Bio 2652: PEMRAP® I Course Details

PEMRAP students are actively involved in clinical research studies being performed by Washington University faculty in the St Louis Children’s Hospital (SLCH) Pediatric Emergency Department (ED). We participate in a wide variety of clinical research studies, with varying scope and scale. Some of these studies are single site studies – patients are only being enrolled in the SLCH ED – and some are multi-site – patients are being enrolled in hospitals across the United States. Some studies have no grant funding and PEMRAP students comprise the entire research enrollment team. Other studies are supported by multi-million dollar grants with support of a full research staff, and PEMRAP students will be collaborating with these research staff members.

PEMRAP student responsibilities vary depending on the study. Students will help screen patients for active studies, gather important patient information, and when possible, enroll eligible patients into studies. The number and type of studies vary from semester to semester but can lead to interaction with a wide range of patients, from infants to young adults, with a variety of different conditions.

PEMRAP students may also elect to participate in optional shadowing shifts in the ED. This time is independent of the time spent working to enroll in research studies. These shifts allow students to shadow a physician in the SLCH ED (either a resident, fellow, or attending) for a two-hour period in the ED. During this time students will get a first-hand look at how an ED functions, how patients present to the ED, how physicians talk with patients, how they decide what testing to do, and how this helps them determine possible causes of an illness. 

Class Sessions are held on Tuesday afternoons, 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm on the medical school campus. Subjects covered include an introduction to clinical research, study design, inclusion/exclusion criteria, data collection and enrollment techniques. In addition, faculty members with active research projects introduce the basic principles behind the clinical questions being asked. There is also a hands on simulation session where students will get to interact with airway equipment and go through emergency case simulations with high fidelity manikins. Finally, students prepare a brief presentation on a clinical topic relevant to pediatric medicine (e.g. jaundice, asthma or meningitis) for presentation to the class at the end of the semester.

This class provides an unparalleled opportunity to work within a busy pediatric emergency department. Your role as a student and research associate places you on the front lines of clinical research and can give you an inside look into how advances in medicine are made. Step-by-step, patient-by-patient, you will gain experiences and learn skills that have the potential to shape your future career.

Note* PEMRAP/Bio 2652 is not offered in the summer.

Research Shifts:

New Students are required to perform:

  • Two, 2-hour shadow shifts with an experienced PEMRAP Research Assistant (RA), part of the PEMRAP II Class.
  • Two, 4-hour shifts each week in the SLCH Emergency Department.
  • A total of 84 shift hours in the Emergency Department are required to receive a PASS grade.
    Note* Physician shadowing shifts are optional and are not counted toward these shift hours (shadowing is suspended until further notice.)

Who Should Enroll in this Course:

Washington University undergraduate students, sophomore level and above, considering a career in medicine, healthcare in general, or clinical research. We are not able to accept students enrolled in the Post Baccalaureate Program at this time.  

Note* It is vital that students interested in participating in PEMRAP consider the time commitment required before starting the registration process.


3 credits (Pass/Fail)

Bio 2658: PEMRAP® II Course Details


A continuation of PEMRAP I (Bio 2652), returning RAs assist in training and mentoring incoming PEMRAP students, work approximately one 4-hour shift/week in the ED, and participate in the physician shadowing program as offered. Returning RAs are responsible for staying current with new study protocols by attending or viewing new study presentations for PEMRAP students.

There is no outside coursework and no exams.


  • Course Credit: 1-2 Pass/Fail
  • 45 shift hours = 1 credit
  • Students may repeat this course for a maximum of 6 credits


Each PEMRAP student is responsible for his or her own transportation to and from St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Washington University operates the Gold Line shuttle service from the Danforth/Hilltop Campus to the Medical School Campus. You may travel on the Gold Line free of charge with a student ID and a Metro pass. Metrolink also connects the Danforth/Hilltop Campus to the Medical School Campus. You may travel on the Metrolink with a Metro pass. Metro passes are available free of charge to all undergraduate Washington University students through Parking Services. They also may be ordered online at


Parking: Restrictions apply, but parking is available in designated garages for shifts after 5:30 PM Monday-Friday and anytime Saturday and Sunday. Please contact the Program Coordinator for details.