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Professional Certificate in Medical Writing

The demand for medical writing professionals is growing significantly.  So, too is the supply of individuals with advanced biomedical and life science degrees looking for careers outside academia.  The UCSD Extension program is designed to provide graduates with the foundational knowledge and skills needed to work as a medical writer in the commercial sector, government agencies and/or academia. The certificate program will equip scientists and others with a strong biomedical and/or life sciences background to write specifically for scientific audiences and build the foundational skills necessary as a proficient medical communicator.

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.

Key Program Highlights:

  • 100% on-line specialization for those with biomedical and/or life sciences backgrounds;
  • Gain baseline knowledge and skills  to obtain a position as a specilized medical writer
  • ​Four Capstone tracks:  Regulatory Writing, Journal Article and Publication Development, Scientific Grants, or Medical Education Materials (CME)

Program Benefits:

  • Gain practical hands-on training with leading Medical Writing and Editing industry practitioners;
  • Build a foundational knowledge of the role of medical writers and a variety of specific skills sets;
  • The demand for trained writers in healthcare is growing and medical writers’ salaries are more than double the rate of inflation and increase with professional certification;
  • Career offers flexibity and provides six-figure salaries for senior writers;
  • Many medical writers manage their own freelance businesses and it is a attractive well-paying alternative career path for recent PhDs who do not secure a faculty position;
  • Incorporation of new topics, medical concepts and industry best practices; 
  • Learn how to write scientific documents which are well- structured, and presented at right level for the target audience

Who should take the certificate?

Developing professionals currently working in the healthcare ecosystem who want to boost their current career or transition into a Medial Writing role.  Accepted applicants will have graduate degrees in biomedical or life sciences, such as biology, chemistry, pharmacy, nursing, nutrition, medicine or public health. Postdocs and those with PhDs are particularly competitive for medical writing positions in the commercial sector and academic settings.

Program Details:

  • Number of courses: 5 core courses and 8 units of electives
  • Total units: 23
  • Estimated cost: $4,300 +/-
  • Time to Complete: 12 months (Accelerated) or 18 months (Traditional Program Track)
  • Delivery: Fully online in remote asynchronous format                                                                
  • Course Expectations
    In order to receive your certificate, you must complete all of the required coursework with a B-/80% or higher.

Before You Enroll
Upon acceptance into the Medical Writing Certificate Program, you must complete the prerequisite courses listed below before enrolling in the first course Introduction to Medical Writing. If you would like to request a waiver of completion for these prerequisite courses, please send your transcripts, CV, and/or resume to Robert Houghtaling at


There will be a $95 fee upon acceptance into the program

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There will be a $95 fee upon
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Get Inspired

" I recently completed the UCSD Medical Writing program and I learned a lot from every course. Based on the new skills I acquired, I was able to transition from academia with confidence in my job search. I’m positive the knowledge and hands-on experience will assist me in my new role. "
-Tanvir Khan, Ph.D.

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