Most learning in graduate school comes from hands-on thesis research. Coursework also plays an important role. For most biosciences students, coursework starts with a uniquely designed Foundations course and includes in-depth courses in specialized areas. Stanford courses emphasize interactive learning and learning through the scientific literature.
Nearly all students take the "Foundations" course. Open to first year graduate students in the Biosciences only. The overall mission of the course is to facilitate the first steps toward becoming scientists —from being consumers of information to producers of knowledge. In the process of doing this, students learn to read for breadth and depth, construct compelling arguments, find important research questions and discriminate between approaches to answer those questions, communicate with the spoken or written word as well as images, and work in interdisciplinary teams.
Mini-courses are 1-3 week (and 1-3 unit) courses that give students the opportunity to learn about a specific field or skill. Students interact closely with teaching staff, with frequent opportunities to solve problems and to receive individual feedback.
Past mini-courses include:
Search Explore Courses under Biosciences Interdisciplinary (BIOS) for a listing of current mini-courses.
Although mini-courses take place in the last 3 weeks of the quarter and flexible registration deadlines still apply it is highly encouraged and recommended to apply by normal registration deadlines. Courses fill up fast. If you don't have units available (3 units max for TGR students, 10 units max for non-TGR students), see your Student Services Administrator (SSA) or Biosciences for help registering. (You can still take the courses!) Contact your SSA with other eligibility and tuition questions.
Faculty interested in developing a new mini-course should see the mini-course proposals page.
For more on mini-courses, please see the mini-course frequently asked questions.
We encourage you to take advantage of the entire Stanford campus, so do not feel limited to science courses! Students have enrolled in courses from archery to Spanish to law. If you don't have extra credit hours for extracurricular courses, many professors allow students to audit classes.
In the past, foreign language skills were a standard requirement in graduate school. Now, many faculty believe that a baseline level ability in computer programming is critical in 21st century science. Stanford offers many computational courses, with levels ranging from beginner to advanced and focuses ranging from general to science-specific.
Students can (and do!) take classes not listed in their curriculum. Remember that many scientific advances come from applying knowledge from one area to the next, so take advantage of the broad spectrum of courses offered at Stanford.
Here is a sampling of courses you can use to broaden your skill set, learn about a new field, or relax. Browse Explore Courses to find more courses.
More advanced computational courses include:
Stanford offers many workshops for professional development. Use these workshops to learn how to deliver a presentation, present a poster, write a scientific paper, network, and more. See the Student Development section of the Event Calendar.
The Stanford Biosciences Grant Writing Academy provides workshops, coaching, review and editing for multiple grant mechanisms to all postdoctoral scholars and graduate students in the biosciences.
Our goals are to:
For more, please see the Grant Writing Academy page.