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Rigor, Reproducibility and Responsibility in Scientific Practice Certificate Program


The Rigor, Reproducibility and Responsibility certificate program emphasizes research practice and applicable, introductory graduate level training in epistemology, logic, ethics, as well as quantitative and communication skills. The program specifically addresses the “3R” core norms of good scientific practice, applied across the health and science disciplines, which include fundamental and trans-disciplinary application skills in:
• Rigor, critical thinking and objectivity in scientific conduct
• Reproducibility through appropriate, quantitative research methodology
• Responsibility of scientists toward the research community and society

Participants will value the program's specific focus on the philosophical underpinnings that form the fundamental framework of how science works, thereby keeping a broad perspective in mind that allows them to understand the principles underlying good scientific practice research from the bench science to the public health disciplines

Educational Objectives

Upon completion of the certificate program, students will be able to:

  1. Analyze research strategies, techniques, and data in the light of the norms of good scientific practice.
  2. Formulate constructive critique of the research presented in the interdisciplinary primary literature.
  3. Explain the basics of hypothesis testing, data analysis and visualization in science.
  4. Apply fundamental logic and ethics considerations to observational and experimental approaches to study current problems in science and society.
  5. Differentiate how causality is established among the scientific disciplines.
  6. Appraise how limitations of causal inference can be mitigated in research and practice.
  7. Describe the sources of error in scientific practice as well as approaches for error reduction.
  8. Evaluate the impact of errors in discovery and innovation.
  9. Apply evidence-based strategies to craft clear and concise, written communications.
  10. Employ rhetoric and storytelling to strengthen the communication’s impact.
  11. Recognize the critical role of scientists in society.


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

Admissions Process

All applicants must review the General Certificate Guidelines page, which provides important information about how to apply to a certificate program.

Prior to completing their third certificate course, all students who are interested in completing the certificate program must contact both the Certificate Program Contact and Faculty Sponsor by email to indicate their intent to complete the program, and to discuss their proposed timing for completing the coursework and the certificate program capstone paper.  

Requirements for Successful Completion

The certificate program requires a minimum of 19 term credits: 18 didactic credits, as well as 1 credit for the capstone paper.  All required and elective courses must be taken for a letter grade, if a letter grade is an option. Students must earn a minimum letter grade of C in each certificate course, and maintain a GPA of 2.75 or higher for the certificate courses.  All courses must be completed within a three year period.

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

Course of Study

Students should check the course directory 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 pre-requisites 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 Courses- Students are required to complete 4 core courses (12 credits required)

260.700How do we know? Theory and Practice of Science313
260.701Anatomy of Scientific Error32,43
260.705Fundamentals of Quantitative Reasoning in the Biomedical and Health Sciences33-

Elective Courses (students must complete 6 or more credits from among the following courses)


Critical Dissection of the Scientific Literature




260.710Communications Practice for Health Science Professionals324
260.715Unleash your Writing Superpower32-
Required Capstone Paper (all students must complete the following required 1-credit course, during which time they will complete a certificate program capstone paper on a topic agreed upon with the program director)
260.840Molecular Microbiology and Immunology1-1,2,3,4, summer

Contact Information

Sponsoring Department: Molecular Microbiology and Immunology

Certificate Program Contact

Gail O'Connor:

Faculty Sponsor: Gundula Bosch