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MS-BATS Degree Program

Our Master of Science degree in Biomedical and Translational Science (MS-BATS) is an exciting clinical research training program offered by the School of Medicine at UC Irvine. It is a flexible interdisciplinary clinical research program aimed at junior faculty in clinical departments, fellows, residents, fourth-year medical students, physicians and others with a solid basic science foundation who are interested in developing the skills needed to conduct, interpret, evaluate and apply clinical research.  

This degree program is also appropriate for those with doctoral preparation in other academic disciplines who are interested in conducting clinical research. The recent growing interest in evidence-based medicine, comparative effectiveness research and the science of quality assessment and improvement, makes this MS-BATS program particularly timely.

The MS-BATS Program offers a 1-year accelerated program for those with proven clinical research experience.  Applicants interested in the accelerated program must receive prior approval from Dr. Sherrie Kaplan, Program Director.  Send your CV to Thuy Pham at to initiate this process.  UCI Medical Students interested in the accelerated program must be able to take the Summer Ethics course in the summer prior to Fall 2016.

Interested graduate students wishing to apply for the Fall 2016 entrance into the program will need to apply by either January 15, 2016 (for those wanting an admission decision prior to April 10th); or apply by March 18, 2016 (for those wanting an admission decision prior to June 1st).

The sections below offer additional information and resources about the MS program in Biomedical and Translational Science:

For questions regarding the MS-BATS degree program, application process and minimum requirements, contact Thuy Pham at or (949) 824-0095.

Instructions for Applying to the MS-BATS Program »

Applicants for Fall 2016 entry should apply online by either Jan. 15, 2016 (for those wanting an admission decision prior to April 10) or apply by March 18, 2016 (for those wanting an admission decision prior to June 1). When completing your online application for graduate admissions, you will be asked to complete a section regarding “Degree Program” information. Please follow the directions below to insure a successful application to the MS degree program in Biomedical and Translational Science:

Choose “School of Medicine” from the drop-down menu
Choose “Biomedical & Translational Science M.S. (MS-BATS)
Year and Quarter:
Type in “2016” and mark “Fall
Specific Area of Interest:
Type in Your specific research interest(s): e.g., Device Develop, Drug Develop, IT, Diagnostics, etc.

Sealed original transcripts should be mailed to the program office.  Referees wishing to mail paper letters of recommendation rather than submit online should also send these to the program office.

Program Office Address:
University of California, Irvine
MS-BATS Program, c/o Thuy Pham
100 Theory Building, Suite 110
Irvine, CA  92697-5800

Overview of MS-BATS »

The School of Medicine faculty has developed a comprehensive set of curriculum tracks in order to address the acute need for clinical researchers trained to meet the increasingly sophisticated demands of the clinical research environment we operate in today.

There is an acute recognition of the accelerating gap between the rapid expansion of biomedical discoveries and the implementation of those discoveries into clinical practice.  This gap is exacerbated by the current shortage of adequately trained physician-investigators who are needed if we are to keep pace with the current rapid expansion being experienced.  In the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) 'Roadmap', Dr. Elias Zerhouni articulated his vision to stimulate the application of "bench" research to the "bedside" care of patients to address this need.

He called for the transformation of biomedical training and mentoring to promote synergism between physician-investigators and those trained in basic science and other non-clinical disciplines (see EA Zerhouni, New Eng J Med 2005; 353: 1621-1623).  Dr. Francis Collins, the current director of the NIH, has underscored the importance of translational research, along with the development of comparative-effectiveness research, placing them among his top priorities for the NIH research agenda (see E Dolgin, Nature News 2009; 460:969).  Currently, less than 2% of active physicians pursue careers in research.

While the need on a national level continues to be articulated by numerous physician leaders, the faculty leadership at UC Irvine clearly sees the urgency to expand local training opportunities in clinical research; especially for our trainees in clinical residency and fellowship programs.  In addition, there are related shortages of qualified researchers that must be addressed across a broader range of the biomedical and translational science spectrum, from the study of disease on the molecular level and the conduct of clinical research on human subjects, to the synthesis of evidence-based medicine and the development of guidelines to improve clinical practice.

Initially, our MS degree program curriculum will focus on the conduct and interpretation of clinical research and the assessment and improvement of quality of healthcare.  The long-range expectation is to offer additional fields of emphasis, especially in molecular medicine and population health sciences.  Molecular medicine will focus on the molecular mechanisms and molecular physiology of human disease.  Population health sciences will focus on the application of epidemiologic research and research methods to clinical practice.  Eventually, the faculty expects that as the MS-BATS program expands, it will offer medical specialty and disease-focused elective concentrations corresponding to different medical specialties and sub-specialties throughout the School of Medicine.

The current curriculum design of our MS-BATS degree program is sufficiently flexible to encourage trainees from various departments to enhance their specific training through electives specific to the content focus of their departments or research interests.  While it is expected that research projects of our trainees will be related to the content focus of the trainee's department, a multi-disciplinary approach will be strongly encouraged by and reflected in the student's mentoring committee.