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Clinical Trials


Clinical Trials are a key tool in the evaluation of new strategies for prevention and treatment of disease. This certificate program focuses primarily on the design and analysis of randomized clinical trials for evaluation of licensed and non-licensed medical products and other health interventions, the regulatory framework for the conduct and evaluation of data from clinical trials, and ethical principles for the conduct of clinical trials. 

Educational Objectives

After completing the certificate, students will be able to:

  • Summarize the history of clinical trials and describe the role they play in evaluation of health interventions;
  • Explain the key differences, advantages and disadvantages of experimental versus observational study designs;
  • Develop a protocol, consent statement, monitoring plan and data collection plan for a clinical trial;
  • Review and critique manuscripts presenting the results of clinical trials using CONSORT guidelines; and 
  • Explain the key ethical principles regarding the design, conduct and analysis of clinical trials


The certificate program is open to graduate students currently enrolled in any division of the Johns Hopkins University, with the exception of MAS students, who are not eligible to apply until they have completed their primary degree program. It is open to individuals who are not enrolled in degree programs at JHU.

Admissions Process

Applicants should review the How to Apply page for information about eligibility and special instructions. The certificate program's review committee will review the applications and notify each applicant of their admissions decision.

Requirements for Successful Completion

The certificate requires at least 18 credit units that consist of core courses in clinical trials, epidemiology, and research ethics, as well as elective courses focusing on specific issues in the design, conduct and analysis of clinical trials. The required courses in clinical trials include introductory courses in epidemiology, clinical trials design and interpretation and clinical trials methodology. Students are also required to take at least 2 additional courses relating to clinical trials and 1 course in research ethics.

Each student will be required to develop a protocol and plan for obtaining consent, e.g., prototype statement, for a randomized clinical trial. The protocol will be 8 to 12 pages long and accompanied by consent statement(s) or other materials appropriate for obtaining consent for the proposed trial. Most students should be able to complete this requirement as part of class project, e.g., 340.648 or 340.861.  Alternatively, the student may sign up for 1 to 2 credits of independent study for this project with a mentor. The credits for an independent study to work on the protocol can be counted towards the 18 credits required for the certificate program.

Students are strongly encouraged to participate in the seminars, research in progress meetings, journal club and other activities sponsored by the Center for Clinical Trials.

All required and elective courses must be taken for a letter grade; a minimum grade of C is required in all certificate coursework and students must maintain a 2.75 or better overall GPA for all certificate coursework. The certificate program length is flexible; it varies from student to student, however, the program must be completed within three years. 

The student should review the section of the website that addresses completion before completing certificate program requirements. The student's transcript will not indicate that the certificate was earned until the Notification of Completion has been submitted, verified by the certificate program, and processed by the Registrar. 

Course of Study

Students should check the course catalog to confirm when the courses are offered. The term and time may change from what is listed in the table below and some courses are only offered every other year. Students should also check for prerequisites and whether instructor consent is required.  

Course No.

Course Title

No. Credits

Online Term

Campus Term


Introduction to Online Learning

All students are required to complete this free course before taking other online courses.






Academic and Research Ethics at JHSPH

All students are required to complete this free online course during their first term of study.





Core Clinical Trials Coursework: Students must complete three required courses: (340.601 or 340.721), 340.645, AND 340.694   
340.601Principles of Epidemiology OR5-SI
340.721Epidemiologic Inference in Public Health I5SI, S, 1,3-
Students must complete the following two courses


Introduction to Clinical Trials




340.694Power and Sample Size for the Design of Epidemiologic Studies13,SI-
Students must complete all courses in either Sequence A or B
Sequence A
340.861Clinical Trials: Procedures, Design, and Interpretation of Results33-
Sequence B
340.633Data Management in Clinical Trials3-3
340.648Clinical Trials Management 3-4
Students must complete one of the following Ethics courses
390.673Ethical and Regulatory Issues in Clinical Research321
550.600Living Science Ethics Responsible Conduct of Research114
700.621Ethics in Clinical Practice: Fundamental Problems and Approaches32-
Students must complete 2 other Clinical Trials courses 
140.611Statistical Reasoning in Public Health I311,SI


Biostatistics in Medical Product Regulation




140.642Design of Clinical Experiments3-3
223.662Vaccine Development and Application4-2
223.664Design and Conduct of Community Trials4-3
223.672Data Management Methods in Health Research Studies 51,4-
223.690Design and Analysis of Cluster Randomized Trials2-4
223.705Good Clinical Practice: A Vaccine Trials Perspective44-
340.606Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis6-3
340.616Epidemiology of Aging 31**SI
340.660Practical Skills in Conducting Research in Clinical Epidemiology and Investigation3-1
340.676Bayesian Adaptive Trials2-SI
340.682Pharmacological Methods32-
340.686Introduction to Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis2-SI
340.840Independent Study in Clinical Trials- Students interested in pursuing this option should contact a faculty member before registering var-1,2,3,4
390.631Principles of Drug Development2-1
390.750Introduction to Clinical Research2-SI
One of the following courses, but not both, may be counted towards the certificate program
410.649Introduction to Regulatory Affairs*  -
410.676Food and Drug Law* - 

SI=Course is offered in the Summer Institute in Baltimore

*Course is offered by the Johns Hopkins Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, Advanced Academic Programs. Please visit their website for information about timing and registration

** Course is offered every other year

Sponsoring Department


Contact Information

Certificate Program Contact
Sheila Small


Faculty Sponsor
Name Janet Holbrook


In accordance with US Department of Education regulations, the JHU Bloomberg School of Public Health is required to disclose graduation rate data, median loan debt data, and other select information for all Title IV eligible gainful employment programs. To see the most recent data available for this gainful employment program, please view the attached disclosure.