Introduction to Statistical Computing in Clinical Research

BIOSTAT 212 Summer 2019 (1 unit)
Course Director: Megha L. Mehrotra, MPH, PhD(c)
Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics


Performing clinical research in the current era requires the use of computers and a high level of competency in the use of database, spreadsheet, and statistical software programs. This course is designed to introduce you to these programs, prepare you for subsequent courses in the Training in Clinical Research (TICR) Program curriculum, and, in particular, teach you the skills you will need to start exploring your own clinical research data using statistical software.

The specific objectives are to provide students with an introduction to:

  • The roles of spreadsheet, relational database and statistical software packages, such as Stata, in analyzing clinical research data;
  • Using Stata, for importing, cleaning, managing, describing and analyzing clinical research data; and
  • Applying these skills to exploring and analyzing data from your own research project.


Course Director:

Megha Mehrotra, MPH, PhD(c)
Phone: TBA

Teaching Assistants: Christine Anastasiou, MD
  Foram Choksi, BDS
  Manasi Deshpandey
  Mitzi Hawkins, MD
  Elizabeth Lancaster, MD

Both an in-person and online version of the course are offered. The online version will feature the exact materials as the in-person version, with content being delivered through online recordings of the weekly lectures as well as online web conferencing for online computer lab/office hours sessions. The online version also features the same access to course faculty for discussion and questions as the in-person version.

  1. Lectures: Tuesdays: 1:15 to 2:45 PM, July 30 through September 10. Lecture recordings will be available online later in the day. To determine if you have sufficient bandwidth to view online lectures, please visit our demonstration site. All students are invited to in-person lectures, and all students will have access to online lecture recordings.
  2. Computer Labs: Tuesdays: 3:00 to 4:00 PM, July 30 through September 10. Computer Labs will be held in Mission Hall 1400. The purpose of the computer labs is for students to have access to course faculty for questions as they work through the weekly course material.
  3. Office Hours: Thursdays: 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM Pacific Time (in the U.S), August 1 through September 12. In-Person Office Hours will be held in Mission Hall 2800. For those students who are not located in the San Francisco Bay Area or who cannot attend in person, remote access instructions will be provided on the course CLE page.
  4. 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.

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 13 or higher is acceptable. A six-month student license for Stata/IC is the least expensive option that will be suitable to complete all course assignments, but Stata/SE is recommended for robust future use. We recommend that you have a personal copy of this program and bring it on a laptop for all course sessions. The TICR Program has arranged for a discount for UCSF-affiliated personnel via the Stata GradPlan program.

Microsoft Excel
Widely available, including on all UCSF library computers.

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, 2010. Nice overview and instruction on many basic topics.

Principles of Biostatistics by Pagano & Gauvreau. Second edition. Duxbury Press, 2000.

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. Lab assignments will be due by the start of lecture the following week. 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 (even if late), 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. Late assignments/finals will receive a maximum of half credit.

Students not in full-year TICR Programs who satisfactorily pass all course requirements will, upon request, receive a Certificate of Course Completion.

UCSF Graduate Division Policy on Disabilities


To apply for this course, please fill out and submit the application below. Please see our fee page for cost information. The deadline for application is July 15, 2019. Only one application needs to be completed for all courses desired during the quarter.

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APPLICATION Information for how to pay;
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