The Master of Science (MS) in Clinical Research Degree Program at McGovern Medical School is a focused, flexible, and affordable program that trains clinical investigators to design and conduct exemplary quality patient-oriented research.
The MS in Clinical Research is a 36-credit degree program. The curriculum is designed to accommodate clinicians’ busy schedules, with courses offered on Wednesday afternoons. The degree requires a minimum of 3 years for most students with clinical obligations; the time required for degree completion depends on the amount of time and effort a student devotes to the program. Detailed information about policies for McGovern Medical School and the MS Degree Program can be found in the Medical School Catalog (see page 33) and Catalog Addendum.
The MS Degree Program builds on the Clinical Research Curriculum, a 2-year series of courses composed of a weekly 1.5 hour lectures offered on Wednesday evenings. Successful completion of the Clinical Research Curriculum will yield up to 12 credit hours toward the MS degree credit hour requirements.
Coursework for MS Degree
The curriculum for the MS Degree Program consists of two tracks — a Patient-Based Clinical Research Track and a Translational Research Track. In either track, the specific Advanced Courses chosen by an individual student will depend on his/her previous training and course work and on career goals. All students are expected to take the Advanced Biostatistics course unless they can demonstrate comparable competency in this area. Most students in the Patient-Based Clinical Research Track will take Advanced Courses in study design, whereas most students in the Translational Research Track will take Advanced Courses in molecular biology and/or genetics.
In addition to the formal coursework offered through the Clinical Research Curriculum and the Advanced Courses, MS students are required to complete three practica and a thesis, which is ultimately orally defended. See detailed curriculum for MS Program.
Each MS student will be assigned a Program mentor who provides methodological expertise and guidance in meeting MS program requirements. In addition, the student must identify a departmental mentor from his/her own medical department or institution to provide content expertise in the student’s specific area of clinical research. An ideal departmental mentor should be an active clinical investigator with independent funding, who is well-known and well-respected in their field. He or she will play a key role in the completion of the practica and thesis components, especially study design and analysis. He or she should be committed to the student’s participation in the Degree Program. In addition, a departmental mentor should have the time and willingness to help the student define his or her research goals and give feedback on thesis and practica components in a constructive and timely manner.
The faculty in the Center for Clinical Research and Evidence-Based Medicine supervise the MS Degree Program, serve as Program mentors, and teach the classes. All are full-time faculty at McGovern Medical School and/or the School of Public Health. The Center faculty are actively involved in clinical research and bring to the Program a broad range of expertise, including biostatistics, clinical trials, epidemiology, ethics, and health care economics. This structure allows for a wide diversity of training and skills among the faculty and acknowledges the importance of ongoing participation in research and clinical activities for career development of Center faculty.
The Program is expected to appeal primarily to MDs who hold a current full-time faculty or fellowship appointment. Applicants should have a commitment to pursue a career as an independent clinical investigator. The rapid pace of the curriculum assumes a working knowledge of clinical medicine and an excellent scholastic aptitude. Medical graduates without postgraduate clinical training, clinical research coordinators, and other study personnel are strongly encouraged to participate instead in the Clinical Research Curriculum, which will help build a strong fund of knowledge in clinical research principles.
Applications for the MS Degree Program are accepted from March 15 until June 15. Only complete applications will be reviewed. Applications may also be made for non-degree status (deadline October 15). See detailed admission requirements and process.
Costs for Advanced Coursework in the MS Program will follow the Tuition and Fees Schedule for the UT System and are subject to change. The total cost of the program will depend on the number of courses taken and the duration of enrollment. At current rates, the total cost of the program is estimated to be $3500-4500 for students who qualify for Texas residency status and $12,500-16,000 for non-residents. Texas residency status is determined by the Registrars Office for individual students using criteria established by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
For more information regarding the program, please email Deborah Garcia, MS Program Coordinator or call our office at (713) 500-6708.