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.



ATCR students are required to complete 16 courses (28.5 units).  In addition, scholars are encouraged to take one or more elective according to their interests.

Sample Course Schedule

Summer Clinical Research Workshop Fall Winter Spring

EPI 202 — Designing Clinical Research (2)

EPI 201 — Responsible Conduct of Research (0.5)

EPI 218 — Data Collection and  Management  for Clinical Research (1)

BIOSTAT 212 — Introduction to Statistical Computing in Clinical Research (1)


EPI 203 — Epidemiologic Methods (4)

EPI 204 — Clinical Epidemiology (3)*

BIOSTAT 200 — Biostatistical Methods for Clinical Research I (3)

EPI 220/230 — TICR Program Seminar for First-Year Master's and Certificate Program Scholars (1)

EPI 205 — Clinical Trials (2)

EPI 222 — Social Determinants of Health and Health Disparities: What Every Researcher Should Know (1)

BIOSTAT 208 — Biostatistical Methods for Clinical Research II (3)

EPI 220/230 — TICR Program Seminar for First-Year Master's and Certificate Program Scholars (1)


EPI 212 — Publishing and Presenting Clinical Research (1)

EPI 214 — Systematic Review/Meta-Analysis (1)

BIOSTAT 209 — Biostatistical Methods for Clinical Research III (3)

EPI 220/230 — TICR Program Seminar for First-Year Master's and Certificate Program Scholars (1)

*ATCR Certificate students may opt out of EPI 204.  Students who opt out of EPI 204 must take the equivalent of 3 units in another elective(s).

Research Products

In the ATCR Seminar, scholars will present their research-in-progress several times during the year.

In the Biostatistical Methods III (BIOSTAT 209) course in the spring quarter, scholars conduct a statistical analysis of their own data and give an oral presentation at the end of the term.

Professional Goals

The following activities are target accomplishments for all ATCR Program scholars during the year. Although the program does not formally monitor these activities, it provides encouragement and methodologic guidance to help students meet these objectives.

Interaction with Mentor and Career Development

  • Meet with mentor at least monthly to discuss research project specifics and career issues.
  • Begin a second research project (e.g., if one involves primary data collection, the other could be secondary data analysis, meta-analysis, decision analysis or cost-effectiveness analysis).
  • Begin to attend regional, national and international conferences in the chosen research area.
  • Develop a five-year career plan.

Written Products

  • Review of a manuscript submitted to a journal (serve as co-referee with mentor).
  • Letter to an editor on a topic involving the chosen research area.
  • Systematic review of the selected research topic.
  • Abstract for a poster or oral presentation at a national conference.
  • Application for a small grant (e.g., UCSF intramural).
  • Manuscript for a peer-reviewed journal, ideally as first author.

Promotion of Best Practices in Clinical Research

  • Serve as an agent in local research and teaching environments to introduce perspectives and techniques learned in the ATCR Program.



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 May 2, 2023. The following are required:

Credit-bearing Program
UCSF Graduate Division application

Upon completion of the Graduate Division Application, official transcripts from all institutions attended after high school should be submitted directly to the Program.  We do not accept transcripts submitted by the student.   The Program prefers official electronic transcripts (e-transcripts). Official e-transcripts can be sent directly to [email protected]. If only hardcopies are available,  official transcripts should be mailed 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: 

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

**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, and do not include health insurance, 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 University of California–sponsored residency or postdoctoral fellowship program that is recognized by the Office of Graduate Medical Education; or being a registered student in one of the professional schools or graduate programs at University of California (in a program other than the TICR Program); or holding a full-time salaried University of California faculty, academic or staff position. Individuals will be asked to provide proof of University of California status.

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.