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Doctoral Program


A student, once admitted to the Ph.D., will complete a master’s degree worth of coursework (45 units) in addition to 15 further units other than research alongside their research and teaching.  In essence, they will fulfill the requirements for the Stanford MS in Bioengineering along the road to their Ph.D. A minimum of 135 units is required. The maximum number of units which may be transferred to Stanford from previous graduate-school study from another institution is 45. At least 90 units of work must be completed at Stanford.

Prior to being formally admitted to candidacy for the PhD degree, the student must demonstrate knowledge of bioengineering fundamentals and a potential for research by passing a qualifying oral examination.

Students must complete and defend a doctoral dissertation.

Choosing a research lab

Students will be assigned an initial faculty academic advisor on the basis of the research interests expressed in their application and further discussion with admitted students. Initial faculty advisors will help students select courses and identify research opportunities. The department does not require formal lab rotations, but students are strongly encouraged to explore research activities in two or three labs during their first academic year.

PhD minor in Bioengineering

Doctoral students pursuing a PhD degree in a major other than Bioengineering may apply for the PhD minor in Bioengineering. A minor is a not a requirement for any degree, but it is available when agreed upon by the student and the major and minor department.

A student desiring a PhD minor in Bioengineering must have a minor program advisor who is a regular Bioengineering faculty member. This advisor must be a member of the student's reading committee for the doctoral dissertation, and the entire reading committee must meet at least one year prior to the date of the student's dissertation defense.

The PhD minor program must include at least 20 units of coursework in Stanford Bioengineering or Bioengineering cognate courses at or above the 200 level. Of these 20 units, no more than 10 can be in cognate courses. All courses listed to fulfill the 20-unit requirement must be taken for a letter grade and the GPA must be at least 3.25. Courses used for a minor may not be used to also meet the requirements for a master's degree.

If you have any further questions, please contact Justin Lind, student services manager, at