The master's degree in Clinical Research is a unique part time graduate program that develops the in-depth knowledge and skills necessary to perform valid, credible research. This innovative program was created in response to an increasing demand for well-qualified professionals able to perform patient-based research in academia, industry, research institutes, and health and regulatory agencies.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) degree?

This MAS is an accredited joint master’s degree conferred by UC San Diego. It is a self-funded, part-time or full time, professional degree designed to supplement the education and work experience of the students who enroll in the program. It is often referred to as a “terminal” degree and is designed to provide rigorous, graduate-level curriculum in a specific, timely area of study. For more information, refer to Prospective Students page.

What classes are required?

The degree consists of 40 quarter units, and classes are offered fall, winter, spring, and summer quarters. For more information, refer to Curriculum page.

How much does it cost?

The cost of the program is approximately $34,000, which includes all program instruction and administrative fees. Program fees do not include books for elective courses, software, parking, or incidentals. (Some books for core courses are currently covered by a program grant). For more information, refer to Financial page.

Do I need to take the GRE/GMAT?

No, the GRE/GMAT is not required for admission to the program.

I already have a post-graduate degree in a bio-medical field. Why would I need a master’s degree in clinical research?

The master’s degree in Clinical Research is a degree designed to supplement one’s training, education and experience. At present, formal training in clinical research methodology is limited and typically not a requirement of traditional graduate study for healthcare professionals. As a result, most academic scientists, as well as researchers increasingly found in a non-academic environment, lack sophistication in clinical research protocol and patient-oriented therapeutics. At the same time, developments in biotechnology continue to revolutionize the field of clinical research and the corresponding need for qualified, experienced clinical investigators increases. Currently over 50,000 principal investigators are needed for industry-sponsored drug development alone.

What is clinical research?

The definition of clinical research is very broad and typically encompasses clinical trials, outcomes, health delivery, and epidemiological and psychosocial research. A clinical researcher not only tests hypotheses but also addresses concerns for regulatory compliance, informed consent, and data management. A career in clinical research increasingly requires the high level of preparation, training, and commitment similar to a career in laboratory-based research.

What type of professional backgrounds do the students have?

The master’s degree program in Clinical Research prepares individuals to perform valid, credible patient-based research in academia, industry, research institutes, and health and regulatory agencies. Linking the academic and professional scientific communities, the program is most beneficial for: Clinical Research Associates working in private industry; Biomedical Scientists employed in biomedical firms, hospitals and pharmacies; Physicians; Pharmacists; Dentists; Nurses with advanced training, and Psychologists.


Do I have to be enrolled as an MAS student in order to take some of the courses?

Not ready to apply or want to sample some classes first? We have these classes open to the public through concurrent enrollment: CLRE-236 Translational Research Fundamentals; CLRE-237 Translational Regenerative Medicine; and CLRE-238 Applied Translational Research. If you take any of these courses, and are later accepted to the degree program, they may count towards degree requirements.

What is a typical class size?

Class sizes range from 20-30 students. The relatively small class size and seminar-style of most of the classes allows for close interaction among students and professors as well as provides many valuable networking opportunities.

I don’t have all the requirements for admission. Can I still qualify? Should I still apply?

Possibly, the admissions committee will review your entire application, including the depth of your professional experience, the strength of your recommendation letters, and your complete academic background. These factors are all taken into consideration in determining whether or not an applicant qualifies for admission to the program.

How do I apply to the program?

The MAS degree is a UC San Diego graduate degree handled through the Graduate Division. Formal application for admission to the program is required. Refer to the Admission Requirements and Application pages for more information.

I’m still not sure the program is right for me. Can I speak with a program advisor before applying to the program?

Certainly, just contact the department to set up an appointment.

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