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School of Medicine

School of Medicine

The School of Medicine offers courses of study leading to the M.S., Ph.D., and M.D. degrees.

Undergraduate Programs in the School of Medicine

Many courses in the School of Medicine are open to any registered Stanford student who has fulfilled the prerequisites, subject to the usual limits of course enrollment and faculty approval. The school also offers courses specifically for undergraduates, as well as graduate-level courses where advanced undergraduates with backgrounds in the life sciences are welcome. Among the undergraduate offerings are numerous Stanford Introductory Seminars for freshmen and sophomores, the Emergency Medical Technician program, Stanford Immersion in Medicine Physician Shadowing, Pre-Vet Advisory, and courses in Community Health, including participation in the Stanford Free Clinics. The school also offers several undergraduate courses through the Department of Biology and the Interdisciplinary Program in Human Biology in the School of Humanities and Sciences. See the school's Undergraduate Studies web site for additional information.

M.S. and Ph.D. Programs in the School of Medicine

The School of Medicine is home to graduate programs covering a broad range of disciplines within biomedicine leading to Ph.D. or M.S. degrees. These programs focus on interdisciplinary training with in-depth investigation of an original problem of fundamental importance to the biosciences. Each degree program sets its own curriculum, but many courses are taught by groups of faculty from multiple programs and departments. Flexibility is a priority to ensure that all students obtain the best possible training for pursuing careers in their areas of interest. The school is dedicated to training students from diverse backgrounds, and to the promotion of diversity in graduate education. Admission is through one of about 15 home programs. These home programs enable students to carry out dissertation research and training with School of Medicine faculty, as well as investigators in the departments of Biology and Biophysics in the School of Humanities and Sciences. Detailed information on School of Medicine M.S. and Ph.D. programs, curricula, and research can be found at Stanford's School of Medicine Master's Degree Programs and Ph.D. Programs web site. Application information can be found at Stanford's Office of Graduate Admissions web site. 

M.D. Program in the School of Medicine

The School of Medicine seeks to attract students who are passionate about scholarship and wish to improve the health of the world's people through research, innovation, and leadership. The Stanford M.D. Discovery Curriculum provides education in biomedical and clinical sciences along with study and independent research through scholarly concentrations. Emphasis is placed on interdisciplinary learning, with streamlined content, interactive approaches, and melding of basic science and clinical instruction across the curriculum. Blocks of unscheduled time allow for individual or group study, participation in elective courses, research, and reflection. The flexible Discovery Curriculum supports student’s scientific discovery and self-discovery by offering multiple learning pathways at a more individualized pace and opportunities for pursuing a second degree, such as an M.P.H., M.B.A., Master's of Science in Epidemiology or Health Services Research, a Ph.D., or participating in longitudinal and global health research experiences.

The Discovery Curriculum features robust basic science content, integrated organ based learning, and compassionate patient-centered clinical training. Core foundational content is presented in the first year and broad clinical science education occurs throughout the curriculum with ample exposure to patient care and the practice of medicine. Students may begin clinical clerkships as early as May of the second year. The structure of clinical training is flexible, allowing customization of the order in which core clerkships are completed and offering a wide variety of selective/elective clerkships. The curriculum also features a strong emphasis on population health with courses that include classroom and experiential learning to provide understanding of the socioeconomic determinants of the health of patients and communities.

The required Scholarly Concentrations offer opportunities for developing skills that enhance basic science and clinical training in areas such as bioengineering, biomedical ethics and medical humanities, biomedical informatics, clinical research, community health, health services and policy research, and the molecular basis of medicine. Through the Scholarly Concentration program, these skills may be applied in clinical areas housed within centers at Stanford such as the Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Cardiovascular Institute, the Neuroscience Institute, the Institute of Immunity, Transplantation, and Infection, and Women's Health at Stanford. Study in a scholarly concentration typically includes course work and research activities. Funding for research and other scholarly opportunities may be supported through the Medical Scholars program, which funds student research projects at Stanford and overseas.

The Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) MD-PhD program provides a select group of medical students with an opportunity to pursue a training program designed to equip them for careers in academic investigative medicine. Individualization of the curricular and research programs of each trainee is the hallmark of the Program. Training for a combined MD-PhD includes the same content encountered by students who pursue each degree separately, but the total time of training should be less than the sum of the time normally taken for each degree. To this end, students must plan their training carefully and commit to a rigorous and intensive period of study. The flexible curriculum at Stanford Medical School allows each student to satisfy the requirements for the MD degree and to pursue an independent research program. In what follows, we provide a general outline of what to expect.

In addition to a variety of other dual degree opportunities, Stanford also collaborates with the University of California, Berkeley, to offer students opportunities for M.D./M.P.H. training. Details about these programs may be found at Stanford's Dual Degree and Multi-Degree Programs web site.

Stanford is committed to representing the diversity of the U.S. and California populations by seeking a diverse body of students who are interested in the intellectual substance of medicine and committed to advancing the field of health care, broadly defined. Provided an applicant to the school has completed basic courses in physics, chemistry, and biology, the choice of an undergraduate major may reflect other interests, including the arts and humanities. Course work in advanced biology such as biochemistry, molecular biology, or genetics and the behavioral sciences is recommended because of their importance in understanding health care. Breadth of interests and depth of experiences play an important role in the selection of students from among those applicants having superior academic records.

The M.D. degree requires 12 quarters of registration at full Med-MD tuition; the joint M.D./Ph.D. degree requires 15 quarters. Completion of the M.D. degree must be achieved within six years, unless a petition is granted to extend this time frame. For further details on the M.D. degree, including admission requirements, see the Stanford MD Program website.

Multiple-Degree Programs in the School of Medicine


Many M.D. students undertake a Ph.D. while they are at Stanford. Popular choices are School of Medicine programs in Bioengineering , Biomedical Informatics, or one of the 13 Biosciences home departments. At the School of Engineering, the Biomechanical Engineering M.D./Ph.D. program also makes a special effort to work with M.D. students.

Medical Scientist Training Program

The Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) provides medical students with an opportunity to pursue an individualized program of research and course work leading to both the M.D. and Ph.D. degrees. It is designed to equip students for careers in academic investigative medicine, and emphasizes flexibility of curricular and research programs for each trainee. Training for a combined M.D.-Ph.D. includes the same content encountered by students who pursue each degree separately, but the total training time is less than the sum of the time normally required for each degree. The flexible curriculum at Stanford's School of Medicine allows each student, in consultation with a preceptor and other advisers, to pursue a plan of study that satisfies the requirements for the M.D. and allows performance of doctoral-level research leading to the Ph.D. Students interested in joining the MSTP are considered for admission at the time of their application to the School of Medicine M.D. program and are asked to provide supplemental information relevant to their research background. Current Stanford M.D. students may also apply for admission to the MSTP.


M.D.. students interested in combining their medical training with training in business can take advantage of a dual degree M.D./M.B.A. program that allows students to obtain both degrees after completion of a 5-year curriculum.  Students must apply to and be admitted by the Stanford Graduate School of Business, at the time of their admission to the medical school or after beginning their M.D. studies.


A unique collaboration with UC Berkeley allows M.D.. students to pursue and obtain a Master of Public Health degree while still at the Stanford School of Medicine. This dual degree M.D./M.P.H. program is open to M.D. students who participate in the Scholarly Concentration in Community Health. Students must apply to and be admitted by the UC Berkeley program; course work is undertaken at the UC Berkeley campus.


The Master of Science in Medicine program admits current Stanford Ph.D. students who have a commitment to translational research, but are not interested in becoming clinicians. The goal of the program is to train researchers in human biology and disease to be better equipped to translate new scientific discoveries into useful medical advances. Students offered admission into any Ph.D. program at Stanford may apply for admission to the master's program. During their first five quarters, students take basic biomedical science courses with Stanford M.D. students. The School of Medicine M.D. curriculum is presented in a succinct format that allows time for students to concurrently complete their Ph.D. course requirements and lab rotations. By early in their second year, students choose a lab for their Ph.D. thesis research and complete their medical course work. They also elect a clinical co-mentor to discuss translational research needs and help to arrange a short clinical experience. Upon completion of the Program., participating students receive an M.S. in Medicine.  

M.D./M.S. Degrees

Health Policy: the master's degree program in Health Policy seeks to train students in the quantitative analysis of issues in health and medical care. The program is based upon an individual development plan, and includes both course work and completion of a master's project under the direction of a program core faculty member. The typical student in the program is a physician who has completed residency training and is preparing for a research career; the program also admits Stanford medical students and others with a strong background in health policy analysis. The core faculty interests include outcomes research, health economics, health care organization, health care access, quality of care, decision analysis, clinical guidelines, and assessment of patient preferences and quality of life.

Epidemiology: The Graduate Interdisciplinary Program in Epidemiology is a research oriented program that offers instruction and research opportunities leading to the M.S. degree in Epidemiology, the study of the distribution and determinants of diseases in populations.

Biomedical Informatics: An option for anyone who wishes to either perform research in Biomedical Informatics as clinical faculty at a school of medicine or for those who wish to continue into the health care industry or government. There is high need for trained individuals who understand the practice of medicine and who are able to develop and implement applications in biomedical informatics.

Biomedical Investigation: In this program, M.D. students complete the core pre-clerkship curriculum of the M.D. program then undertake additional coursework related to their research interests as one of the pathways in the Discovery Curriculum.  The program was designed to address the decreasing number of physician-scientists by shortening the training period without compromising the quality of research. Biomedical Investigation is a sub-plan of the M.S. in Medicine. It is a research-oriented program resulting in an M.S. in Medicine in Biomedical Investigation.

Biomechanical Engineering: Bioengineering is a fusion of engineering and the life sciences that promotes scientific discovery and the invention of new technologies and therapies through research and education. It encompasses both the use of biology as a new engineering paradigm and the application of engineering principles to medical problems and biological systems. The discipline embraces biology as a new science base for engineering.

M.D./M.P.P. Degree

Matriculated M.D. students from Stanford's School of Medicine may apply for admission to the joint M.P.P./M.D. degree program.  Applications are accepted anytime after a student has completed one year in the M.D. program. Students must obtain the permission of the School of Medicine to participate in the joint degree program. Students are required to devote two continuous years of full-time study to the completion of the first two years of the core M.D. curriculum. Students then devote one continuous academic year of study to the completion of the M.P.P. core curriculum. At other times, the student may be enrolled in either unit and may take courses from either unit to satisfy the joint degree requirements. 

Departmental Dual Degrees

Education: The Individually designed M.A. in Education is designed for Stanford doctoral students enrolled outside of the School of Education. Individuals enrolled at the doctoral level at Stanford can be considered for this program.

E-IPER: Stanford’s Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources  (E-IPER) gives students a focused science, engineering, and technology background, allowing them to integrate science with law and business to address critical environmental and sustainability issues.

Public Policy: Stanford University offers two master's programs in Public Policy.  A Master's of Public Policy (M.P.P.) is a two-year professional degree and the Masters of Arts in Public Policy (M.A.) is a one-year non-professional degree. Students currently enrolled in other Stanford graduate programs, and applicants to those programs, may apply for either of the Public Policy master's programs. M.D. students are eligible to apply for a dual M.A. degree program. See above for the joint M.D./M.P.P. program.