The demand for medical writing professionals is growing steadily in many industries. And, many biomedical and life sciences PhDs need and want careers outside of academia.
Given these two facts in combination with UC San Diego Extension’s relationships with and proximity to the biotech industry (the San Diego region has the world’s third largest biotech cluster with over 100,000 jobs and annual NIH funding exceeding $1 billion, per BIOCOM) the Medical Writing Certificate Program was born.
Under the guidance of an Advisory Board comprised of seasoned professionals, this program is designed to prepare biomedical or life sciences graduates to gain the baseline knowledge and skills needed to obtain a position as a medical writer writing in the commercial sector, government agencies and/or academia.
Scientific Medical Writing vs. Non-Scientific Medical Writing
The program is not designed for those intending to communicate scientific information to lay audiences, e.g., science journalism, marketing communications or patient communications. This program is designed to equip scientists and others with a strong biomedical and/or life sciences background to write for scientific audiences in peer-reviewed journals, regulatory documents, medical education materials and/or research grant proposals.
The program is designed for anybody aspiring to be medical writers and/or editors. Accepted applicants will:
Demand and Job Prospects
Program Cost, Duration & Expectations
Students can finish the 22-unit program in 18 months. The overall cost is approximately $4,000+/- (cost will vary based on electives taken). Students MUST earn a minimum passing grade of a B-/80% in every course of the Medical Writing Certificate Program.
|Course Title||Course Number||Units||FA||WI||SP||SU|
|Prerequisites (Must complete the following or equivalent within the past five years)|
|CT: Practical Clinical Statistics for the Non-Statistician||O||O||O||O|
|Required Courses (All 14 units required)|
|Introduction to Medical Writing & Editing||O||O|
|Medical Writing & Editing II||O||O|
|Advanced Medical Writing & Editing||O||O|
|Designing Figures, Tables, & Graphs||O||O|
|Ethics for Medical Writers||O||O|
|Electives (8 units required)|
|CT: Medical Writing: Protocols, Reports, Summaries, and Submissions||O||O|
|Good Documentation Practices||O|
|Overview of the Drug Development Process||O|
|CT: Drug Development Process||O||O||O||O|
|CT: Understanding Oncology||O||O||O||O|
|CT: Regulation of Drugs, Biologics, Devices, and Diagnostics||O||O||O||O|
|Grant Proposal Preparation for Research Administration|
|CT: Science of Clinical Trials Design||O||O||O||O|
|L=La Jolla M=Mission Valley O=Online U=University City X=Location TBA|
From the 'Apply Now' button, login to your student account, complete the online application, and pay the application fee if applicable. It is preferable that you create an account before proceeding if you have not already done so.
Candidates are encouraged to apply in the certificate program as early as possible to take advantage of program benefits. See Certificate FAQs for more information.
|Application Fee: $25||Apply Now!|
|Contact: Healthcare & Behavioral Sciences, 858-534-9268|
|Please note: Upon acceptance into the program, there will be a $60 certificate fee.|
Successful applicants must have relevant educational background, and native-level fluency in English with the demonstrated ability to write clear, logical, and grammatically correct sentences as evidenced by the application, official transcripts and writing samples. Accepted applicants will have degrees in biomedical or life sciences, such as biology, chemistry, pharmacy, nursing, nutrition, or public health. It is anticipated that many will have advanced degrees, including PhDs. Candidates with PhDs are particularly competitive for medical writing positions in the commercial sector and academic settings.
All students must either take the following two courses or have taken appropriate equivalents within the past five years, earning a grade of B- or better:
• Medical Terminology FPM-40172, 1 unit online
• Practical Clinical Statistics for the Non-Statistician FPM-40233, 2 units online
• Prerequisites can be waived for individuals whose work experience demonstrates foundational knowledge of these subjects. Applicants seeking this waiver must email their CV to firstname.lastname@example.org for determination in advance of their application.
Connect your classroom education with real-world experiences through a Next Step Experience course. These specially designed classes allow students to gain hands-on experience by working closely with instructors and/or peers on real-world projects.
In the Advanced Medical Writing & Editing course, students apply all previously learned concepts to produce a capstone project. This will demonstrate an understanding of the publishing process, including ethics and fair use copyright, and the usefulness of “Instructions to Authors.” Students will learn how to use primary and secondary trial registries (such as “clinicaltrials.gov,” and others), and how to locate sources of guidelines for publishing various kinds of trials, such as CONSORT and the EQUATOR Network.
Jennifer Arevalo, MA, FACHE
Executive Director, Marketing and Communications
Riverside University Health System
David C. Chang, PhD, MPH, MBA
Director of Outcomes Research
Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard University
Panorama MedWriters Group, Inc.
Lynne Friedmann, APR, Fellow PRSA
Diane Lattanzio, MPH
Freelance Medical Editor and Instructor of Medical Editing
Timothy Ken Mackey, MAS, PhD
UC San Diego School of Medicine
Ruth Patterson, PhD
Professor & Director of Cancer Prevention Program
UC San Diego School of Medicine, Moores Cancer Center
Rosenberg Business Communications
Donna Simcoe, MS, MBA, CMPP
Georgia Theofan, PhD
Clinical Development Consultant & Medical Writer
Freelance Medical Writer
Gabriele Weinhausen, PhD
Faculty Director, Teaching & Learning Commons
UC San Diego