Master's Degree Program in Clinical Research
The Master's Degree Program in Clinical Research is a two academic year course of study (19 calendar months; 7 academic quarters) intended for scholars who desire rigorous training in the methods and conduct of clinical research, which is defined broadly as any health-related research where individual human beings or groups of human beings are the unit of observation. Clinical research is synonymously known as patient-oriented, translational, epidemiologic, comparative effectiveness, behavioral, outcomes, or health services research; it is sometimes also broadly referred to as human subjects research. Regardless of the name, epidemiologic and biostatistical methods — applied in observational or experimental study designs — are the basic science underlying the performance of this form of research and hence are the academic focus of the program. Clinical researchers spend their time working with human research participants, data from participants or other human populations, and computers. Of note, the program does not provide instruction in laboratory investigation and indeed is not intended for scholars who envision themselves primarily working in a wet laboratory.
Coursework extends beyond that which is required for the ATCR Certificate Program to include instruction in advanced epidemiologic and biostatistical methods and specialized topics such as causal inference, prediction science, medical informatics, molecular methods in clinical research, and decision and cost-effectiveness analysis. A focused track in implementation science is also available for students pursuing careers in the translation of evidence into practice. In addition to coursework, requirements include a comprehensive review of the literature in the scholar's field, presentation of original work at a national or international scientific meeting, and publication of a peer-reviewed manuscript. To conduct their research, scholars will work closely with mentors in their research fields and preceptors chosen from TICR Program faculty. Program graduates are poised to work in a variety of research settings, including universities, public health departments, foundations, and private industry. Regardless of setting, the Masters' Degree Program strives to train individuals who will become leaders of research efforts and teams.
The Master's Degree Program can either be taken as a stand-alone terminal educational program or as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree such as the UCSF Ph.D. Program in Epidemiology and Translational Sciences or medical, dental, pharmacy, or nursing school.
To complete the program, scholars must satisfy program objectives, which are to:
Prospective applicants with questions about whether their background or research interests are suitable for the program are encouraged to contact the TICR Program's Research Ambassador, Dr. Michael Kohn.
The Master’s Degree Program currently has one optional track of specialized instruction in which scholars can elect to enroll and anticipates other tracks in the future. Scholars in this track 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.
Implementation Science Track
The IS Track is ideal for researchers who plan to pursue the development, implementation and/or evaluation of policies, practice-based interventions and/or community-based programs designed to: 1) improve uptake/safety/quality/access; 2) reach diverse populations; 3) reduce the overuse of diagnostic tests or treatments; or 4) provide preventative medicine or health promotion programs. Coursework in the track is guided by a conceptual framework that illustrates the different groups and organizations targeted by implementation research, and emphasizes the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration and community participation for the effective translation of evidence into practice. Master's Program scholars who elect the IS track typically begin coursework in the spring quarter of their first year and typically enroll in at least one IS course per quarter during the second year. In addition to course requirements, IS Track scholars receive career mentoring and specialized feedback on their research protocols. Scholars completing this track may list "Master of Advanced Study, Clinical Research with Specialization in Implementation Science" on their curriculum vitae.
The IS Track is co-sponsored by the UCSF Implementation Science Program and is directed by Dr. Margaret Handley and Dr. Adithya Cattamanchi. One distinction of IS research is its emphasis on multidisciplinary collaboration and teamwork. The IS track increases scholars' exposure to and contact with a broad spectrum of UCSF faculty conducting IS research — an important step in developing a research network that scholars can call upon throughout their careers.
The following serves as the Master’s Degree Program Policy on Student Progress. Each scholar will be asked to form a Master's Committee, which will consist of three faculty members:
The purpose of this 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. One committee member should be selected as the Chairperson, whose role is to arbitrate when there is significant disagreement among committee members or to advocate for the scholar if he/she is experiencing difficulties gaining access to other committee members or scheduling meetings of the committee. The Chairperson must hold either a primary or secondary/affiliated faculty appointment in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. It is expected that scholars will meet with their committees at least quarterly to review progress and set future objectives.
By the end of their first year, scholars will be required to complete the "Initial Committee Review" form indicating: 1) that they have had at least one meeting with all 3 members of their Master's Committee present and, 2) that the committee members and scholar agree that the scholar is making satisfactory progress toward meeting the program requirements (i.e., the comprehensive literature review, first-authored presentation and manuscript). The completed form should be sent to TICR_Coordinator@psg.ucsf.edu by June 30 of the first year in the program. Scholars must complete this form in order to be eligible to register for subsequent quarters.
At no less than 6 months prior to the date that scholars anticipate completing the last of their original research research products (i.e., the comprehensive literature review, first-authored presentation and manuscript), scholars are required to complete the "Pre-Graduation Review" form indicating that they have had at least one meeting with all 3 members of their Master's Committee present where the content and timeline were agreed upon regarding the completion of the three research products. For example, if the scholar plans to graduate at the end of the Spring quarter of the second year (the minimum length of stay in the program), then he/she will need to file for graduation by approximately June 5 and thus should complete the "Pre-Graduation Review" form by no later than December 5. The purpose of this "Pre-Graduation Review" meeting is to ensure that the Committee is well aware of the exact projects the scholars have chosen to fulfill their requirements. The completed form should be sent to TICR_Coordinator@psg.ucsf.edu.
At no less than 3 months prior to the date that scholars anticipate completing the last of their original research products (i.e., the comprehensive literature review, first-authored presentation and manuscript), scholars are also required to complete the "Final Graduation Review" form indicating that they have had at least one meeting with all 3 members of their Master's Committee present where a final plan and timeline were agreed upon regarding the content and completion of the three research products. For example, if the scholar plans to graduate at the end of the Spring quarter of the second year (the minimum length of stay in the program), then he/she will need to file for graduation by approximately June 5 and thus should complete the "Final Graduation Review" form by no later than March 6. The purpose of this "Final Graduation Review" meeting is to ensure that the Committee is well aware of and agrees with the final plans the scholar has made to fulfill the program's research product requirements. The objective is to avoid last minute submissions to Committee members, which defeat the purpose of obtaining the members' well-reasoned advice. It is, however, anticipated that the scholar will continue to meet with Committee members, either together or individually, after this required "Final Graduation Review" meeting for further mentoring and review of the scholar's work. When planning for final approval of products by Master's Committee members, scholars should expect that Committee members may require as long as three weeks to return comments to the scholar. Therefore, Committee members should be presented with drafts of the required products well before the scholars' anticipated graduation. The completed form and electronic files of all three required products should be sent to TICR_Coordinator@psg.ucsf.edu.
At all required Committee meetings (and any other meetings held with the full committee), the scholar should take the responsibility for setting the agenda for the meeting, including sending out the agenda and accompanying materials (e.g., drafts of products) by e-mail at least one week prior to the meeting.
At the end of the academic year, the UCSF Graduate Division invites all Master's Program scholars who anticipate graduating in the calendar year to participate in university-wide graduation ceremonies. Information about the ceremony is distributed in approximately March of each year.
To apply for the Master's program starting in Summer 2019, you should first complete the online UCSF Graduate Division application, and pay the nonrefundable processing fee.
In addition to the Graduate Division application, you need to next complete our separate detailed Master's Degree Program application. The Master's application is available in a ready-to-use Microsoft Word format. Make sure to save a copy of the file on your computer before attempting to use the file.
If you are not able to access the application in the Microsoft Word format, please download the .pdf version of the application by clicking on the pdf button below. This can then be printed out and completed by typing where indicated.
Scholars either currently in or graduated from the ATCR
Credit-bearing Certificate Program may submit updated versions of their
original applications to the ATCR Program. Note that such scholars must still provide
one new or updated letter of recommendation for the Master's Degree Program application.
Completed Master's applications in MS Word or .pdf format should be sent by email to TICR Admissions (TICR_Admissions@psg.ucsf.edu). A signed hard copy of the application should also be sent to:
For any questions, please contact Clair Dunne, Program Coordinator at TICR_Coordinator@psg.ucsf.edu.
International Applicants: The Master's in Clinical Research program welcomes applications from international scholars who meet the prerequisites, but the program does not directly provide any financial aid. International applicants from non-English speaking countries must also demonstrate proficiency in English by a) completing one year of study with a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 at an accredited college or university in the United States, or b) by obtaining the following minimum scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) — administered by Educational Testing Services (ETS): paper-based TOEFL – 550; computer based TOEFL – 213; internet-based TOEFL – 80; or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS): IELTS – 7. For TOEFL, please use recipient code 4840 in order to route to UCSF. All transcripts from institutions outside of the US and Canada need to be accompanied by an evaluation from an accredited evaluation service. We recommend World Education Services (WES) or Educational Credential Evaluators . This must be included with your application.
Once an international applicant has been accepted into the Master's program, the scholar is expected to work with UCSF's International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) 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, 2019.
Deadline: Applications are due by March 18, 2019 for admission in Summer 2019, but, beginning on January 1, all completed applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and applicants will be notified of the admission decision typically within 4 to 6 weeks of our receipt of the completed application. Early application is particularly encouraged for applicants originating outside of the San Francisco Bay Area who may require finding housing or travel visas. If any portion of the application is not received by the final due date, the application will be considered incomplete and will not be further considered without petition, explanation, and payment of $150 late fee. Additional late fees may apply for exceptionally late transactions.
Costs: The Master's Program is a minimum two-year course of study, requiring registration for seven quarters (Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring in the first year and Fall, Winter, Spring in the second year). Fees for 2019-20 are $28,088. Fees are subject to change in future years and do not include books, supplies, or software. Withdrawal after enrollment into the program will be subject to a $150 non-refundable fee. Selected applicants will be eligible to have their fees offset by a Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics Scholarship of up to $7,603 the first year. Based on the current fee structure, we anticipate that in the second year, selected applicants will have their fees offset by up to an additional $2,500 to compensate for teaching assistance required in the second year (for a total offset of up to $10,103, although this is subject to change). Students who require additional time in the program (more than 7 quarters) are charged on a per quarter basis. Those applicants who meet the following criteria will be eligible for the fee offset:
Financial Assistance: Prospective students in need of financial assistance should contact the financial support office of the UCSF Graduate Division.
Health Insurance: Please note the student service fee included as part of the tuition for the Master's Program DOES NOT include student health insurance. If you do not have health insurance coverage, you will need to arrange and pay for this yourself. As a graduate student at UCSF, you are eligible for coverage through the Scholars and Researchers Health Plan. Please contact Student Health and Counseling Services (SHCS).
Activities Outside the Classroom: Success in graduate school requires care and attention to all aspects of your life: health and wellness, community, career development, personal and professional relationships, and security and safety. UCSF is committed to providing a full range of resources and services to help you succeed.
Housing: Enrollment in the Master's Degree Program does give students access to UCSF student housing. UCSF housing is both conveniently located to our teaching facilities and less expensive than the private sector. Housing, however, is limited, and, therefore, interested students are encouraged to apply as soon as they are accepted into the program. Students may be eligiable for the cost of living supplement program to offset housing costs.
Late Payments: Please note that when you are accepted to the Master's Program, you will receive a payment form with a deadline for fee payment. If you miss this deadline, we reserve the right to charge you a late fee of $150. This is in addition to the fee that may be charged by the Office of Admission and Registrar.
Scholars are also strongly encouraged to own a wireless-capable laptop computer for use in computer labs in various courses and to take advantage of the wireless internet network at the TICR Program's facility at Mission Hall in the UCSF Mission Bay Campus.
The statistical software package Stata (Stata Corporation, College Station, Texas) is used in the program. The TICR Program has arranged for a sizeable discount for UCSF-affiliated personnel via the Stata GradPlan program.
Interviews: Selected applicants will be interviewed by the admissions committee or its designate.
Changing Degree Objective to ATCR Certificate: If you decide after enrolling in the program that you do not want to continue in the Master's degree program and instead wish to stop your training after the first year and earn the Advanced Training in Clinical Research Certificate, you will need to obtain the approval of the TICR Program Director, and officially change your degree objective with the Office of Admission and Registrar. You will then be charged the fee for the year-long Credit-bearing ATCR Program.