Advanced Training in Clinical Research

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).


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 13, 2019. The following are required:

Traditional Program Credit-bearing Program
ATCR application UCSF Graduate Division application
  ATCR application

(If you are unable to access the ATCR application above, please download the PDF version. This can then be printed out and completed by typing where indicated.)

Email completed applications to TICR Admissions. A signed hard copy should also be sent 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 29, 2019, so travel arrangements should be made to arrive in San Francisco by July 28.