Minor in Poverty, Inequality, and Policy

The minor in Policy, Inequality, and Poverty provides students with the interdisciplinary tools needed to understand and contribute to the science of poverty and inequality. The coursework provides state-of-the-art training in the forms of poverty and inequality, the causes and consequences of poverty and inequality, and the many programs and interventions to reduce poverty and create opportunity. 

It provides opportunities to train in big data analysis, algorithms and predictive models, and qualitative and ethnographic methods. It also provides opportunities to participate in individual and group research projects and to join teams that are building poverty-reducing products, apps, and interventions.

Students gain broadly applicable skills through rigorous training in economics, sociology, psychology, and other related disciplines. Alumni can apply the knowledge gained through the minor to careers in business, public policy, medicine, public health, government service, the law, nongovernmental organizations, foundations, or academia.

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Course Requirements

The minor requires 24 units. With the exception of the optional research apprenticeship, every course counted toward the minor must be taken for a letter grade (and a grade of C or better must be received). If you are planning to declare the minor in Poverty, Inequality, and Policy, please complete the minor declaration form and email it to Daniela Fields at dfontana@stanford.edu and to inequality@stanford.edu.

Core (8 units)

Take two core courses.

  1. America: Unequal (SOC 3)
  2. Foundations of Social Research (SOC 180A), Introduction to Data Analysis (SOC 180B), Using Big Data to Solve Economic and Social Problems (ECON 45), Introduction to Statistical Methods for Social Scientists (ECON 102A), or Introduction to Probability for Computer Scientists (CS 109).

Breadth (8 units)

Choose at least two courses from at least two of the following areas of concentration.


  • Culture, Learning, and Poverty (EDUC 232)
  • Education and Society (EDUC 120C, SOC 130)
  • The Economics of Higher Education (EDUC 347)
  • Urban Education (AFRICAAM 112, CSRE 112X, EDUC 112, SOC 129X)


  • Intersectionality and Social Movements (AFRICAAM 141X, CSRE 141X, FEMGEN 141, SOC 153)
  • Sex, Relationships, and Family (SOC 134D)
  • Sociology of Gender (FEMGEN 142, SOC 142)
  • The Changing American Family (FEMGEN 155, SOC 155)

Health and Well-Being

  • Engineering Better Health Systems (HRP 234)
  • Life Course Epidemiology (HRP 267)
  • The Social Determinants of Health (SOC 152)

Inequality and Mobility

  • Causes and Consequences of the Rise in Inequality (ECON 22N)
  • Global Inequality (SOC 137)
  • Income and Wealth Inequality from the Stone Age to the Present (CLASSICS 12N, HISTORY 12N)
  • Inequality in American Society (SOC 14N)
  • Poverty, Inequality, and Social Policy (SOC 135)
  • The Politics of Inequality (POLISCI 147P, PUBLPOL 247, SOC 178)

Labor Markets

  • Economic Sociology (SOC 114)
  • Labor Economics (ECON 145)
  • The Economics of Labor Markets (ECON 147)
  • The Sociology of Work and Employment (SOC 328)

Poverty and the Safety Net

  • Ending Poverty with Technology (PUBLPOL 147/148, SOC 157/158)
  • Measuring the Performance of Governments in the U.S. (ECON 19Q)
  • Poverty in America (AMSTUD 268C, CSRE 268C, HISTORY 268C)
  • The Urban Underclass (CSRE 149A, SOC 149, URBANST 112)
  • Understanding the Welfare System (ECON 11N)
  • Welfare State (SOC 254)

Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration

  • Introduction to Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity (CSRE 196C, ENGLISH 172D, PSYCH 155, SOC 146, TAPS 165)
  • The Big Shift (ANTHRO 30Q, CSRE 30Q)
  • The Psychology of Racial Inequality (PSYCH 286)
  • The Economics of Immigration in the U.S.: Past and Present (ECON 15N)
  • Understanding Race and Ethnicity in American Society (CSRE 45Q, SOC 45Q)
  • What Counts as "Race," and Why? (CSRE 20N, SOC 20N)

Electives (8 units)

Choose two electives. Although all pre-approved courses are listed here, students may petition for approval of other courses related to inequality, poverty, and mobility. Students may also elect to take additional concentration courses (in any of the concentration areas above).

  • Activism and Intersectionality (AFRICAAM 141X, CSRE 141X, FEMGEN 141, SOC 153)
  • Coding for Social Good (CS 106S) 
  • Computers, Ethics, and Public Policy (CS 181) 
  • CS + Social Good Studio: Designing Social Impact Projects (CS 51)
  • Environmental Justice (LAW 2515)
  • Gender and Education in Global and Comparative Perspectives (EDUC 197, FEMGEN 297, SOC 134)
  • Gender and Higher Education: National and International Perspectives (EDUC 173, FEMST 173, SOC 173)
  • Gentrification (CSRE 141, URBANST 141)
  • Justice and Cities (POLISCI 31Q)
  • Law, Order and Algorithms (CSRE 230, MS&E 330, SOC 279)
  • Philosophy of Public Policy (ETHICSOC 75X, PHIL 175B)
  • Place-Making Policies (POLISCI 220, PUBLPOL 225, URBANST 170)
  • Politics and Policy in California (PUBLPOL 154)
  • Poverty and Inequality in Israel (SOC 120VP, JEWISHST 131VP)
  • Politics and Public Policy (PUBLPOL 101)
  • Public Economics I (ECON 241)
  • Punishment, Responsibility, and Incarceration (PHIL 90Z)
  • Race and Immigration in the U.S.: Boundaries and Mobility (SOC 109)
  • Sentencing, Corrections, and Criminal Justice Policy (LAW 2010)
  • The Changing American City (CSRE 156, SOC 156A, URBANST 156A)
  • The Social and Economic Impact of Artificial Intelligence (CS 22A, INTLPOL 200)
  • The Social Psychology of Contemporary American Politics (SOC 298)
  • Universal Basic Income (ETHICSOC 174X, PHIL 174B, POLISCI 338)
  • Wise Interventions (PSYCH 138, PUBLPOL 238)

Optional Research Apprenticeship (up to 5 units)

Students may opt to replace one elective with a research apprenticeship with faculty in an ongoing research project. The Center on Poverty and Inequality also offers opportunities for students interested in participating in larger team projects. Prior arrangement required.

If you are planning to declare the minor in Poverty, Inequality, and Policy, please complete the minor declaration form and email it to Daniela Fields at dfontana@stanford.edu and to inequality@stanford.edu.

The minor in Poverty, Inequality, and Policy is offered by the Department of Sociology in collaboration with the Center on Poverty and Inequality.