Online Graduate Certificate Program in Clinical Research


Program Description

Clinical research is the fastest growing discipline in the burgeoning medical device and pharmaceutical industries. Keeping pace with the ever-increasing body of knowledge and new regulatory procedures generated by advances in clinical research is critical to career success.

The objective of the Nondegree program is to provide an in-depth understanding of the scientific fundamentals of human research.

The Curriculum provides an in-depth understanding of key, fundamental elements of clinical research, including:

  • Clinical trial design and conduct
  • Clinical research regulations
  • Good clinical practices of research
  • Critical evaluation of the medical, research literature

Who can benefit from this program?

– Clinical and health professionals of all varieties, including:

  • physicians, dentists
  • research nurses
  • study coordinators,
  • managers in clinical research and site management,
  • professionals in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device industries, as well as CRO and SMO organizations

Benefits of this program:

  • Earn a graduate certificate from Boston University’s School of Medicine, a leading research institution
  • Qualify to sit for the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP) Clinical Research Coordinator exam AND waive the two-year work requirement
  • Apply a portion of the credits earned toward a Master of Science in Clinical Research (MSCR) (Note: The MSCR program is comprised of campus-based courses and is not fully available in an online format.)
  • Complete a valuable professional credential in just 2-4 full semesters of study while increasing your skills and knowledge in clinical research.

The certificate program consists of four online courses that explore:

GMS CI 675 OL Designing Clinical Research Studies – Fall Semester, 4 credits

This course covers important scientific and epidemiologic principles necessary for designing clinical research studies. Topics include bias, confounding, developing the research question, defining an appropriate study population, choosing outcome measures, clinical research ethics, and regulation, and statistical analysis issues.

GMS CI 660 OL Good Clinical Practices – Fall Semester, 4 credits

Introduces regulatory responsibilities of sponsors, monitors, and investigators conducting clinical trials. Practical information and exercises are designed on GCP compliance from an industrial perspective. Topics include: selecting qualified investigators; obtaining ethical approval for patients and initiating sites successfully.

GMS CI 640 OL Regulatory and Compliance Issues – Spring Semester, 4 credits

Explains the regulatory requirements for healthcare products, that is, drugs, biologics, diagnostics, and devices. Intended for those interested in regulatory affairs or in the clinical evaluation, development, manufacture, testing and/or commercialization of these products. Provides an in-depth review of pertinent FDA regulations and guidelines and relationship to scientific and logistical activities involved in taking a product from research to market. Content and preparation of regulatory submissions, including an Investigation New Drug Application (IND), an Investigational Device Exemption (IDE), a New Drug Application (NDA), a Biologic License Application (BLA), a Pre-Market Approval Application (PMA), and a 510K Pre-Market Notification are described. International requirements for healthcare products are also reviewed.

GMS CI 789 OL Critical Evaluation of the Medical Literature – Spring Semester, 4 credits

Provides students experience in reading and critically evaluating current research published in the medical literature pertinent to the origination, design, implementation, and evaluation of clinical research.

**CI 675 OL is a prerequisite for this course.[4cr]

Online Certificate Tuition & Fees

For online programs, fees are as follows:

  • Cost/credit hour = $985/credit hour = $3940/course
  • Technology fee = $ 60/credit = $ 240/course
  • Student Services fee = $ 60
  • Total cost per course = $4240/course

Benefits of learning online


Boston University Online programs are filled with activities, animations, and simulations to ensure that students get the most out of their experience. Students participate actively in each course through a variety of means, including online discussions, quizzes, and assignments.


Versatility is a key feature of Boston University Online courses and programs. Online course materials are available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, from any location. Which means that students can learn where and when it works best—for them. Each student determines which hours are best for studying, attending lectures, and completing assignments. Though students must complete course requirements within an established time frame, the actual hours spent meeting those requirements are mostly at the convenience of each individual.

Last updated Jun 2018

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About the School

The Division of Graduate Medical Sciences (GMS) at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) is a recognized leader in research and graduate education in the biomedical sciences. Our more than 900 s ... Read More

The Division of Graduate Medical Sciences (GMS) at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) is a recognized leader in research and graduate education in the biomedical sciences. Our more than 900 students can choose from 33 fields of study, with interdisciplinary programs available in many areas. Read less