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colorful illuminated medieval manuscript in latin

SoCo Humanities Research Intensive

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older woman professor leans over students examining historic books

Join two Stanford professors for a week of immersive, expert introduction to humanities research. This intensive, one-week course introduces rising sophomores to the excitement and wonder of humanities research, along the way preparing you for independent research projects, for working as a research assistant for a Stanford professor, or just for the next step in your Stanford career. No humanities background is necessary.

older woman professor and a student look over a medieval book

Think of this class as humanities research in a nutshell: over 5 days, we’ll take a deep dive into some of the most important methods and questions driving scholarly research in the humanities. Our laboratory will be the Special Collections Library at Stanford, where we’ll conduct hands-on research in ancient and modern books, maps, objects, and manuscripts, from ancient Mesopotamian clay tablets to materials from San Francisco’s Chinatown. We’re also planning a field trip to the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. Over the week, we’ll teach you how to formulate a solid research question; how to gather the evidence that will help you to answer that question; how to write up research results; how to critique the research of your fellow students; how to deliver your results in a public setting; and how to write a really great grant proposal.

Students who complete this course become eligible for follow-up student research grants during their next year. So if you have a larger project in mind—a capstone project, or even a senior thesis idea—this course can help set the stage for that next step.

students look over a huge book of sheet music from hundreds of years ago

Learning Goals:

  • Introduction to humanities research methods
  • Conceptualization of a major humanities research project
  • Skills and familiarity with working with archival materials
  • Oral presentation skills

Important Logistics 

Unlike the usual SoCo, this is a 1-week, 1-unit SoCo seminar. The class starts at 2pm with afternoon tea on Sunday, September 15 and ends on Friday, September 20. Students must arrive on Saturday, September 14 and will move directly into their autumn quarter housing assignment. The program fee is $375 instead of $750 for this 1-week seminar.

Meet the Instructor(s)

Elaine Treharne

Roberta Bowman Denning Professor and Professor, by courtesy, of German Studies and of Comparative Literature

Elaine Treharne

Elaine Treharne is Robert Bowman Denning Professor of English. She is a Welsh medievalist with specializations in medieval manuscript studies, archives, information technologies, and early British literature. She supervises honors students and graduate students working in early literature, Book History, and Digital Humanities. She enjoys working collaboratively with undergraduates, and is the Director of Stanford Text Technologies (, which welcomes undergraduate participation.

Caroline Winterer

William Robertson Coe Professor of History and American Studies, Professor of History and, by courtesy, of Classics and of Education

Caroline Winterer

Caroline Winterer is William Robertson Coe Professor of History and American Studies, and Chair of the Department of History. She specializes in American history before 1900, especially the history of ideas, political thought, material culture, and the history of science. She enjoys working with undergraduates on research projects; one of her collaborations with undergraduates is this Green Library exhibit: