Main content start

Student-Initiated Courses

Guidelines for Designing and Proposing a Student-Initiated Course CCSRE | Updated April 2024

Student-initiated courses (SIC) allow students to design and participate in courses that are conceptualized, designed, and/or led by fellow students. SICs require a faculty sponsor to serve as a mentor and advisor for the student course leader; the course itself may be taught by the student leader, a faculty member, or guest lecturers. SICs are subject to the stipulations listed on this Faculty Senate document.

Student-initiated courses may be proposed by undergraduate students only. SICs in CCSRE require the sponsorship of a CCSRE Senior Lecturer, a CCSRE Associate Director, or a CCSRE Tenure-Line Faculty Affiliate as well as approval by the CCSRE Academic Programs team. All students wishing to propose a Student-Initiated Course must submit a proposal by Week 4 of the quarter preceding the proposed SIC. The CCSRE Academic Programs team will review the proposal and notify students and faculty sponsors of the status of their application by Week 10 in the quarter preceding the proposed SIC.

Application Instructions

  1. Submit a proposal that includes the following information (1-3 pages):
    1. Instructor and faculty sponsor
    2. A description of how the student lead knows the instructor and faculty sponsor 
    3. A description of how the SIC fills a crucial gap in Stanford's and CCSRE's curricular offerings
    4. Desired unit count and an articulation of why the unit count is appropriate (note SICs may only be offered for 1-2 units)
    5. A schedule of synchronous meetings with the faculty sponsor to check in about course progress (note that students and faculty sponsors must plan to meet synchronously at least biweekly) 
    6. Signatures from both the student lead and faculty sponsor 
  2. Submit a draft syllabus that includes the following information:
    1. Course description 
    2. Learning goals 
    3. A schedule of readings and assignments
    4. A description of how the instructor(s) will assess student learning, including any pertinent assignments and due dates
    5. Signatures from the student lead, faculty sponsor, and instructor (if instructor is neither the student lead nor the sponsor) 
  3. Ask your faculty sponsor to submit a statement that indicates they understand and agree to follow the procedures specified in the Faculty Senate Guidelines for SICs. Please return the signed statement to Dr. Annie Atura Bushnell at atura [at] (atura[at]stanford[dot]edu).
  4. Reach out to the SSO, Winni Ni (winnini [at] (winnini[at]stanford[dot]edu)), who will work with you to build the course. 

After the proposal is approved, any revisions to the syllabus must be reviewed and approved by the sponsor. Updated syllabi should be signed by the sponsor, instructor, and student and submitted to CCSRE Academic Programs in a timely manner. 

SIC applications should be produced collaboratively by the student lead and faculty sponsor. Both the SIC proposal and syllabus must be reviewed and signed by both parties before the submission deadline.