The post-baccalaureate Certificate in Clinical Research educates students in the conduct of clinical (human) research studies and trials. The focus of the curriculum is in the foundational knowledge necessary to understand basic clinical research and trial study design, statistics and data management; ethical principles to respect and protect the rights and welfare of individuals participating in clinical research; and select regulations and guidelines to guide activities related to new biopharmaceutical and medical device product development.

Students will develop the essential knowledge and understanding to organize, coordinate and administer clinical research studies and trials working with participants in a culturally aware manner; supporting and performing quality data collection; and applying ethical, regulatory and compliance requirements. Students who complete the certificate will be well-prepared to be effective and successful members of the clinical research workforce.

Note: This program is not eligible for the issuance of student immigration documents.

Student learning outcomes

  1. Students will demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of, and commitment to the protection of the human research participant rights, safety and welfare.
  2. Students will commit to practicing as a clinical research professional in an ethical and responsible manner in accordance with good clinical practice and applicable regulations and laws.
  3. Students will demonstrate skills and competencies pertaining to the conduct of clinical research utilizing cultural awareness, understanding study design and appropriate data collection methods.
  4. Students will demonstrate their commitment to engage in continuing education toward becoming increasingly proficient in their practice and to ensure that their practice-related knowledge and skills remain current.

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.

Apply online today.

Admission requirements
Degree:Semester(s) of entry:Deadline dates:Test requirements:
CertificateAnyRolling admissionNon-native English speakers see requirements outlined below.

The admission requirements outlined below apply to all students. All applicants to the post-baccalaureate Certificate in Clinical Research program are required to:

  • Submit a completed application and the application fee
  • Have earned an undergraduate degree — preferably in a life science, a health care discipline, a social/behavioral science or mathematics/statistics — from a U.S. regionally accredited university or college (or its equivalent from a foreign institution based upon a four-year program) with a minimum cumulative 2.5 GPA
  • Provide three letters of recommendation (at least one from a current or former employer)
  • Provide an official undergraduate transcript(s) from all schools attended
  • Provide documentation of a minimum of one year of health-related work experience
  • Submit a current resume or CV (including relevant work experience)
  • Submit a statement of purpose outlining their career goals (less than 500 words)
  • Have completed the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative program basic human subjects protection module and good clinical practice module (either social/behavioral clinical trials or biomedical clinical trials)

International students will submit an official transcript evaluation from a recognized foreign educational credentials evaluation service accredited by the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services or the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.

Non-native English speakers will provide evidence of proficiency in English by one of the following:

  • A test of English as a Foreign Language minimum composite score of 100 for the internet-based test or 600 for the paper-based score
  • An International English Language Testing System minimum score of 6.5 on the academic exam

Curriculum requirements

The curriculum requires 12 credits beyond the bachelor’s degree and will prepare graduates for employment within the clinical research ecosystem. Students will complete nine required credit hours focusing on federal clinical research regulations, basic principles of clinical trial design and data management, ethical conduct of research and multicultural communication skills, with an additional three elective credit hours from a set of predetermined courses. The curriculum focuses on educating students in the basic core competency domains for the conduct of clinical research as outlined by the Joint Task Force for Clinical Trial Competency, including scientific concepts and research design; ethical and participant safety considerations; investigational products development and regulation; clinical study operations (good clinical practice); study and site management; data management and informatics; and communication and teamwork.

Students are expected to obtain a minimum grade of B in all courses to demonstrate competency in the course areas at the level of a certificate program. Courses may be taken in any order and as offered during the course of study. No prerequisites are required other than those listed in the admission requirement section.  

Degree requirements

Required courses
BIOS 571Clinical Trials3
CCTR 520Fundamentals of Research Regulation2
OVPR 601Scientific Integrity1
WRLD 302Communicating Across Cultures3
Students must select course(s) from the following.3
Professional and Clinical Ethics
Team Science: Theories and Practice
Public Health Ethics
Health Care Organization and Leadership
Introduction to Social and Behavioral Health
Health Communication
Total Hours12

The minimum total of credit hours required for this certificate is 12.

Catherine R. Brown, CCRP
(804) 628-6511

Additional contact
Shirley L.T. Helm, CCRP
(804) 628-2942