Program Description

The MBM Foundation is designed to: (1) allow medical students to explore diverse areas of basic science and (2) maximize the time available for original research at the laboratory bench. Through these activities, MBM Scholars will strengthen their understanding of the molecular mechanisms that underlie human health and disease. They will also be well-positioned to pursue basic biomedical research at subsequent stages of their careers and to apply new scientific advances to their clinical practices.

Due to its emphasis on laboratory research, the MBM Foundation typically requires a significant commitment on the part of the medical student. The majority of MBM Scholars will complete the equivalent of a year of full-time research and will therefore pursue a five-year graduation plan. Some students elect to continue their research by entering a PhD program. MBM Scholars are also encouraged to affiliate with Stanford departments, interdepartmental programs (IDPs), or institutes, allowing them to benefit from administrative resources for training and mentoring graduate students. These structures will also help MBM Scholars connect with faculty and students working in related fields.

Medical students can pursue the MBM Foundation alone or in combination with any of the Scholarly Concentration Applications. In the latter case, the students will design a curriculum that spans both Foundation and Application areas.

Program Requirements


MBM Scholars are required to complete 12 course units when enrolled in the Foundation alone. If the MBM Foundation is combined with a Scholarly Concentration Application, 6 MBM course units are required. All courses for the MBM curriculum are taken as electives, and they should emphasize basic science. Coursework options include both didactic classes and independent research. Students are encouraged to devise a course plan to present to the Director.


MBM Scholars will identify a research project and mentor that focuses on basic science. Total MBM research time typically spans at least one year, and financial support for time spent in the lab may be obtained by applying to the MedScholars Program. Students are also encouraged to seek funding from outside sources. In certain circumstances, students can obtain MBM course credit for their research activities, according to the guidelines outlined in the MBM Coursework section.

It is anticipated that a portion of MBM Scholars will achieve research results worthy of an MS degree. Such students may petition to meet the MS requirements in the degree-granting program most closely aligned with their area of study. MBM Scholars interested in the possibility of achieving an MS degree should familiarize themselves early on with the coursework, research, and thesis requirements for the appropriate degree-granting program, as they may exceed those of the MBM Foundation.

Presentation of Research:

All students are expected to present their research at least once in an approved forum. This may a national or international meeting, the annual Medical Student Research Symposium, or another venue approved by the Director.

Written Report of Research:

Students are expected to produce a written report of their research results. This will typically be in the form of a manuscript to be submitted for publication (or if already published, a copy of the published paper). If a publication is not expected, the final written report should take the form of a manuscript for publication.

Annual Meeting with the Director:

Students will meet with the Director to devise their MBM curriculum and at least annually to review progress. A final meeting will certify that all MBM requirements have been completed.