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 Biostat 212

Introduction to Statistical Computing
in Clinical Research
BIOSTAT 212 Summer 2014 (1 unit)

Application Deadline: July 14, 2014


Performing clinical research in the current era requires the use of computers and a high level of competency in the use of database, spreadsheet, and statistical software programs. This course is designed to introduce you to these programs, prepare you for subsequent courses in the clinical research curriculum, and, in particular, teach you the skills you will need to start exploring your own clinical research data using statistical software.

The specific objectives are to provide students with an introduction to:

  • The roles of spreadsheet, relational database and statistical software packages, such as STATA, in analyzing clinical research data;
  • Using STATA for importing, cleaning, managing, describing and analyzing clinical research data;
  • Applying concepts from other TICR Program courses using STATA and Excel; and
  • Applying these skills to analyzing data from your own research project.




Course Director: Mark J. Pletcher, MD, MPH
Phone: 415-514-8008
email: mpletcher@epi.ucsf.edu
Assistant Course Director: Wayne Enanoria, PhD, MPH
Phone: 415-476-3099
email: wayne.enanoria@ucsf.edu
Teaching Assistants: Chloe Atreya, MD
email: chloe.atreya@ucsf.edu

Tiffany Chang, MD
email: changt@peds.ucsf.edu

  Maria Chao, DrPH, MPA
email: chaom@ocim.ucsf.edu
  Jessica Cruz, BS
email: jessica.cruz@ucsf.edu
  Dawn Gano, MD
email: dawn.gano@ucsf.edu
  Michael Peters, MD
email: michael.peters@ucsf.edu
  Kieuhoa Vo, MD


Both an in-person and online version of the course are offered. The online version will feature the exact materials as the in-person version, with content being delivered through online recordings of the weekly lectures as well as online web conferencing for online computer lab/office hours sessions. The online version also features the same access to course faculty for discussion and questions as the in-person version.

  1. Lectures: Tuesdays: 1:15 to 2:45 PM. Lectures will take place in China Basin 6702 and will be simulcast to 6704. Lecture recordings will be available online later in the day. To determine if you have sufficient bandwidth to view online lectures, please visit our demonstration site. All students are invited to in-person lectures, and all students will have access to online lecture recordings.

  2. In-Person Computer Labs: Tuesdays: 3:00 to 4:00 PM. Computer Labs will be held in China Basin 6702/6704. The purpose of the computer labs is for students to have access to course faculty for questions as they work through the weekly course material.

  3. Online Computer Labs and Office Hours: Fridays: 8:00 to 9:00 AM Pacific Time (in the U.S). These sessions will be staffed by Assistant Course Director Wayne Enanoria. These are intended for students who are not located in the San Francisco Bay Area or cannot attend Computer Lab Sessions in person.

  4. Online Discussion Forum. This resource will be available to all students. Once class starts, we request that you pose all questions for TA’s and course faculty between sessions through the Forum so that other students can see the answers (and may respond or search the Forum themselves). The Forum can be accessed through the course syllabus.

More detail about online instruction in the TICR Program is available.



STATA 13 (or prior version)

The statistical software package Stata (Stata Corporation, College Station, Texas) is used throughout the TICR Program and is required for this course. We strongly recommend that you purchase a personal copy of this program and bring a laptop to all lab sessions. You can also get access to STATA in the Technology Commons computer lab on the 2nd floor of the library at Parnassus (using your mail@UCSF, UCare, or your staff computer credential). The lab sessions will be much less useful, however, if you cannot actually work on the assignments during the lab, so make every effort to bring your laptop with Stata loaded.

Microsoft Excel
Widely available, including on all UCSF library computers and China Basin terminals.

Some students find it is helpful to have an additional reference resource. These books are not required but might be useful.

A Visual Guide to Stata Graphics by Michael N Mitchell. Stata Press, 2012. Useful reference for creating figures.

An Introduction to Stata for Health Researchers by Svend Juul & Morten Frydenberg. Stata Press, 2010. Nice overview and instruction on many basic topics.

Principles of Biostatistics by Pagano & Gauvreau. Second edition. Duxbury Press, 2000.

Books may be purchased either through the publisher or a variety of commercial venues (e.g., Amazon.com).


Grades will be based on the Computer Lab assignments and the Final Project. Lab assignments will be due by the start of lecture the following week. The Final Project, a Table and Figure created from your own data, will count for about half of the total points possible for the course.

Students must hand in all six labs (even if late), must complete a satisfactory Final Project, and must receive at least 80% of the total number of points assigned during the quarter to receive a Satisfactory (if taking Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory) or B (if taking for a letter grade) in the course.

Students who satisfactorily pass all course requirements will receive a Certificate of Course Completion.



For scholars applying for the online version: Scholarships may be available, upon justification, to scholars residing in countries with low income or lower middle income economies as defined by the World Bank. If you believe you are eligible for a scholarship, please send a justification of less than one page to Olivia DeLeon at olivia@epi.ucsf.edu. In the justification, include the country in which you reside, your current income, and your access, if any, to educational funds from local institutions. Please also send your curriculum vitae (CV). Note that the scholarship does not include cost of textbooks, any software, or any local costs associated with accessing a high-speed internet connection.