Advanced Training in Clinical Research

Please note:  We are planning for 2022-2023 academic year course and program offerings to be based in-person in our facilities at the Mission Bay campus at UCSF.

The Advanced Training in Clinical Research (ATCR) Certificate Program is intended for scholars who desire rigorous training in the methods and conduct of clinical research, which is defined broadly as any research where individual human beings or groups of human beings are the unit of observation. The program focuses on epidemiologic and biostatistical methods, applied in observational or experimental study designs. Clinical researchers spend their time working with human research participants, data from participants or other human populations and computers. 

Through required coursework, trainees learn the methods required to perform both observational and experimental clinical research, preparing them to plan and implement one or more research projects and to analyze, interpret and present their clinical research data. Mentoring is an essential element of the program. Faculty in the Training in Clinical Research (TICR) program provide methodologic guidance, and students meet regularly with a research mentor in their chosen subject area who reviews their progress and provides scholarly guidance. 

The ATCR Certificate Program can be taken either as a stand-alone educational program or as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree program, such as the UCSF master's degree in clinical research or PhD in epidemiology and translational science. ATCR graduates are poised to work in a variety of research settings, including universities, public health departments, foundations and private industry. (Note: The program does not provide instruction in laboratory investigation and is not intended for scholars who envision themselves working primarily in a wet laboratory.)

The program begins in August and runs over four academic quarters (10 calendar months).


To complete the program, scholars must accomplish program objectives, which are to:

  1. Learn the methods required to perform both observational and experimental clinical research;
  2. Plan and implement one or more clinical research projects; and
  3. Analyze, interpret, and present clinical research data.


Admissions Criteria

The following qualifications are required:

  • An undergraduate degree from an accredited institution with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (equal to a letter grade of B). 
    • Preference will be given to applicants who have demonstrated knowledge or experience in some aspect of a health-related field (e.g., clinical practice, public health, health promotion) by virtue of a graduate or professional degree (MD, DDS, PharmD, PhD or international equivalent), being currently enrolled in such a program or relevant work experience. Although not required, this prior knowledge or experience is preferred because program scholars will be required to perform original research in an area of their choosing to fulfill graduation requirements. Prior substantive knowledge or experience in a health-related field can be very helpful in identifying a research area of interest and in maintaining motivation for the work.
  • An established relationship with a research mentor at UCSF, a faculty member in the School of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy or Dentistry. Scholars already at UCSF should have this established by the time of application. Those who are applying from outside UCSF should have secured a mentor by the beginning of the program. Applicants applying from outside UCSF are encouraged to identify and contact UCSF research mentors on their own or, after acceptance into the program, may request assistance from the TICR program to help them identify a research mentor.
  • For scholars who are primarily based in other training programs at UCSF, supervisor's assurance that at least 70 percent of time will be available August through May to divide between the classroom activities of this program and the conduct of the trainee's clinical research projects.
  • Affirmation of the Professional Conduct Statement (signed during orientation)

How to Apply

Applications are accepted beginning Jan. 1, and the deadline to apply is June 15, 2022. The following are required:

Traditional Program Credit-bearing Program
TBA UCSF Graduate Division application

Email completed applications, letters of support and transcripts to TICR Admissions. If application, references or transcripts cannot be emailed, please mail application materials to:

Training in Clinical Research (TICR) Program 
University of California, San Francisco
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics 
Mission Hall (UCSF Box 0560)
550 16th Street, 2nd floor
San Francisco, CA 94143 
(For FedEx only, use 94158)

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, and applicants are notified of admission decisions within six weeks of our receipt of complete applications. All application materials, including letters of recommendation and transcripts, must be received for the application to considered complete. If any portion of the application is missing by the final due date, the application will be considered incomplete and will not be further considered without petition, explanation and payment of a $150 late fee. Additional late fees may apply for exceptionally late transactions.

Early application is particularly encouraged for applicants originating outside of the San Francisco Bay Area who may require finding housing or visas.

Questions? Contact Clair Dunne, Program Coordinator.

International Applicants

The ATCR Program welcomes applications from international scholars who meet the prerequisites, but the program does not directly provide any financial aid.

Applicants to the Credit-bearing ATCR Certificate Program: International applicants from non-English-speaking countries must demonstrate proficiency in English by completing one year of study with a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 at an accredited college or university in the United States, or by obtaining the following minimum scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the IELTS - International English Language Testing System (code 4840):  

  • Paper-based TOEFL – 550
  • Computer based TOEFL – 213
  • Internet-based TOEFL (iBT) – 80
  • IELTS – 7

All transcripts from outside the United States and Canada must be accompanied by an evaluations from an accredited evaluation service. We recommend World Education Services (WES). This must be included with the application.

Once an international applicant has been accepted into the program, the scholar should work with UCSF's International Students and Scholars Office to obtain the appropriate visa. Note that the program begins on July 18, 2022, so travel arrangements should be made to arrive in San Francisco by July 17, 2022.


The ATCR Certificate Program requires enrollment for a minimum of four quarters (summer, fall, winter, spring). Students enrolled in the traditional ATCR program who require additional time will be charged on a per-course basis; those in the credit-bearing program will be charged on a per-quarter basis.

Fees for the 2022-2023 academic year are TBD: 

  Traditional Program Credit-bearing Program
Fees** $25,468 $31,632
Possible offset* $4,645 $4,645

Fees are subject to change without notice and do not include books, supplies or software.

* Selected applicants will be eligible for a fee offset through a Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics Scholarship. Applicants who meet the following requirements will be eligible for the offset:

  1. Demonstrated excellence in the performance of academic work, based on prior transcripts, publications and letters of recommendation. This criterion will be evaluated by the Master's Degree Program Admissions Committee; and
  2. Concurrent enrollment in a UCSF/UC Berkeley–sponsored residency or postdoctoral fellowship program that is recognized by the UCSF Office of Graduate Medical Education; or being a registered student in one of the professional schools or graduate programs at UCSF/UC Berkeley (in a program other than the TICR Program); or holding a full-time salaried UCSF/UC Berkeley faculty, academic or staff position. Individuals will be asked to provide proof of UCSF/UC Berkeley status.

** The fees for 2022-23 are still subject to change pending confirmation from the University of California, Office of the President; the fees may increase.

Financial Assistance

Students enrolled in the Credit-Bearing ATCR Certificate Program may be eligible for financial assistance. Prospective students should contact the UCSF Graduate Division financial support office.