students and faculty in library

Humanities Research Intensive

This course, taught over spring break, introduces freshmen and sophomores to the excitement of humanities research. It will prepare you to develop an independent summer research project, to work as a research assistant for a Stanford professor, or to apply for undergraduate research grants.

Over six days, you and your classmates will take a deep dive into some of the most important methods and questions driving scholarly research in the humanities today. Your laboratory will be the Special Collections Library at Stanford, where you’ll work closely with Professors Ronald Egan (East Asian Languages and Cultures), Grant Parker (Classics), Elaine Treharne (English) and Caroline Winterer (History), doing hands-on research on ancient and modern books, manuscripts, artifacts, and monuments.

You will learn the following about humanities research:

  • 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 evaluate the research of your fellow students and offer useful feedback
  • How to deliver your results in a public setting
  • How to write an effective grant proposal

Why Participate in HRI?

Students who complete this course become Humanities Research Intensive Fellows and are eligible to apply for special HRI grants to support follow-up research during the summer or following academic year. In addition, they receive post-program mentorship during spring quarter and ongoing opportunities to engage with humanities faculty and advanced undergraduates. They become part of the broader intellectual community of humanities researchers at Stanford.

Online Course in 2021

We are committed to offering the Humanities Research Intensive during spring break 2021, but due the uncertainties surrounding COVID-19, we are compelled to offer it online, rather than in person. This was not an easy decision for us to make, but we are working hard to design a virtual experience that will replicate the hands-on experience of working in an archive to the greatest extent possible. 

Fellowship Details

  • Two-unit course. Pass / No Credit. Units count toward spring quarter. (Note: you must be enrolled during spring quarter to participate in HRI).
  • Frosh and sophomores only. Transfer students are also eligible if they have completed 1 full-time quarter at Stanford and no more than 1 full year at their previous institution (or transferred in no more than 60 units, not including AP credit) by the time of application.
  • Open to all majors, as well as undeclared students.
  • Enroll in EALC (East Asian Languages and Cultures) 9R; Classics 9R; English 9R; or History 9R.
  • Program dates: Spring Break 2020: Sunday, March 22 through Friday, March 27.
  • Contact email:
  • See our FAQ for more details.
  • Application deadline: Monday, November 2, 2020, 11:59 pm.

Apply here

Questions? Email the HRI Fellowship Advisor, Jeff Schwegman:

Who Are the 2020 HRI Faculty?

Ron Egan
Photo by Connor Crutcher

Ronald Egan is the Confucius Institute Professor of Sinology in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures. He has been learning about China’s long tradition of literature since first enrolling in Chinese language courses as a university student decades ago. He is especially interested in poetry and its shared space and values with painting in Chinese culture, as well as the relationship between thought, religions, and literary writings. He regularly attends conferences in China and enjoys visiting the historical sites that poets there have been writing about for over two thousand years. 


Grant Parker

Grant Parker is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Classics, and Faculty Affiliate in the Center for African Studies. His teaching and research have mostly involved ancient Rome, its literatures, and material culture. Long-term histories of texts, places, and monuments (especially obelisks) continue to fascinate him. Some of his projects connect ancient and modern histories, and several have a digital component. He is a firm believer in the comparative global humanities. Previous publications include The Agony of Asar: a thesis on slavery by the former slave, Jacobus Elisa Johannes Capitein, 1717-1747 (2001); The Making of Roman India (2008); and, as editor, South Africa, Greece, Rome: classical confrontations (2017). A Resident Fellow in Toyon Hall, he enjoys sharing his musical interests with students.



Elaine Treharne

Elaine Treharne is the Roberta Bowman Denning Professor of Humanities and a Professor of English. Her main research interests are in early British manuscripts—their intentionality, materiality, functionality and value—and in digital and computational humanities. She has published widely in these areas over the last twenty years, focusing most specifically on religious poetry and prose and on manuscripts dating from c. 1020 to c. 1220. Her publications include A Very Short Introduction to Medieval Literature (2015), Living Through Conquest: The Politics of Early English, 1020 to 1220 (2012), and Old and Middle English, c. 890-1490: An Anthology (4th edition soon forthcoming). She blogs and tweets regularly—her most read publication was 'Beowulf in 100 Tweets' (#Beow100)! At Stanford, she is the Resident Fellow of Ng Humanities House. Professor Treharne is keenly interested in the use of digital technologies in the classroom and in research, and a passionate advocate for the Humanities in all areas of life.


Caroline Winterer
Photo by Linda A. Cicero

Caroline Winterer is the William Robertson Coe Professor of History and American Studies, as well as former director of the Stanford Humanities Center. She specializes in American history of the pre-1900 period, especially the history of ideas, political theory, and the history of science. Some of her recent books include Time in Maps: From the Age of Discovery to Our Digital Era (2020) and American Enlightenments: Pursuing Happiness in the Age of Reason (2016). She has used new digital technologies to map early modern social networks, including the letters of Benjamin Franklin (a project that won her an American Ingenuity Award from the Smithsonian Institution in 2013), and has curated exhibits of rare books and artifacts. As a teacher, researcher, and administrator, Professor Winterer sees humanities scholarship as the key tool for exploring the human world: “Everything that makes us human—that falls under the umbrella of the humanities.”

Student in library

Learn more

Read and watch the video about the inaugural Humanities Research Intensive in the Stanford Report.