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University of Pittsburgh    
2020-2021 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  May 22, 2022
2020-2021 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Clinical Research (MS)

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This 30-credit Master of Science Program is for highly talented individuals from a broad range of disciplines who want concentrated training in the design and implementation of high-quality clinical research.

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

  • Applicants must meet the following requirements before filling out an online application.

  • Candidates are encouraged, but not required, to have completed a graduate or professional degree.
  • Candidates must have a high level of interest and potential for the pursuit of innovative clinical research as a major focus of their career plan.
  • Candidates from departments who ensure 50%-75% of protected time during their pursuit of the degree.
  • A minimum GPA of 3.2 on a 4.0 scale
  • TOEFL or IELTS test results (when applicable)


The Master of Science in Clinical Research Program accepts applications from December 15 through February 28 each year. In order to guarantee that you are considered for admission, we must receive your application and all component parts by February 28. Students will be notified via email of admission decisions approximately 1-2 months following the close of the application cycle.

Financial Assistance

The Institute for Clinical Research Education does not provide financial aid. Unless students have other funding sources, they are responsible for covering the tuition costs, taxes, and fees associated with their course enrollment.

Degree Requirements

Core Curriculum

The purpose of the core curriculum is to provide trainees with the basic set of skills that are required by clinical investigators in all fields of interest. These skills include an understanding of research design, epidemiologic methods, biostatistics, study and survey design, and measurement of outcomes.

The four core courses that comprise the core curriculum are offered in July and August. They are commonly taken together but can be distributed over two summer terms with the guidance of an academic advisor.





Advanced Grant Writing Course

This course focuses on research design and development and is a two-part course offered during the fall and spring terms. The Advanced Grant Writing course is taken by MS students during year 2.




Specialty Track Requirements: 

Students who enter the Master of Science in Clinical Research Program will select a curriculum track that offers specialized training in a specific clinical research area. Each specialty track offers a different curriculum of required courses, which can be viewed in the Program Handbook. The MS program has 5 specialty tracks:

  • Clinical Trials Research Track
  • Comparative Effectiveness Research Track
  • Health Services Research Track
  • Translational Research Track
  • Innovation Track

Each of these tracks has a distinct set of required courses that allow students to specialize in an area of clinical research. All MS students will also take a selection of elective courses to reach the 30 credit minimum required for this degree.


Comprehensive Competency Review:

The Comprehensive Competency review is a program check-in completed at the midpoint of a student’s degree progress. The MS in Clinical Research Program is designed to train students in the skills, knowledge, and professional norms for clinical researchers and the Comprehensive Competency Review helps students be confident that they are on track to develop competence in all key areas.

Thesis or Substantive Research Project:

The MS in Clinical Research requires each student to complete a formal thesis or substantive research project. Students are able to write a standard thesis, grant proposal, or 2 manuscripts to fulfill this requirement.

Students must successfully defend their research project to a review committee as required by the University’s Committee on Graduate Studies.

Responsible Conduct in Research (RCR) Requirement

Clinical Research Master of Science students are required to attend eight 1-hour CTSI Responsible Conduct in Research workshops or enroll in the ICRE course CLRES 2050: Ethics and Responsible Conduct of Research. At the time of graduation, students must have at least 8 hours of RCR training through CTSI or have successfully completed CLRES 2050 in order to be eligible to graduate.

More Information:

For additional program details, please visit the Master of Science in Clinical Research Program ( and review the Program Handbook (

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