Curriculum

The master’s degree program is designed to be completed in two academic years. Most trainees are able to complete all requirements within seven academic quarters, although occasionally students take extra time to complete their original research.

Courses

Master’s degree students are required to complete 36 quarter units of courses. Trainees take the majority of their coursework in the first year, allowing for focus on independent research in the second year. 

A sample course schedule for the Implementation Science Track is available here.

Sample Course Schedule

Year 1
Summer Clinical Research Workshop Fall Winter Spring

EPI 202 — Designing Clinical Research (2)

EPI 201 — Responsible Conduct of Research (0.5)

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

EPI 218 — Data Management (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 — Clinica Trials (1.5)

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

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

EPI 222 — Social Determinants of Health and Health Disparities: What Every Researcher Should Know (2)

EPI 214 — Systematic Review/Meta_Analysis (1)

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

EPI 212 — Publishing and Presenting Clinical Research (1)

EPI 220/230 — TICR Program Seminar and Certificate Program Scholars (1)

Year 2
Fall Winter Spring

BIOSTAT 210 — Biostatistical Methods for Clinical Research IV (2)

EPI 221 — Master's Seminar II (1)

EPI 221 — Master's Seminar II (1)

EPI 207 — Molecular and Genetic Epidemiology (2)

EPI 213 — Decision and Cost Effectiveness Analysis (2)

EPI 221 — Master's Seminar II (1)

EPI 245 — Translating Evidence into Practice (2)

Policy Regarding Academic Credit for Courses Taken in the Past

Scholars who have taken and successfully passed TICR Program courses prior to enrolling in the master's degree program will not receive academic credit for these courses. According to the policies of the UCSF Graduate Division, courses taken while a student has not matriculated in a certificate or degree program cannot be granted credit retrospectively. However, scholars will not be required to take such courses again provided they have not substantially changed in content. In general, any courses taken in summer quarter or completed in the past two academic years will not have to be repeated. Any other courses taken more than two years ago will require a discussion with program officials about whether they must be repeated. While these courses will not be required to be taken again, students will be required to make up these quarter units in order to earn a degree. Students should contact the Program Coordinator about courses taken. The Program Coordinator will confirm successful completion of the courses and provide the program's consent.

Other policies and procedures governing graduate study at UCSF may be found at the Graduate Division website.

Policy on Student Progress

Grading policy is determined by the UCSF Graduate Division. In particular, scholars should note that UCSF graduate students must maintain at least a 3.0 (B average) and that letter grades cannot be converted to "S/U" after the deadline for the respective quarter. It is the policy of the Training in Clinical Research (TICR) Program that one "C" grade or less (or one "U" grade) will trigger a discussion between the program director and the student about the expected level of performance in the program. Two or more grades of "C" or less (or two or more "U" grades) will trigger a formal review by the program and the chair of the scholars’ master’s committee. This formal review will develop an individualized remediation plan to address the deficiencies. A memorandum of understanding will be generated that clearly outlines specific steps and associated timeline that the scholar must fulfill in order to return to satisfactory performance. The memorandum will be signed by the following parties: the scholar, the master’s committee chair, and the program director. Should a scholar be unable to fulfill the expectations according to the timeline outlined in the memorandum, the student will be subject to dismissal from the program.

Clinical Research Products

The following requirements follow the natural progression of a research project, from a review of the existing literature to publication. Each element of the required work is relevant to student’s research productivity and enhances his or her credibility as an emerging researcher. Before embarking on these products, scholars should have their concepts approved by each member of his or her master’s committee.

  • Comprehensive literature critique: Each master’s student composes a systematic review and critique of the literature pertinent to a specific research question (or set of related questions) in his or her research field, culminating in a five to 10-page report that demonstrates a mastery of the field’s literature. The fundamental objective of this requirement is for the scholar to demonstrate that he or she can evaluate a number of papers/reports regarding a particular substantive question (or set of related questions), provide high-level critique of the threats to validity in the individual papers and then come to a conclusion about the question(s) in hand. The report should be undertaken with an eye toward formal publication, but this is not required. Students are expected, although not required, to complete this requirement by the end of the first year.
  • First-authored oral or poster presentation at a national or international meeting: Students are required to submit a first-authored abstract to a nationally or internationally recognized scientific meeting/conference within the scholar's academic field and have that abstract accepted for either poster or oral presentation. It may be acceptable in selected cases, with pre-approval by the scholar's master’s committee [LINK to committee section below], to present work that was started prior to enrollment in the program. It is expected that the work represent a substantive contribution to the scholar's research field. 
  • Submission as first author of a peer-reviewed manuscript: Using data analyzed (but not necessarily collected) during residence in the master's program, students must prepare and submit a first-authored manuscript for publication in a peer-reviewed journal that is approved by the master’s committee [LINK to committee section below]. It may be acceptable in selected cases, upon approval of the scholar's committee, to submit work that was started prior to enrollment in the program. The manuscript may be a comprehensive extension of the work submitted in abstract form to a national meeting. It is expected that the work represent a substantive contribution to the scholar's research field. 

Instructional Experience in Clinical Research

Students are required to serve as instructional assistants (typically in their second year) for one or more courses in the TICR Program. This experience typically involves leading a weekly small-group discussion section of 10 to 15 students, holding office hours for students and grading homework assignments and projects. 

Master’s Committee

Each scholar will form a master's committee, which will consist of three faculty members:

  1. A representative from the scholar's academic field of interest (e.g., cardiology). This individual should be conducting primary research in the scholar's chosen field and will typically be a faculty member at UCSF. Upon approval from the TICR Master's Degree Program director, individuals from outside of UCSF (e.g., UC, Berkeley, Stanford University, or the biotechnology or pharmaceutical industry) may serve in this capacity. 
  2. An epidemiologist/clinical researcher faculty member (primary or secondary/affiliated appointment) from the UCSF Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.[10] If possible, a faculty member with working knowledge of the scholar's substantive interests should be chosen.
  3. A biostatistician faculty member (primary or secondary/affiliated appointment) from the UCSF Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.[11] This committee member will be assigned by the department according to the scholar’s substantive interests and methodologic needs.

The purpose of the master’s committee is both to provide mentorship and to evaluate the achievement of the requirements for graduation. With the exception of the biostatistician (who will be assigned by the program), scholars should select and submit committee members to the master's program director by the end of the winter quarter in the first year. Scholars are expected to meet with their committees at least quarterly to review progress and set future objectives.