


Participants are housed in residences used by Stanford undergraduates during the academic year, and live with others who share similar academic interests. Trained residential staff live in the residences with the participants to create safe and welcoming communities.

Rooms are assigned by gender, with male and female participants in separate areas of the residences, and typically on separate floors. We are committed to providing an inclusive, supportive, and comfortable residential environment for all participants, and gender-inclusive housing assignments can be provided.
Three students relax together at the fire pit celebration.


The daily schedule includes a variety of recreational activities in the afternoon to expand the education that takes place outside of the classroom. These activities are intended to provide participants with new skills, exercise, and community building. Activities are designed for a variety of interests and energy levels.

Evening and weekend activities include a talent show, a dance, a weekend carnival, a campfire night, and other special evening events organized by the residential staff.
Students walk around the beach town Capitola.

Field Trips

Weekend excursions take participants to points of cultural, historical, or recreational interest in the San Francisco Bay area. Transportation, lunch, and entrance fees are included for all participants.

Past field trips include: the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), the de Young Museum, the Legion of Honor, Capitola, and the California Academy of Sciences.

The discussion extends from the classroom, to the dorm, and then to breakfast. We’re able to carry the discussions and the debates everywhere we go because the people here are just so interesting and so smart.

Stanford Summer Humanities Institute Participate

The Role of Residential Staff


Role Models, Mentors, Leaders

Interaction with the residential staff is a true highlight of the experience. Residential staff play an integral role in helping to create a positive residential and learning environment for all participants.

si staff lake

First-Rate Residential Staff

Residential staff are current undergraduates, graduate students, and recent graduates from the Stanford community or other top universities from around the country. Many were Stanford Pre-Collegiate Summer Institutes students themselves, and staff regularly return to work with the program year after year.
A group of residential staff welcome participants to the program.

A Safe & Inclusive Community

Each residence typically has five to seven residential staff members who tightly integrate academics with the residential experience. They ensure participants are safe and create strong communities while also working as teaching assistants for courses in their fields of study.

The residential staff fostered an inclusive environment. Their caring nature shined through in every circumstance, and whenever I had any issues, I felt comfortable going to them for help.

Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies Participant

We Value Safety & Inclusion

We have high expectations for our participants to abide by the Code of Conduct. The meeting of these expectations is critical for the safety of all participants and ensures that everyone has the most enjoyable experience possible.

Typical Weekday Schedule

Stanford Summer Humanities Institute participants have full daily schedules which incorporate the academic, social, and cultural aspects of the program. Each weekday follows the same schedule.
8:00 am–9:00 am Breakfast
9:00 am–11:30 am Faculty-led classroom session that includes lecture, small group discussions, and some individual work
11:30 am–1:00 pm Lunch
1:00 pm–2:30 pm Discussion sections led by Graduate Teaching Assistants
2:30 pm–4:00 pm Designated study period
4:00 pm–4:30 pm Snack break
4:30 pm–6:00 pm Selected organized activities: sports, games, music, art, Stanford-area excursions, etc. (participation is required)
6:00 pm–7:00 pm Dinner
7:00 pm–9:30 pm Free time for informal study, activities organized by residential staff
9:30 pm All students must be in their residence
11:00 pm Lights out (on Fridays and Saturdays this may be one hour later)

Field trips to exciting cultural and outdoor attractions are scheduled for one day each weekend, and the other weekend day will have open-ended free time as well as an offering of activities.

Residential Life Frequently Asked Questions

Do you offer a commuter option?

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No. All students in Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies residential summer programs must partake fully in the residential portion of the program. Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies place a high value on the full integration of the academic and social components of the program, which is accomplished by bringing together students and mentors who share interest and talent in a particular subject.

What are the dining options?

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Participants eat in Stanford cafeteria-style dining halls, which serve a range of healthy options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The dining halls provide vegetarian and vegan options at every meal, and will cater to special dietary allergies or needs such as kosher or gluten-free food. Mid-afternoon snacks are served daily at the residences. Participants can look forward to special catered dinners typically served once a week.

Can students with food allergies and other special needs be accommodated?

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Yes, upon admission into the program, students will be asked to provide health information and may provide information regarding any other specific needs. Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies administrative staff will work with participants to plan necessary accommodations.

How are rooms assigned? Can students request specific roommates?

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Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies participants are housed by course, with one, two, or three courses of similar subject matter and age ranges. Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies does not accommodate roommate requests. In fact, to further enrich our students experiences, we purposefully pair students from different geographical areas in the same room. The program occupies residences all over campus, so it is very possible that with a student's program schedule, coursework, and location on campus, interaction with their friend or sibling will be very limited.

Can students continue athletic training while at a Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies program?

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No. Unfortunately, University policies do not allow conference or camp participants access to the gym facilities. Participants can use their sign out privileges to go on morning or evening runs or work with resistance bands in and around their residence.

Please be aware that Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies programs have rigorous academic schedules; if a student is on a strict training plan the program may not be best suited for their athletic goals.

Can parents pick up students from the program for sports activities or family events?

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Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies students are expected to be fully involved in the program while at Stanford.

Students are required to be present for all academic activities and any scheduled recreational activities (i.e. field trips). Our Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies programs are designed for students to attend all recreational activities so they get a well-rounded experience outside of the classroom. Students should be sure they do not have any commitments during scheduled activities. Students will have free time in the evenings after dinner and on one day each weekend students can be signed out by an authorized visitor. Activities Coordinators and Residential Counselors may use this free time to schedule house events and required meetings; students must ensure their authorized visits or sign out activities do not interfere with academic and/or residential events. In addition, free time is a critical part of the program when students can build relationships with their housemates.

We strongly discourage students from being signed out during their free time for more than a few hours at a time. Please email our office directly if there is a religious or medical issue regarding this.