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Office: Main Department, Gilbert Building, Room 109
Mail Code: 94305-5020
Phone: (650) 723-2413
Web Site:

Office: Student Services, Gilbert Building, Room 118
Mail Code: 94305-5020
Phone: (650) 498-2404 (graduate students); (650) 723-5060 (undergraduates); (650) 723-1826 (postdoctoral scholars)
Web Site:

Courses offered by the Department of Biology are listed under the subject code BIO on the Stanford Bulletin's ExploreCourses website.

The department provides:

  • a major program leading to the B.S. degree

  • a minor program

  • a coterminal program leading to the M.S. degree

  • a doctoral program leading to the Ph.D. degree, and

  • courses designed for the non-major.

Mission of the Undergraduate Program in Biology

The mission of the undergraduate program in Biology is to provide students with in-depth knowledge in the discipline, from molecular biology to ecology. Students in the program learn to think and analyze information critically, draw connections among the different areas of biology, and communicate their ideas effectively to the scientific community. The major exposes students to the scientific process through a set of core courses and electives from a range of subdisciplines. The Biology major serves as preparation for professional careers, including medicine, dentistry, veterinary sciences, teaching, consulting, research, and field studies.

Mission of the Graduate Program in Biology

For graduate-level students, the department offers resources and experience learning from and working with world-renowned faculty involved in research on ecology, neurobiology, population biology, plant and animal physiology, biochemistry, immunology, cell and developmental biology, genetics, and molecular biology.

The M.S. degree program offers general or specialized study to individuals seeking biologically oriented course work, and to undergraduate science majors wishing to increase or update their science background or obtain advanced research experience.

The training for a Ph.D. in Biology is focused on learning skills required to be a successful research scientist and teacher, including how to ask important questions and then devise and carry out experiments to answer these questions. Students work closely with an established advisor and meet regularly with a committee of faculty members to ensure that they understand the importance of diverse perspectives on experimental questions and approaches. Students learn how to evaluate critically pertinent original literature to stay abreast of scientific progress in their areas of interest. They also learn how to make professional presentations, write manuscripts for publication, and become effective teachers.


The offices, labs, and personnel of the Department of Biology are located in the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Biology Research, Gilbert Biological Sciences, James H. Clark Center,  ChEM-H and the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute, and Jerry Yang and Akiko Yamazaki Environment and Energy (Y2E2) buildings. Along with the Carnegie Institution of Washington, all are on the main campus. Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve (JRBP) is located near Stanford University's campus in the eastern foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Hopkins Marine Station is on Monterey Bay in Pacific Grove.

Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve encompasses geologic, topographic, and biotic diversity within its 1,189 acres and provides a natural laboratory for researchers from around the world, educational experiences for students and docent-led visitors, and a refuge for native plants and animals. See the JRBP website.

Hopkins Marine Station, located 90 miles from the main University campus in Pacific Grove, was founded in 1892 as the first marine laboratory on the west coast of North America. For more information, including courses taught at Hopkins Marine Station with the subject code BIOHOPK, see the "Hopkins Marine Station" section of this bulletin.

The Robin Li and Melissa Ma Science Library, located in the Sapp Center for Science Teaching and Learning, supports research and teaching for the Department of Biology and other related disciplines.  The Harold A. Miller Library focuses primarily on marine biology to support the research and teaching needs of the Hopkins Marine Station, but it also collects materials on oceanography, fisheries, and other aquatic sciences.

Biology Course Numbering System

The department uses the following course numbering system:

Biology Course Numbering System




Introductory and Foundations




Advanced Undergraduate, Coterminal, and PhD




Emeriti Professors: Steven M. Block, Mark W. Denny, Paul R. Ehrlich, David Epel, Russell D. Fernald, Philip C. Hanawalt, Patricia P. Jones, Harold A. Mooney, W. James Nelson, Peter Ray, Joan Roughgarden, George N. Somero, Tim P. Stearns, Ward B. WattNorman K. Wessells, Dow O. Woodward

Emeritus Professor (Teaching): Carol L. Boggs

Chair: Martha S. Cyert 

Director of Graduate Studies: Scott Dixon and Jonathan Pritchard

Director of Undergraduate Studies: Michael Simon and Rodolfo Dirzo

Professors: Dominique Bergmann, Barbara A. Block, Martha S. Cyert, Gretchen C. Daily, Jose R. Dinneny, Rodolfo Dirzo, Marcus W. Feldman, Christopher B. Field, Hunter B. Fraser, Judith Frydman, Tadashi Fukami, Deborah M. Gordon, Or Gozani, Elizabeth A. Hadly, H. Craig Heller, Christine Jacobs-Wagner, Richard G. Klein, Ron R. Kopito, Sharon R. Long, Liqun Luo, Susan K. McConnell, Mary Beth Mudgett, Stephen R. Palumbi, Dmitri Petrov, Jonathan Pritchard, Noah A. Rosenberg, Robert M. Sapolsky, Mark J. Schnitzer, Carla J. Shatz, Kang Shen, Jan M. Skotheim, Michael A. Simon, Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Stuart H. Thompson, Alice Ting, Shripad Tuljapurkar, Virginia Walbot

Professor (Research): Anthony Barnosky

Associate Professors: Xiaoke Chen, Scott J. Dixon, Jessica L. Feldman, Christopher Lowe, Erin Mordecai, Ashby Morrison, Kabir Peay, M. Kristy Red-Horse

Associate Professor (Research): Mary Hynes

Assistant Professors: Christopher O. Barnes, Jonas B. Cremer, Barnabus Daru, Lauren O'Connell, Molly Schumer, Naima G. Sharaf, Ayelet Voskoboynik

Courtesy Emeritus Professor: Kathryn Barton

Courtesy Professors: Joseph Berry, Kevin Boyce, Larry Crowder, Giulio De Leo, Daniel Fisher, Arthur R. Grossman, Joseph S. Lipsick, Anna M. Michalak, Jonathan Payne, Seung Yon Rhee, Alfred Spormann, Irving Weissman, Zhiyong Wang

Courtesy Associate Professors: Paula V. Welander

Courtesy Assistant Professor:  Devaki Bhaya, Adrian Burlacot, David Ehrhardt, Moises Exposito-Alonso, Andrew Leslie, Erik Sperling

Lecturers: Robin Elahi, Daria Hekmat-Scafe, Jamie Imam, Waheeda Khalfan, Shyamala D. Malladi, Jorge Ramos, Andrew Todhunter