Clinical Research Graduate Credit Certificate Program

Person-in-ChargeCheryl Thompson
Program CodeHYCLRS

In the current medical climate, there is a growing need for academic clinicians and health care professionals who are trained in clinical research. Unfortunately, there are few programs that offer the didactic preparation for the unique requirements of a clinical researcher.

The primary goal of this program is to provide a formal, structured program that will prepare certificate candidates to pursue a successful career in clinical research. The curriculum includes courses in biostatistics, epidemiology, clinical trials, decision and cost-effectiveness analysis, outcomes measurement, quality management, health care economics and policy, scientific communication, and SAS statistical analysis computing. The 12-credit program offers courses on weekday evenings, enabling the student to continue clinical or employment activities. Certificate candidates will be able to complete the 12-credit requirement in 2 semesters.

Effective Semester: Fall 2020
Expiration Semester: Fall 2025

Admission Requirements

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies. International applicants may be required to satisfy an English proficiency requirement; see GCAC-305 Admission Requirements for International Students for more information.

The successful applicant must have completed a medical, nursing, or baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution. Fellows and junior faculty members with current appointments at the Penn State College of Medicine, as well as nursing graduates and public health personnel, are target candidates for the certificate program.

Certificate Requirements

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in Graduate Council policy GCAC-212 Postbaccalaureate Credit Certificate Programs.

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in Graduate Council policy GCAC-212 Postbaccalaureate Credit Certificate Programs.

Required Courses
PHS 520Principles of Biostatistics3
PHS 550Principles of Epidemiology3
PHS 519Patient Centered Research3
Select 3 credits from the following:3
Research Ethics for Clinical Investigators
Scientific Communication
Applied Biostatistics
Biostatistical Computing for Public Health
Quality of Care Measurement
Health Survey Research Methods
Decision Analysis for Public Health
Advanced Epidemiological Methods
Health Economics and Economic Evaluation
Clinical Trials: Design and Analysis
Total Credits12


Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 699 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Statistical tests: Students will be able to understand basic statistical tests,and perform statistical inference.
  2. Statistical software: Students will be able to use statistical software to conduct basic data analysis.
  3. Measures of disease frequency: Students will be able to calculate and interpret measures of disease frequency and association in epidemiological studies.
  4. Analyzing epidemiological data: Students will be able to conduct appropriate statistical analyses of epidemiological data and interpret the results.


Campus Hershey Med Ctr
Graduate Program Head Cheryl Thompson
Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or Professor-in-Charge (PIC) Li Wang
Program Contact

Shannon Tuininga
90 Hope Drive
Public Health Sciences
Hershey PA 17033
(717) 531-0003 Ext. 281150

Program Website View