Javascript is currently not supported, or is disabled by this browser. Please enable Javascript for full functionality.

Skip to Main Content
University of Pittsburgh    
2018-2019 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Dec 02, 2023
2018-2019 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Clinical and Translational Science (PhD)

Return to Academic Programs Return to: Academic Programs

Clinical and translational science is the field of investigation focused on bridging the gaps between basic science, clinical research and interventions that improve the health of individuals. The Institute for Clinical Research Education (ICRE) at the University of Pittsburgh has designed the PhD Program in Clinical and Translational Science to help train investigators to re-engineer the ways in which basic scientific discoveries are translated to improve health and health care. This rigorous and advanced training program is intended primarily for clinicians, and it aims to substantially enhance the capabilities of scientists to conduct high-quality clinical and translational research.

The PhD program has several unique and important attributes:

•   It is highly multidisciplinary in that its faculty and students are expected to span not only departments but also schools of the health sciences.

•   It has a deep and diverse curriculum that draws on biostatistics, clinical research methods, and laboratory and population-based sciences.

•   It focuses on the conduct of clinical and translational research and requires the planning, execution, and completion of an independent research project.

Contact Information

Institute for Clinical Research Education 
200 Meyran Ave, Suite 300 
Pittsburgh, PA 15213 
Phone: 412-586-9632 
Fax: 412-586-9672 


Admissions Criteria

  • Candidates who are U.S. Citizens, non-citizen nationals, or lawfully admitted permanent residents of the U.S., or individuals who already hold a J-1, H1-B, or F1 transfer visa.
  • Candidates who possess a high level of interest and potential for the pursuit of innovative clinical and translational research as a major focus of career plan.
  • Candidates with long-term goals of entering a clinical research career.

Along with the candidate’s individual qualifications, preference will be given to the following:

  • Candidates with departments that provide the staff, research support, and facilities to create a high quality environment for the conduct of clinical research during and after the candidates complete their training.
  • Candidates with distinguished personal qualifications of past academic and research efforts, publications, and references.
  • Candidates with departments or program directors assuring that the candidates will be able to engage in 50-75% protected time for at least two years in order to participate in their program.
  • Candidates with an advanced clinical degree (MD, DMD, PharmD, etc.)

Financial Assistance

All students are responsible for their own tuition.

Degree Requirements

Credit Requirements

Advanced "Selective" Courses

Advanced “Selective” courses focus on advancing methodological or analytic tops that will be most useful to the student’s chosen area of research. At least 6 credits must be in advanced analytic methods (i.e. statistics or epidemiology) and at least 8 credits must be in research methods (i.e. clinical trial design, imaging methodology, or pharmacogenomics).

Research Specialization Courses

Research Specialization courses focus on making the student flexible in selecting training experiences in areas specific to their research area. Research Specialization courses should total 23 credits, and may either be directed research credits (maximum 12 credits) or coursework selected by the student and mentor.

A minimum “B” grade is mandatory for all required coursework and a minimum of a “B-” grade is required to receive credit for any elective courses. To remain in good academic standing, students must also maintain a 3.0 or better QPA.

Non-credit Requirements/Milestones

Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Requirement

Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Requirement: Clinical Research Degree Program students are required to attend 8, 1-hour Responsible Conduct in Research workshops. These workshops are offering through the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI).

Comprehensive Examination

PhD in CTS students are required to complete a Comprehensive exam. This exam consists of a written examination in the form of an NIH R01-style proposal (including, at a minimum, specific research aims, background and significance, and research methods) and an oral defense of the written portion.

Doctoral Prospectus and Dissertation

PhD in CTS students must complete both a Doctoral Prospectus and successfully complete and defend a Doctoral Dissertation.

  • Dissertation Prospectus Meeting-Individuals must prepare a dissertation proposal for presentation to a doctoral dissertation committee at a formal dissertation overview meeting. At this meeting, the dissertation committee members will provide guidance in shaping the conceptualization and methodology for the individual’s Doctoral Dissertation.
  • Doctoral Dissertation-The proposal, writing, and defense of a culminating research project. The written work must conform to the University of Pittsburgh style manual ( The Final Oral Defense is a public defense of the Doctoral Dissertation. The entirety of the dissertation committee must be in attendance at the Final Oral Defense.


More information:

Please view the PhD in CTS Program Handbook for complete program details.

Return to Academic Programs Return to: Academic Programs

Catalog Navigation