Academic MS in Biomedical Informatics

The Academic MS degree is a full-time, on-campus, research-oriented program, and is for candidates with an interest in academic or research positions. The MS requires 45 units taken at Stanford. Most will be taking 10 units per quarter, so this program typically lasts 1.5 to 2 years.

Our NLM funding for this degree is limited to post-doctoral scholars who are US citizens or permanent residents; others, including predoctoral or international candidates, will have to get external funding or pay themselves. In this context, postdoctoral means those holding one of these degrees: PhD, MD, DDS, DMD, DO, DVM, OD, DPM, ScD, EngD, Dr PH, DNSc, DPharm, DSW, or PsyD. Post-doctoral scholars are required under the terms of the funding to devote at least 50% time to research and 50% towards classes, and because of the terms of the NLM funding, we would prefer they remain in the program in increments of full years (typically, two).

Note that there are limits on the number of years of NIH funding one may receive. The exact rule is: "No individual trainee may receive more than 5 years of aggregate Kirschstein-NRSA support at the predoctoral level and 3 years of aggregate Kirschstein-NRSA support at the postdoctoral level, including any combination of support from Kirschstein-NRSA institutional research training grants and individual fellowships." (source)

Also, if you are currently pursuing a PhD degree (at Stanford, or elsewhere) you may apply for our postdoctoral MS funding. Note that we cannot appoint you to the NLM Training Grant until your PhD has been conferred, so it is important that your estimated graduation date be correct.


Please see the prerequisites page.

Degree Requirements

The curriculum is described on Stanford ExploreDegrees.

A research project is required for completion of the degree. Trainees are encouraged to participate in one or more research rotations during their first year.

All students are expected to participate fully in the program events including Journal Clubs, research presentations, orientations, retreats, and the National Library of Medicine's Informatics Training Conference (if funded by NLM).

MDs interested in the Academic MS should contact us as early as possible, especially if you are coordinating the BMI training with further medical residency or fellowship training. It is also important to ensure that sufficient math and computer science prerequisites are completed before applying. This degree program is not appropriate for those with little to no quantitative or computational skills; you might want to consider Health or Clinical Informatics masters programs elsewhere, or the Clinical Informatics Fellowship.

Clinicians who wish to maintain their clinical activities may do so, but should be aware that the NLM training grant restricts outside employment to eight hours per week. The BMI program does not arrange appointments to clinical positions or to subspecialty fellowship training.

Application Instructions and Deadlines

Applications are due early December each year. See details on the Graduate Admissions webpage and on the Biosciences Application website.

  • Complete the Biosciences application online. This is the same as the PhD application.
    • See our page about the Personal Statement.
    • Please include an up-to-date version of your CV.
    • Stanford requires the GRE General Test. We do not require any GRE Subject Test scores. If are applying for our postdoctoral MS, you may submit old GRE scores (older than 5 years). MDs may submit MCATs. If the application system complains, you may enter a test date in the future to bypass the problem and list your old scores as "other test scores".
    • Complete the Academic Masters Program Supplemental Application Form. Note that it requests two copies of each transcript be mailed to us.
    • Application materials, including letters of recommendation and at least unofficial GREs, should be received by the deadline. We do review all applications, including incomplete ones.
    • For materials that are mailed, please use our Contact Address.
    • Please do NOT upload supporting materials, such as published or unpublished papers, posters, or class projects, with your application.
  • If the application is incomplete, the Biomedical Informatics Admissions Officer will notify the applicant by February. For post-doctoral candidates, there is no special paperwork or application required to apply for NLM funding. There is no in-person interview for the Academic MS program. Offers of admission are made on a rolling basis starting in March. Finals decisions from admitted candidates are due by April 15.
  • Applications for this MS degree are considered only for Autumn quarter; however, students, once accepted, may request a Summer quarter start. Self-funded students can also defer to later quarters.
  • The selection of MS students admitted to BMI is based on an individualized, holistic review of each application, including (but not limited to) the applicant’s academic record, the letters of recommendation, the scores on the General GRE (Graduate Record Examination) , the statement of purpose, personal qualities and characteristics, and past accomplishments.

Frequently Asked Questions

It is highly recommended that you review our Frequently Asked Questions page.