Distance Education MS in Biomedical Informatics

The Biomedical Informatics program offers the Honors Cooperative Program (HCP), or Professional Masters degree, a part-time, distance education Masters program. The Professional Masters program is for students interested in non-academic careers, however, the program requirements for the degree are identical to those for the Academic Masters program. The research component is replaced by the requirement for employment in the field of biomedical informatics or other highly-related field. There is no difference in scientific focus, and both result in granting of an MS degree from Stanford.

Students receive course content and interact via the Stanford Center for Professional Development (SCPD). It is highly recommended that candidates start by reviewing the information about this program on the Stanford Online website, especially their HCP student handbook. Applicants are strongly encouraged to consider starting as a Non-Degree Option student (either a single course, or a three course certificate). Taking at least one of the BMI core courses before applying is recommended (but not required).

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To be eligible for the MS program, candidates must be employed full-time and should remain employed throughout the duration of the program.


Please see the prerequisites page.

Degree Requirements

Our graduate curriculum is described here. Note that CS 161 and STATS 200 are required for those starting after August 1, 2016. These two courses, or some of their prerequisites, may not be available through SCPD. You should design a course plan with next best alternatives: these may include similar courses at Stanford, or courses at other institutions (outside courses would not count towards the required 45 units). Alternatively, you could take the courses on-campus if you live nearby.

Candidates may wish to begin with Certificate programs in Biomedical informatics, or individual courses through the Non-degree option, while completing some of the prerequisite requirements for the Masters program. Up to 18 units of academic credit from relevant Certificate programs may be transferred upon acceptance into the degree program.

Students spend on average of 3.5 years in the program. The program must be completed within five years.

Switching MS Programs

Requests to transfer from part-tIme (HCP) to full-time (Academic MS) are reviewed by the BMI Exec on a case-by-case basis. Final decisions are at the BMI Exec's discretion. Please note the following limitations (for students enrolling in the HCP program starting Fall 2020):

  1. Students must complete a minimum of two (2) quarters in the part-time program excluding summer quarter or enrollment as a non-degree option student, before requesting to transfer to full-time. Therefore, the soonest the transfer can be discussed and approved is during the first BMI Exec meeting of the third quarter of the student in the HCP program
  2. Students must complete a minimum of 10 units of letter-graded courses that meet requirements for the BMI MS degree before commencing their first full-time (Academic MS) quarter 
  3. GPA will be considered as part of the request.
  4. Students can make a maximum of two (2) transfers during the program (e.g. transfer from part-time to full-time and back to part-time).
  5. Students should consider the availability of courses online before requesting to switch from full-time to part-time, especially if this may interfere with their ability to satisfy the requirements of the degree.


The Stanford Center for Professional Development sets the tuition for all of the Honors Cooperative Programs.There is a three unit minimum enrollment per academic quarter. Check the latest tuition and fees at the Stanford Center for Professional Development website, especially their page on tuition and fees. The BMI program does not set rates or policies or collect tuition.


Some employers will support tuition for students enrolled in graduate studies while employed. Check with your Human Resources department for programs and policies. Students in the Professional MS program are not eligible for funding from many US government fellowships and other scholarships due to the required research component of the awards. Many student loan programs require full time registration status, which is not possible in the HCP MS program. BMI does not provide financial aid for this program.

Application Instructions

Review the information on the Bioscience Application website.

Complete the Biosciences Application (same as PhD) online. Applications are accepted most of the year, and students can start any quarter except Summer. The deadlines for HCP applications are specific to this degree program, and are listed here

The GRE General Test score is optional; scores will be considered if submitted and may be helpful for students to complement their academic records and highlight their strengths. In addition, we accept the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores in lieu of GRE scores.

Honors Cooperative Program


Winter Quarter

Friday, October 30, 2020


Spring Quarter

Monday, February 1, 2021


Autumn Quarter

Monday, June 21, 2021

Letter of Support Instructions

The Honors Cooperative Program (HCP) in Biomedical Informatics (BMI) is designed to serve the needs of candidates who wish to remain fully employed while studying towards their graduate degree. The program is rigorous and employer support is essential to the student’s success. The management must be aware of the study program including assignment, project and examination deadlines, which may cause scheduling conflicts with assignments at work. The program provides a course advisor who can work with the supervisor to resolve major conflicts. Other optional forms of support may include allocation of resources towards student projects, discussion of the plan of study with the student and course supervisor or support through the human resources and employee development programs.

We encourage employers to participate actively in the student’s intellectual progress with appropriate assignments within the organization’s mission, but please be aware, in accordance with University policy, all work completed by the student to fulfill class requirements remains the intellectual property of the student.

Please provide a Letter of Support on corporate letterhead for the applicant. Indicate how the company intends to support the applicant.

Email or mail the Letter of Support to the BMI program.

Industrial Site Supervisor

The industrial site supervisor serves as the onsite monitor of the student in the academic program. The supervisor is not required to proctor exams (all Stanford students must follow the Honor Code). The supervisor may be asked to speak on behalf of a student. For example, the University limits the cumulative leaves of absence allowed from any graduate program. Normally, this limit is adequate.  However, the Honors Cooperative Program may require leaves of absence due to gaps in the curriculum schedule. If a work emergency occurs, the student may not have enough leave of absence to cover the emergency and their graduate status may end. The supervisor may speak on behalf of the student to request additional leave of absence or other waivers as needed.

Under normal circumstances, we anticipate this role will require no more than 1-2 hours of their time annually.


Applications are accepted for admission each quarter except summer. The application deadlines are listed on the HCP admissions page.

Frequently Asked Questions

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