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Bulletin Archive

This archived information is dated to the 2011-12 academic year only and may no longer be current.

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

Core Curriculum and Program Requirements in Biomedical Informatics


Students are expected to participate regularly in the Biomedical Informatics Student Seminar (BIOMEDIN 201) and a research Colloquium, such as BIOMEDIN 200 or BIOMEDIN 205. In addition, all students are expected to fulfill requirements in the following five categories:

  1. Core Biomedical Informatics (17 units): Students are expected to complete the core offerings in biomedical informatics, including BIOMEDIN 212 and 4 of the following: BIOMEDIN 210, 211, 214, 215, 217 and 260. Any remaining units must be graduate level courses listed under BIOMEDIN.
  2. Computer Science, Statistics, Mathematics & Engineering (18 units): Students are expected to create a program of study with a mixture of graduate-level courses in computer science, statistics or other technical informatics-related disciplines that allows them to achieve in-depth mastery of these areas. The programs of study may focus on aspects of these disciplines including (but not limited to): machine learning, artificial intelligence, data mining, image analysis, human-computer interaction, systems engineering, scientific and numerical computing or graphics. In general, this course of study should include no more than 9 units in courses 100-199, and the rest should be 200 or above (unless specifically approved by adviser). CS courses 106, 107 and 108 cannot be counted for this requirement, and all courses should be formal classroom-based courses, unless approved by the executive committee. Up to 6 units of this portion of the core curriculum may be taken on a pass/fail basis, but at least half of the units in this portion of the curriculum must be taken for a grade. BIOMEDIN units about 17 may also be counted for the requirements in this category. Students may petition for quantitative courses in the medical school or Humanities and Sciences to be counted in this section of the curriculum.
  3. Social and Ethical Issues (4 units): Students are expected to be familiar with issues regarding ethical, legal, social, organizational and behavioral aspects of the impact of biomedical informatics technologies on society in general. They should select broadly from University offerings to explore one or more of these aspects more deeply. In addition, students are required to take MED 255, The Responsible Conduct of Research, or the equivalent.
  4. Unrestricted Electives (6 units): Students may fulfill this requirement with any Stanford course, including courses taken to satisfy core curriculum prerequisites.
  5. For PhD Students only: Domain Biology/Medicine, Pedagogy, Electives (9 units): In order to reach a total of 54 units of core curriculum, PhD students should take an additional 9 units; this should include 6 units of biology or medicine classes relevant to their research interests, 2 units of BIOMEDIN 290, and one additional unit of unrestricted elective.

The core curriculum generally entails a minimum of 45 units of course work for master's students and 54 units of course work for Ph.D. students, but can require substantially more or less depending upon the courses chosen and the previous training of the student. BIOMEDIN 200, 201, 299, 801, 802 and MED 255 may be taken for satisfactory/no credit (S/NC). The varying backgrounds of students are well recognized and no one is required to take courses in an area in which he or she has already been adequately trained; under such circumstances, students are permitted to skip courses or substitute more advanced work using a formal annual process administered by the BMI executive committee, in which students demonstrate satisfaction of core curriculum prerequisites, and request permission to receive core curriculum credit for classes taken previously in areas of the core curriculum. Students design appropriate programs for their interests with the assistance and approval of their Biomedical Informatics academic adviser. At least 27 units of formal course work are expected for the core curriculum.


Students enrolled in any of the M.S degrees must complete the program requirements in order to graduate. Programs of at least 45 units that meet the following guidelines are normally approved:

  1. Completion of the core curriculum with overall GPA of 3.0.
  2. Students are expected to participate regularly in the Biomedical Informatics Student Seminar (BIOMEDIN 201) and a research colloquium, such as BIOMEDIN 200 or BIOMEDIN 205. HCP professional masters candidates who are able to attend classes on campus should also participate regularly.
  3. Electives: additional courses to bring the total to 45 or more units as necessary.
  4. Masters candidates should sign up for BIOMEDIN 801 for their project units.

The University requirements for the M.S. degree are described in the "Graduate Degrees" section of this bulletin.

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