How to Apply

The application for the 2019-20 academic year will open in late September 2018.


The Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Stem Cell Biology is part of the larger Biosciences PhD Umbrella program at Stanford University. Prospective Stem Cell students should apply to the Biosciences PhD program.

The Biosciences applications open in late September and close the first week of December.  Interviews are scheduled for the first week of March. Admission letters are sent in the second week of March and a final decision to join the program is required from admitted students by April 15.  Classes start the last week of September.


To apply, please visit the Biosciences PhD Program Website.


The 1st, 2nd, or 3rd Choice PhD Program: How do I choose?  Prospective students who are interested in joining the Stem Cell PhD Program should apply to the Biosciences PhD Program and select Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine as their 1st choice graduate program.  Each PhD program utilizes a separate admissions committee and if you select Stem Cell Biology as your first choice, your application will be assigned to the Stem Cell admissions committee. The Biosciences application will also invite you to select a 2nd or 3rd choice PhD program and your application will be simultaneously reviewed by up to two additional programs.   If you are not invited to interview by your first choice program, your 2nd or 3rd choice programs will be given an opportunity to invite you to interview at Stanford.  Carefully review each program’s faculty member’s research focus to determine the best match for your future goals. Your 1st choice program should be the program that best fits your interests.  Highlight the match between your training goals and the faculty members in your 1st choice program.  If you select the Stem Cell Program as your first choice but describe your fascination with faculty who do not actively participate in the Stem Cell program, then you may want to reconsider your 1st choice program.

What are we looking for in a Prospective Student?  The Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine PhD Program encourages applications from students who are deeply motivated to improve our basic understanding of human health and disease.  We fully embrace the enriching influences of scientific and personal diversity.

Before you apply, consider the following: Fundamental advances require an understanding of the individual at the whole-organism level as well as an intimate familiarity with the molecular and cellular underpinnings of disease.  Advanced genetic toolsets and “big data” have become integral to basic discovery and translation. The Doctorate in Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine is inherently cross-disciplinary.   Dissertation research leading to a Doctoral Degree is immersive and demanding. Applicants who have demonstrated a native ability to thrive in the fast-paced laboratory environment and who have taken full ownership of a previous research project will gain the attention of the admissions committee members.     Many of our successful applicants have spent two or more years in a research environment during college. Others have taken advantage of gap years between college and graduate school to become familiar with the research environment and the careers that a doctoral degree in the biomedical sciences can offer. If you are a recent graduate considering the Stem Cell PhD program at Stanford but have not yet experienced what biomedical research entails, we encourage you to explore an internship or post-baccalaureate research program that will give you an opportunity to understand the commitment and more fully formulate a career trajectory that would be enabled by a PhD in Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. Grades take a back seat to evidence of deep personal engagement in research and discovery. Letters of recommendation from well-established researchers carry considerable weight.

You don’t need an Ivy-league degree to be a competitive candidate. You need a mind, motivation, and the compassion to make a difference.