Master's Degree 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.

Apply to this program by March 25, 2023.

The Master in Advanced Studies (MAS) degree program in Clinical & Epidemiological Research is a two-year course of study intended for graduate and professional students, clinical residents, post-doctoral fellows and faculty members who wish to master clinical research methods and pursue independent research careers. Clinical research is broadly defined as health-related research where people, as individuals or in groups, are the objects of observation. It includes patient-oriented, translational, epidemiologic, comparative effectiveness, behavioral, outcomes or health services research.

Coursework for the MAS program extends beyond the requirements for the Advanced Training in Clinical Research (ATCR) Certificate Program to include instruction in advanced epidemiologic and biostatistical methods and specialized topics such as causal inference, prediction science, molecular methods in clinical research, and decision and cost-effectiveness analysis. Students also conduct and publish original research with faculty support.



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

  1. Acquire a mastery of a broad set of clinical research methods;
  2. Plan and implement one or more clinical research projects;
  3. Present research findings at a national or international meeting;
  4. Write a comprehensive literature critique and publish one or more first-authored peer-reviewed original research papers; and
  5. Obtain experience in the instruction of clinical research methods.


The MAS program currently has two optional tracks of specialized instruction in which scholars can elect to enroll. There is one track in Data Science in Clinical Research and one track in Implementation Science. Scholars in these tracks will be required to take the core set of courses in epidemiologic and biostatistical methods that underlie clinical research and will use their elective courses for focused instruction in their track’s specific objectives. Scholars may choose to join these tracks at any time during their residence in the program.

The MAS program trains individuals to become effective leaders of research efforts and teams. Program graduates are prepared to work in a variety of research settings, including universities, public health departments, foundations and private industry. (The program is not intended for scholars who envision themselves primarily working in a wet laboratory.)

The MAS program can be taken either as a stand-alone educational program or as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree such as the UCSF PhD Program in Epidemiology and Translational Sciences or to medical, dental, pharmacy or nursing school.

Medical students interested in receiving rigorous training in the methods and conduct of clinical research can obtain a Master in Advanced Studies (MAS) degree in clinical research in addition to an MD degree in a 5-year combined MD/MAS program. MAS program coursework includes instruction in advanced epidemiologic and biostatistical methods with electives in specialized topics such as causal inference, prediction science, molecular methods in clinical research, implementation science, and decision and cost-effectiveness analysis. Students graduating from the program will be poised prepared for careers as leaders in clinical research and medicine.

Download the slides used in this video.

Contact: Alexis Beatty, MD, MAS, to learn more or visit MD/MAS in Clinical Research.