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 Morgan Speer at mspeer@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), 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 Inequality: Big Data for Large-Scale Problems (EDUC 107, EDUC 207, SOC 107E, SOC 205)
  • Education and Society (EDUC 120C, SOC 130)
  • Gentrification and Schools: Urban Structure and the Remaking of Cities (EDUC 390, CSRE 291, URBANST 141A)
  • History of Education in the United States (AMSTUD 201, EDUC 201, HISTORY 258B)
  • The Economics of Higher Education (EDUC 347)
  • Urban Education (AFRICAAM 112, CSRE 112X, EDUC 112, SOC 129X)
  • Urban Schools, Social Policy, and the Gentrifying City (CSRE 291, EDUC 390, URBANST 141A)


  • 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)
  • The Feminist Critique: The History and Politics of Gender Equality (AMSTUD 63N, CSRE 63N, FEMGEN 63N, HISTORY 63N)
  • The Politics of Sex: Work, Family, and Citizenship in Modern American Women's History (AMSTUD 161, CSRE 162,  FEMGEN 161, HISTORY 6)

Health and Well-Being

  • Engineering Better Health Systems (HRP 234)
  • Life Course Epidemiology (HRP 267)
  • Reducing Health Disparities and Closing the Achievement Gap through Health Integration in Schools (HUMBIO 122E, EDUC 429, PEDS 229)
  • Social Class, Race, Ethnicity, and Health (AFRICAAM 132, CSRE 122S, HUMBIO 122S)
  • The Social Determinants of Health (SOC 152)

Inequality and Mobility

  • Causes and Consequences of the Rise in Inequality (ECON 22N)
  • Global Inequality (SOC 137)
  • Historical Perspectives on Inequality and Opportunity in America (ECON 113)
  • Income and Wealth Inequality from the Stone Age to the Present (CLASSICS 12N, HISTORY 12N)
  • Inequality and Poverty in the United States (CSRE 10SC, SOC 11SC)
  • Inequality in American Society (SOC 14N)
  • Poverty, Inequality, and Social Policy (SOC 135)
  • The Politics of Inequality (POLISCI 147P, PUBLPOL 247, SOC 178)
  • The Changing American City (CSRE 156, SOC 156A, URBANST 156A)

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)
  • Poverty Policies: Theory, Design and Analytics (ECON 130, PUBLPOL 138)
  • 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)
  • Lockdown America: Race and Incarceration in the Land of the Free (CSRE 22)
  • 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 Racial and Ethnic Identity Development (AFRICAAM 245, CSRE 245, EDUC 245)
  • Race and Ethnic Relations in the USA (SOC 145)
  • Race and Immigration (CSRE 189, SOC 189, SOC 289)
  • Racial Inequality Across the Lifespan (AFRICAAM 185, CSRE 185C, PSYCH 185)
  • Racial-Ethnic Politics in U.S. (CSRE 121L, POLISCI 121L, PUBLPOL 121L)

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)
  • Asylum: Knowledge, Politics, and Population (ANTHRO 153)
  • Black Studies Matter (AFRICAAM 69, AFRICAAM 269)
  • Coding for Social Good (CS 106S) 
  • Community College: Designing for Policy, Ethics, AI/ML tech, Culture, the Environment (AFRICAAM 230, DESINST 230)
  • Computers, Ethics, and Public Policy (CS 181) 
  • Crime and Punishment in America (SOC 179A)
  • CS + Social Good Studio: Designing Social Impact Projects (CS 51)
  • Environmental Justice (LAW 2515)
  • Family Stories: Uncovering Histories of Identity and Difference (AFRICAAM 118X, AMSTUD 118, ASNAMST 118S, CSRE 118S)
  • 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)
  • Government by the Numbers (ECON 19Q, PUBLPOL 19Q)
  • Housing Visions (CEE 33C, URBANST 103C)
  • History of Prisons and Immigration Detention (AMSTUD 264, CSRE 264, HISTORY 264, HISTORY 364)
  • Introduction to Chicanx/Latinx Studies (CHILATST 180E, CSRE 180E, EDUC 179E)
  • Introduction to Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (AMSTUD 107, CSRE 108, FEMGEN 101, TAPS 108)
  • Justice and Cities (POLISCI 31Q)
  • Law, Order and Algorithms (CSRE 230, MS&E 330, SOC 279)
  • Medical Ethics in a Global World: Examining Race, Difference and Power in the Research Enterprise (ANTHRO 138, ANTHRO 238, CSRE 138)
  • Megacities (ANTHRO 42, ARTHIST 242B, URBANST 142)
  • Mexican Migration to the United States (AMSTUD 73, CHILATST 173, HISTORY 73, HISTORY 173)
  • Migration is Beautiful: Histories, Realities, and Policies of Immigrant Justice (CSRE 29SI)
  • Mixed-Race Politics and Culture (AFRICAAM 52N, ENGLISH 52N)
  • Monitoring the Crisis (PUBLPOL 141, SOC 141, SOC 241, URBANST 149, PSYCH 145A)
  • Networks and Human Behavior (ECON 46)
  • Philosophy of Public Policy (ETHICSOC 75X, PHIL 175B)
  • Place-Making Policies (POLISCI 220, PUBLPOL 225, URBANST 170)
  • Political Power in American Cities (AMSTUD 121Z, POLISCI 121, PUBLPOL 133, URBANST 111)
  • Politics and Policy in California (PUBLPOL 154)
  • Poverty and Inequality in Israel (SOC 120VP, JEWISHST 131VP)
  • Poverty, Infrastructure and Climate (CEE 265I, ESS 264)
  • Politics and Public Policy (PUBLPOL 101)
  • Public Economics I (ECON 241)
  • Punishment, Responsibility, and Incarceration (PHIL 90Z)
  • Race and Ethnicity in Urban California: Research Seminar (AMSTUD 169B, CSRE 260B, URBANST 169B)
  • Race and Immigration in the U.S.: Boundaries and Mobility (SOC 109)
  • Race in Medicine (AFRICAAM 51C, CEE 151C, CSRE 51C, HUMBIO 71C, STS 51C)
  • Race in Science (AFRICAAM 51A, CEE 151A, COMM 51A, CSRE 51A, HUMBIO 71A, STS 51A)
  • Race in Technology (AFRICAAM 51B, CEE 151B, COMM 51B, CSRE 51B, HUMBIO 71B, STS 51B)
  • Re-Imagining American Borders (AMSTUD 183, CSRE 183, FEMGEN 183)
  • Sentencing, Corrections, and Criminal Justice Policy (LAW 2010)
  • Technology and Inequality (ANTHRO 132C, CSRE 132C)
  • The Changing American City (CSRE 156, SOC 156A, URBANST 156A)
  • The Old South: Culture, Society, and Slavery (AFRICAAM 252C, CSRE 252C, HISTORY 252C)
  • The Cultural Politics of Food and Eating: Technology, History, and Justice (STS 177)
  • The Psychology of Scarcity: Its Implications for Psychological Functioning and Education (CSRE 136U, PSYCH 136, PSYCH 236A)
  • The Social and Economic Impact of Artificial Intelligence (CS 22A, INTLPOL 200)
  • The Social Life of Neighborhoods (AFRICAAM 76B, CSRE 176B, SOC 176, SOC 276, URBANST 179)
  • The Social Psychology of Contemporary American Politics (SOC 298)
  • Transforming Self and Systems: Crossing Borders of Race, Nation, Gender, Sexuality, and Class (ASNAMST 144, CSRE 144, FEMGEN 144X)
  • Universal Basic Income (ETHICSOC 174X, PHIL 174B, POLISCI 338)
  • Welfare, Work and Poverty (CSRE 133J, JEWISHST 133A, SOC 103A)
  • 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 Morgan Speer at mspeer@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.