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Stanford Medicine Offers Courses with Free Certificate & CME Credit

Not just courses — podcasts & webinars too, with free certificates & continuing medical education credit.

My certificate of completion for Stanford’s Intro to Food and Health

Stanford Medicine offers a flurry of online learning resources in the medical field, from podcasts to full-fledged courses, that include free certificates of completion.

Learners also have access to a formal transcript from Stanford, listing all the training they’ve completed. And if you work in healthcare, you can earn continuing medical education credit (CME credit) via the platform.

In this report from Class Central, we discuss the free online learning opportunities afforded by Stanford University in the medical field.

Platform & Audience

Stanford Medicine platform homepage

Stanford Medicine is the umbrella organization that encompasses, among others, the Stanford School of Medicine and Medical Center.

Besides overseeing the university’s on-campus education and in-hospital training, Stanford Medicine has an online platform for continuing medical education (CME).

The platform is geared toward both:

  • Healthcare professionals, such as physicians and nurses, since it offers accredited learning resources that can carry continuing medical education credit (CME credit).
  • The public at large, since it doesn’t actually require a medical affiliation to access the learning content. Lifelong learners are welcome.

Below, you can see the Tweet thread that inspired this article.


Offerings: Podcasts to Courses

Interestingly, the platform isn’t just a catalog of online courses. It includes other online learning resources, like on-demand webinars and podcasts. (It also lists paid offerings, such as symposiums, but we won’t focus on those here.)

For example, here are some of the free resources available on the platform:

Free Certificates & Credit

My transcript, listing all the offerings I’ve completed. As you can see, I took part as a non-physician.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect (at least for those that have kept up with developments in online education), is that all the offerings listed above include a free certificate of completion. Ten years ago, this was common in online education. Now, certificates are typically paywalled.

Things may be a bit different in medicine. Indeed, lifelong learning is essential in healthcare, since the field moves fast and lives are on the line. As a result, in many countries, the need for lifelong learning has been codified into the bylaws of healthcare professions.

For instance, in the US, almost all states ask physicians to take part in continuing medical education (CME) activities yearly and accrue a certain number of CME credits. This constant need for recredentialing may explain the perennity of free certificates in healthcare.

Luckily, on the Stanford Medicine platform, when certificates are free, they’re free for everybody, whether you’re in healthcare or not. The only difference is that if you work in healthcare, your certificates will carry CME credit. If you don’t work in healthcare, you’ll still get a certificate, but no credit.

In addition, what’s even less common, you’ll have access to a transcript emitted by Stanford, showing all the courses you’ve taken as well as the CME credit you’ve earned. You can see my transcript above.

How to Earn Free Certificate & Credit

Example of how to claim your certificate and credit

If you’d like to learn via the Stanford Medicine platform, earn free certificates, and potentially accrue continuing medical education credit (CME credit), here’s what you should do:

  1. Sign up on Stanford Medicine. At this step, you’ll specify your profession, which will determine whether your certificates will entail CME credit or not.
  2. Browse the catalog & Enroll. Unfortunately, you can’t filter by “Free”. But if you select “Online Course” in the Type filter and “Enduring Materials” in the Format filter, you’ll find plenty of open resources with free certificates and CME credit.
  3. Claim your Certificate / Credit. Once you finish an offering, you’ll want to claim your certificate and credit, which can be done via the offering’s catalog page itself, as you can see above. Note that, in some cases, you’ll need to complete an assessment to unlock your certificate.
Manoel Cortes Mendez Profile Image

Manoel Cortes Mendez

Software engineer and online graduate student in computer science passionate about education, technology, and their intersection.

Comments 1

  1. Nay

    I’m Nay.
    I was completed in the course of Standford’s Introduction to food and helt, but I don’t know how to get my certificate.
    I think if I was finished or completed in this course, I will get certificate! So, can you tell me how to do to get certificate. Thank you so much!


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