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This archived information is dated to the 2009-10 academic year only and may no longer be current.

For currently applicable policies and information, see the current Stanford Bulletin.

Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Informatics

The University's basic requirements for the doctorate (residence, dissertation, examination, and so on) are discussed in the "Graduate Degrees" section of this bulletin.

Individuals wishing to prepare themselves for careers as independent researchers in biomedical informatics, with applications experience in bioinformatics, clinical informatics, or imaging informatics, should apply for admission to the doctoral program. The following are additional requirements imposed by the Biomedical Informatics Executive Committee:

  1. A student plans and completes a coherent program of study including the core curriculum and additional requirements as for the master's program. In addition, doctoral candidates are expected to take at least nine more units of advanced courses to bring the total to 54 units. Recommended classes include: Computer Sciences courses numbered 135 or higher, courses in Management Science and Engineering or Statistics numbered 200 or higher, PSYCH 256 or 225, or relevant courses in other departments approved by the student's academic adviser. In the first year, two or three research rotations are encouraged. The master's requirements should be completed by the end of the second year in the program (six quarters of study, excluding summers). Doctoral students are generally advanced to Ph.D. candidacy after passing the qualifying exam, which takes place during the end of the second year of training. A student's academic adviser has primary responsibility for the adequacy of the program, which is regularly reviewed by the Biomedical Informatics Executive Committee.
  2. To remain in the Ph.D. program, each student must attain a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 (B) in each of the five core areas and an overall GPA of 3.0 for the required courses. The student must fulfill these requirements and apply for admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. by the end of six quarters of study (excluding summers). In addition, reasonable progress in the student's research activities is expected of all doctoral candidates.
  3. During the third year of training, generally in Winter Quarter, each doctoral student is required to give a preproposal seminar that describes evolving research plans and allows program faculty to assure that the student is making good progress toward the definition of a doctoral dissertation topic.
  4. By the end of nine quarters (excluding summers), each student must orally present a written thesis proposal for the written dissertation and must orally defend the proposal before a dissertation committee that generally includes at least one member of the Biomedical Informatics Executive Committee. The committee determines whether the student's general knowledge of the field and the details of the planned thesis are sufficient to justify proceeding with the dissertation.
  5. After application for Terminal Graduate Registration (TGR) status, the Ph.D. candidate should register each quarter for BIOMEDIN 802 so their research effort may be counted toward the degree.
  6. As part of the training for the Ph.D., each student is required to be a teaching assistant for two courses approved by the Biomedical Informatics Executive Committee; one should be completed in the first two years of study.
  7. The most important requirement for the Ph.D. degree is the dissertation. Prior to the oral dissertation proposal and defense, each student must secure the agreement of a member of the program faculty to act as dissertation adviser. The principal adviser need not be an active member of the Biomedical Informatics program faculty, but all committees should include at least one participating BMI faculty member.
  8. At the completion of training, while still matriculated and shortly prior to deposit of the dissertation, the student gives a final talk describing his or her results. No official additional oral examination is required upon completion of the written dissertation. The oral defense of the dissertation proposal satisfies the University oral examination requirement.
  9. The student is expected to demonstrate an ability to present scholarly material and research in a lecture at a formal seminar.
  10. The student is expected to demonstrate an ability to present scholarly material in concise written form. Each student is required to write a paper suitable for publication, usually discussing his or her doctoral research project. This paper must be approved by the student's academic adviser as suitable for submission to a refereed journal before the doctoral degree is conferred.
  11. The dissertation must be accepted by a reading committee composed of the principal dissertation adviser, a member of the program faculty, and a third faculty member chosen from anywhere within the University.

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