Frequently Asked Questions

Can I be in BEMH?

If you are a Stanford medical student, then yes!

Can I be in BEMH and finish med school in four years?


Do I have to do the gateway courses before my elective courses?

No. You can do the coursework in any order. It is highly recommended to takeĀ Medical Humanities and the Arts in the first year, as it is difficult to take courses in Q6.

Do I have to be in BEMH to take the gateway courses?

No. These courses are open to all students.

Can I apply for a Medical Scholars Research project related to ethics, arts or humanities and not be in BEMH?

Yes. All students are encouraged to consider applying for BEMH-related medical scholars projects. Please contact Dr. Maren Grainger-Monsen ( for application advice.

I came to Stanford to do science research, but I am interested in BEMH as a Foundation. Can I do both?

Yes. Stanford students have a variety of interests and talents. The Medical Scholars Program is designed to help students obtain research experience, and BEMH students are eligible to apply for science med scholars. Students gain much insight into medicine and science by participating in lab or clinical research. Such experience may spark an interest in an ethical or humanistic issue related to the research, and a student may want to pursue that issue as a BEMH project. Check with one of the directors of BEMH, as well as with the Med Scholars Research Program (e.g., Dr. Baker or Celina NgĀ, for your particular questions.

I came to Stanford to be a cardiac surgeon. What does declaring BEMH do for me?

The tools, insights, and perspectives gained from declaring your Foundation as BEMH apply to any field of study or career path. For example, a student passionate about a career in cardiac surgery may want to pursue a project in ethics of transplant or the use of the heart as a metaphor in various cultures. Furthermore, many students change career goals during medical school. Concentrating in BEMH allows great flexibility as these shifts occur.

I want to take an elective course as one of my BEMH courses, but it's not on the elective course list. Does it count?

The elective course list is a sample of the kinds of courses that would count, but it is not an exclusive list. Each student in BEMH or considering BEMH will have an advisor to discuss plans, including elective course choices. As long as you can justify how the course fits into your overall study plans, it should count.

I found a Stanford faculty member who wants to mentor me in a BEMH project, but I don't see his/her name on the mentor list. What now?

We expect the mentor list to grow as our program grows. You are welcome and encouraged to seek mentors in the University who are not on the mentor list, and, if that faculty member agrees, we are happy to add him/her to our list.

Speaking of mentors, I found this really great guy who would be perfect to mentor me in my project but he's not affiliated with Stanford. How come he can't mentor me?

You are welcome to have mentors outside of Stanford in addition to a Stanford faculty mentor. Please discuss particulars with your BEMH advisor.