Curriculum and Courses

During their first five quarters in the program, MOM students take basic biomedical science courses - including anatomy, physiology, genetics, immunology, and pathology - with the School of Medicine's MD students. The basic biomedical sciences curriculum is presented in a succinct format four days per week. If desired, lab rotations may also be taken in the summer before starting the MOM program, and/or the summer between the first and second years of the program.

By early in the second year, each MOM student will choose a lab for thesis research, and also elect a clinical mentor who will discuss translational research needs and help to arrange an appropriate short clinical experience. Although it is generally expected, that the lab each MOM student selects for PhD thesis research will likely have a translational focus, this is not mandatory. Upon completion of the PhD degree, each participating student will receive a Master of Science in Medicine degree.

Required Components of the MOM Program

The basic medical science courses required by the MOM program are summarized below. This is an intensive sequence, but can also be flexible, depending on the student, and the student's background, PhD program requirements, and interests.

In some cases, there is overlap between MOM courses and courses required for PhD degree progress. PhD students may be able to substitute courses required by their PhD programs. For example, while most MD students take GENE 202, most PhD students prefer to take GENE 205, which is a more advanced course and may satisfy a PhD course requirement.

All MOM courses are taken Pass/Fail with the exception of courses required for the students' PhD degrees, which must be taken for a letter grade. A more detailed description of each of the below courses can be found at

Autumn Q1:

SURG 203A: Human Anatomy

11 units



BIOC 205: Molecular Foundations of Medicine (weeks 1- 4)

3 units



INDE 216: Cells to Tissues (weeks 1- 4)

3 units



BIOC 200: Applied Biochemistry (weeks 5 - 13)

1 unit



GENE 202: Human Genetics (weeks 5 - 13)

4 units



DBIO 201: Development and Disease Mechanisms (weeks 5 - 13)

4 units





26 units



Winter Q2:

INDE 220: Human Health & Disease I — Basic principles

3 units



MI 205: Immunology in Health and Disease

4 units



NBIO 206: The Nervous System

8 units



SURG 203B: Human Anatomy

4 units





19 units



Spring Q3:

INDE 221: Human Health & Disease II

12 units



Cardiovascular and respiratory systems




Autumn Q4:

INDE 222: Human Health & Disease III

15 units



Renal, gastrointestinal and endocrine systems      

Winter Q5:

INDE 223: Human Health & Disease IV

11 units



Central nervous system, hematologic system, and multisystemic infectious disease      
Total Units 83 units    

More Detailed Description of Preclinical Courses

The first two quarters (Q1, Q2) focus on the molecular foundations of medicine and the structure of cells and tissues, and build a vital foundation for the scientific basis of medicine. Clinical correlates are integrated throughout this basic course work to illustrate how basic science discovery translates into clinical practice.

The last three quarters (Q3, Q4, Q5) focus on the foundations of human health and disease and are organized by organ system. For each organ system, these courses integrate histology, physiology, pathology, microbiology, and pharmacology, and cover normal structure and function, response to disease and infection, and treatment. Problem-based clinical cases are integrated throughout all of the organ system courses. There is a final unit on multi-organ systems that provides pathophysiological integration of material from prior units. These courses will teach PhD students enrolled in the MOM program about the basics of human biology and disease. By understanding the language of medicine, MOM students will more effectively be able to work together with physicians to formulate meaningful translational research questions and research plans.

In each of the first five quarters of the MOM program, because of the structuring of the MD course curriculum, there may be time available for MOM students to do research rotations, or to take some of their PhD course requirements. In addition, we allow MOM students to begin their first PhD rotations the summer before the MOM program starts. They have the additional opportunity of taking another PhD rotation in the summer following the first year of the MOM program. Thus by the time they start the second year, they may have had time to complete several research rotations, in addition to the first three quarters of MOM coursework, and quite possibly some of their graduate courses as well. By early in their second year, we expect most students will have chosen labs for their PhD research.

Other Required Components of the MOM Curriculum

While the above intensive coursework will form the bulk of the MOM curriculum, there will be several other components of the MOM program that will stimulate student interest in translational medicine.


Selection of a physician co-mentor. Each MOM student will be required to select a physician mentor in addition to a PhD advisor. The student will be free to select a physician mentor who specializes in an area of the student's interest. Each student will meet with his or her physician co-mentor at least once per quarter to discuss progress and translational medicine in general. In addition, each student will be encouraged to have at least one physician-scientist on his/her thesis committee.




Required clinical experience. All MOM students will be required to complete a short but intensive clinical experience, which will be decided upon and arranged in discussion with their physician mentors. Appropriate rotations will depend upon the interests of the students. Students may engage in a one- or two-month full time clinical rotation, participating fully in most of the usual MD student activities, including patient rounds, diagnostic rounds, watching patients be examined, grand rounds, and attending other medical lectures. Alternatively, MOM students might arrange to spend time attending clinic with their physician mentors or alternative clinical experiences as appropriate and agreed upon by their physician mentors and the director of the MOM program.




Translational Medicine seminar series. Stanford has recently begun a Translational Medicine seminar series. Seminars occur once every two weeks and are of high quality. These seminars provide examples to MOM students of important unsolved questions in medicine and show them that it is possible to do high-quality, meaningful research on these questions. They also expose students to a wide range of potential mentors who are engaged in translational research for their PhD thesis work. Students will be encouraged to attend several other high-quality seminar series, including series called Regenerative Medicine.




Elective coursework in translational medicine. MOM students may additionally opt to take elective translational medicine courses to further explore "Bench-to-Bedside" development of new medical treatments. Some of these courses have recently been developed; others are now being developed. Examples include: RAD 222/BIOE 222 Multimodality Molecular Imaging in Living Subjects; MPHA 220 Chemistry of Biological Processes; PATH 218 Computational Analysis of Biological Images; and DBIO 202 Egg to Embryo: Basic Science and Clinical Approaches to Infertility. A new course on principles of drug development offered by the Chemistry department will begin this year.




Special seminar course designed for MOM students. MOM students will take a special seminar course developed just for them; it will meet once per week and allow students to maintain an identity as a cohort and to keep in touch with one another. This course will include a variety of topics related to translational medicine and feature a variety of guest speakers from Stanford and surrounding medical schools and biotech. This will allow participants to cover topics not generally addressed in the MD or PhD curricula - such as how to take a drug from bench to bedside - and provide the opportunity for students to meet in a small group with translational researchers.




Flexibility in degree requirements. While the above requirements will be recommended to most students, there may be some students for which all of the above coursework is deemed not necessary by the MOM Steering Committee for various reasons. All of the above coursework amount to 83 units in total.

updated 3/24/2014

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