Introduction to Statistical Computing in Clinical Research (BIOSTAT 212)

Summer 2024 (1 unit)

All quantitative human subjects-based research requires statistical analysis, which refers to taking raw individual-level or group-level observations and forming meaningful summaries and inferences. While very small and narrowly focused studies might be able to perform statistical analysis using manual tallies or simple spreadsheets, most statistical analysis is performed with statistical software. This course provides a broad overview of how to operate statistical software and what it can do by introducing students to the commercial package Stata. The Stata software program is featured in the first-year curriculum of the Training in Clinical Research (TICR) Program, and thus this course allows students to rapidly learn the concepts taught in other TICR Program courses without the distraction of learning new software. While this course only provides instruction in how to operate Stata, the principles are applicable to many other software packages.

Please note that this is not a course in statistics per se. That is, the course will not teach what statistical techniques to use for various situations or how to interpret the meaning of various statistical tests. Moreover, because there are no prerequisites, it will not be assumed that students have any background in statistics. Instead, the course will provide the general framework for how to perform any statistical technique about which the student is already properly knowledgeable by providing instruction in how to set up data for an analysis, locate canned routines and how to implement them, and present and save findings. For example, this is not a course to learn what logistic regression is and how to implement it in Stata. Instead, it is a course in how to use Stata, and if one knows what logistic regression is (e.g., how to interpret regression coefficients and what model assumptions to check), then the course will provide instruction in how to use Stata to set up one’s data to perform logistic regression, find the Stata routine for logistic regression, run the routine, present the results, and save the results.

Online Syllabus


Each week, for seven weeks, curricular material is introduced with a lecture and accompanying reading. Weekly homework problems lead students through the application of this material. Weekly computer lab sessions give students the opportunity to practice, ask questions, and interact with course faculty.

Lectures: Tuesdays, 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM, July 16 through August 27, 2024
Lectures will be held via zoom and provide an overview of the curricular material for the week.  A recording of the lecture is available on the course's syllabus and can be viewed by students who are unable to attend in person.

Computer Labs: Thursdays, 10:45 AM to 12:15 PM, July 18 through August 29, 2024
The computer lab is held from 10:45 AM to 12:15 PM every Thursday at Mission Hall, beginning July 18. Students have access to course faculty for questions on software implementation as they work through the weekly material and assignments.

Office Hours: Mondays, 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM, July 22 to August 26, 2024.  Zoom session where students are welcome to ask questions about any aspect of the course.

Online Discussion Forum. This resource will be available to all students. Once class starts, we request that you pose your questions through the Forum so that other students can see the answers (and may respond or search the Forum themselves). The Forum can be accessed through the course syllabus.

All course materials and handouts will be posted on the course's online syllabus.


Required Software:

The statistical software package Stata (Stata Corporation, College Station, TX) is used throughout the TICR Program and is required for this course; version 18 or higher is acceptable. A six-month student license for Stata/BE is the least expensive option that will be suitable to complete all course assignments. For students intending to enroll in courses over 1-2 years, an annual or perpetual license are better long-term options. If your research requires working with more variables, you also may wish to consider Stata/SE. We recommend that you have a personal copy of Stata and bring it on a laptop for all course sessions. Stata may be purchased at a discount for UCSF faculty/staff and official UCSF Students. You must use your email address to receive the discount. If you do not purchase your own copy of Stata, UCSF faculty/staff/students may request access to Stata through the UCSF Research Analysis Environment.

Microsoft Excel

Some students find it is helpful to have an additional reference resource. These books are not required but might be useful.

A Visual Guide to Stata Graphics by Michael N Mitchell. Stata Press, 2012. Useful reference for creating figures.

An Introduction to Stata for Health Researchers by Svend Juul & Morten Frydenberg. Stata Press, 2014. Nice overview and instruction on many basic topics.

Principles of Biostatistics by Pagano & Gauvreau. Second edition. Duxbury Press, 2018.

Books may be purchased either through the publisher or a variety of commercial venues (e.g.,



Grades will be based on the Computer Lab assignments and the Final Project. The Final Project, which is a Table and Figure created from your own data, will count for about half of the total points possible for the course.

Students must hand in all five assignments, must complete a satisfactory Final Project, and must receive at least 80% of the total number of points assigned during the quarter to receive a Satisfactory (if taking Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory) or B (if taking for a letter grade) in the course.

Official UCSF transcripts are not available for individual courses taken within the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.  Students not in full-year TICR Programs who satisfactorily pass all course requirements will, upon request, receive a Certificate of Course Completion.

Only UCSF students (defined as individuals enrolled in UCSF degree or certificate programs) will receive academic credit for courses. Official transcripts are available to UCSF students only. A Certificate of Course Completion will be available upon request to individuals who are not UCSF students and satisfactorily pass all course requirements.

UCSF Graduate Division Policy on Disabilities

To Enroll

ATCR and MAS students use the Student Portal

Students taking individual courses:

Summer 2024 Course Fees
How to pay (please read before applying)
Summer 2024 Course Schedule

Apply by July 5, 2024 for summer quarter.
Only one application needs to be completed for all courses desired during the quarter.