Candidates for the degree of Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) must satisfactorily complete the required curriculum in medicine. The requirements for the M.D. degree are detailed in the Stanford Bulletin and in the M.D. Handbook.
The Discovery Curriculum enables students to complete their M.D. program at a more individualized pace, introducing a greater diversity of learning pathways available to students. Depending on their unique goals and pursuits at Stanford, students can complete the pre-clerkship curriculum at full pace in two years or at a slower pace in three years. During the first year, all students complete the same courses at the same pace. In Autumn Quarter of the second year, students can complete the remainder of their pre-clerkship curriculum at full pace or apply for the option of splitting the course workload over two years. Students who are approved for the three-year option have substantially more open time to pursue independent research, a dual degree, or other longitudinal scholarship and leadership activities. The course requirements, learning objectives, and assessments are the same for two-year and three-year pre-clerkship students. The three-year option is selective with an application process; the majority of students are expected initially to opt for the traditional two-year pre-clerkship option.