Program FAQs

How long is the Ph.D. Program?

The program is designed to be completed in 5 years. There are two years of coursework Course work is largely completed in the first year, followed by an anticipated 3-4 years to complete required elective courses and the doctoral research project.

How much of the program is theory, how much is lab-based?

Students begin lab research rotations in the first quarter of the program. After Beginning the second year, the student's activity is primarily lab research. Students may take additional elective courses at any time during their training program.

Course Requirements: 

All first year SCBRM students enroll in the unique core SCBRM courses, STEMREM 201A, 201B, 202 and 203, as well as the Regenerative Medicine weekly seminar series (STEMREM 250) and a student-organized journal club (STEMREM 280). The curriculum starts by integrating didactic coursework in stem cell biology (STEMREM 201A) with a forum to discuss rotation laboratory experiences (STEMREM201B). This introduction is followed by an exploration of the basic and clinical properties of different stem cell systems with a focus on polishing skills in developing a research proposal (STEMREM 202). In addition to these core courses, SCBRM students enroll with all incoming Biosciences students in Foundations of Experimental Biology, with an emphasis on developing research proposals. Other courses required in the first year include Developmental Biology (DBIO 210) and Genetics (GENE 205 or GENE 211).

Rotation Projects:

Research rotations serve to expose students to the science and culture of a laboratory where they may choose to conduct their doctoral thesis research.  The student chooses possible rotation laboratories with input and discussion with the academic advisor on a quarterly basis or more frequently if desired.  Rotations are set up directly between student and the faculty member of interest. Rotations should be no longer than one quarter in length and students are expected to complete 3 rotations by the end of the student’s third quarter in the program (i.e., typically before the beginning of the fall quarter of second year).

Mentorship in the Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine Program:

The SCBRM Program is committed to providing academic advising to support the scholarly and professional development of all graduate students. Each incoming student will be appointed an interim academic advisor drawn from the faculty, as well as a peer advisor drawn from the senior graduate student pool. Students typically select their thesis laboratory before the end of fall quarter of the second year.  Once the thesis lab has been selected, the thesis mentor serves as the student’s PhD research advisor.


Students in their final years of the program complete an immersion or internship, aimed at moving the student’s professional and personal goals forward with novel opportunities in medicine, business, industry, human health, science policy, or other professional interest (STEMREM 203). The immersion is planned by the student in consultation with academic advisors and provides an opportunity to acquire a highly specialized subset of the knowledge, skills, and expertise for success. We encourage our students to explore areas that are of interest to them in the immersion component of the curriculum.

One resource for planning internships is Cardinal Ventures, a startup accelerator on the Stanford campus run by students, for students.