Apr 19, 2021  
2020-2021 University Catalog 
    
2020-2021 University Catalog

Clinical Research (MS)


Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: The Graduate College

Clinical Research (MS): Program Overview


The Master of Science in Clinical Research (MSCR) is a rigorous program that meets the needs of health professionals engaged in the full spectrum of patient-oriented research. This flexible and personalized degree program is designed for a variety of students including: those who seek to understand, and/or conduct, supervise, co-ordinate varied aspects of clinical research (including clinical trials). These students may be physicians, researchers and research study personnel (research nurses; study coordinators; managers in clinical research and site management organizations (CROs and SROs); and bachelors prepared individuals with interests in applied clinical research in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device industries.

Upon completion of the MS in Clinical Research, students are expected to:

  1. Demonstrate the ability to design and conduct clinical research, analyze data, and interpret results to answer research question
  2. Demonstrate the ability to read and critique the clinical research literature
  3. Present clinical research findings (from literature and/or their own research) to peers

Our mission is to provide students with a rigorous academic experience, and hands-on exposure to and practical experience in clinical research. MSCR graduates will be prepared to enter the workforce as competently trained clinical research professionals.

LEAP Funding

Rush employees can qualify for tuition reimbursement through the Linking Education and Performance, or LEAP, program.  Contact your benefits specialist for LEAP benefit and qualification information.  Stroger Hospital affiliates can qualify for a reduced tuition rate.

Clinical Research (MS): Academic Policies


Academic Standing

Students must earn a 3.0 or above in core courses, earn a pass in courses with a pass/no pass option, meet the requirements of their Program and maintain a cumulative 3.0 grade-point average at the end of each term to remain in good academic standing. Any student who falls below this academic standard are academically deficient and not eligible for graduation. Failure to remediate deficiencies within one academic semester can result in dismissal by the Graduate College.

Graduate College/Rush University Academic Policies

Academic policies specific to the Graduate College are located earlier in this catalog. In addition, the Academic Resources and Policies section of this catalog contains Rush University academic policies.

Clinical Research (MS): Curriculum


Degree Requirements

The program consists of three components:

  • Minimum of 32 graduate credits
  • Capstone clinical research project resulting in a written research paper document
  • Oral presentation/defense

 

Master of Science in Clinical Research curriculum:

There is a core curriculum (20 credits) that is supplemented with additional didactic, experiential, and research options (12 credits).  Curriculum in the following subject areas is required:

  • Bioinformatics
  • Biostatistics
  • Capstone/Thesis Research
  • Clinical Research Design
  • Ethics, Regulatory, and Compliance for Clinical Research
  • Healthcare Outcomes

Transfer credits from other Rush University Colleges or other institutions will be accepted upon approval of the Program Director.

The following courses are examples of courses that meet the core subject area requirements listed above:

Required Core Courses (20 credits)


Students are required to complete 20 credits of core coursework.  This includes all of the following courses:

Additional Required Coursework (12 credits)


Example Curricula


Example Curricula

The program curricula is personalized and will depend on the prior training and interests of each student.

The following are examples of curricula choices:

Track 1. Clinically-trained students that are interested in becoming physician-researchers might choose to enroll in:

  1. Tools for Research
  2. Biostatistics I (and II)
  3. Bioinformatics I (and II)
  4. Ethics and IRB
  5. Clinical Trials I and II
  6. Introduction to Grantsmanship
  7. Epidemiology
  8. Readings in Special Populations
  9. Healthcare Outcomes

Track 2. A student interested in Analytics focusing on Quality, Safety and Value might choose:

  1. Tools for Research
  2. Biostatistics I (and II)
  3. Bioinformatics I (and II)
  4. Clinical Trials I and II
  5. Ethics and IRB
  6. Introduction to Grantsmanship
  7. Epidemiology
  8. Healthcare Outcomes

Track 3. Non-clinically trained students interested in becoming a clinical research professional might choose:

  1. Tools for Research
  2. Biostatistics I (and II)
  3. Bioinformatics I (and II)
  4. Clinical Trials I and II
  5. Ethics and IRB
  6. Intro to Regulatory Process
  7. Epidemiology
  8. Readings in Special Populations
  9. Practicum in Clinical Research

Practicum


Students can choose to participate in an optional Practicum or Independent Study in Clinical Research in addition to their capstone/thesis research project.  The goal of the practicum is to provide the student hands-on exposure to clinical research.  The student will work with a mentor and will be actively involved in the development, execution, and evaluation of a clinical research project or projects.  During the internship/practicum, the student will be exposed to a variety of research activities that may include: clinical research planning, protocol preparation, interaction with Institutional Review Boards, regulatory requirements, selection of subjects/patients for the clinical trial, study monitoring, and data analysis.  The practicum may be completed with a mentor who is actively conducting clinical research studies within a clinical research or hospital setting.  It may also be performed under the direction of a clinical research professional within a drug, device or biotechnology company, a clinical research organization (CRO), or site management organization (SMO) actively involved in clinical trials.  A minimum of 8 weeks of participation is required for completion of the practicum course.

Capstone/Thesis Research


Students in the MSCR program are required to complete a capstone/thesis that provides a culminating experience and applies the principles and methods learned in the coursework to a real-life research project.  The goal of the capstone/thesis is to demonstrate the student’s understanding of the clinical research process from both a theoretical and a practical point of view. Students can conduct their thesis research in a wide variety of settings including, but not limited to, academia, biotechnology, pharmaceutical or device companies. 

Students generally identify their mentor and advisory committee, and develop their research proposal while they are completing their coursework. The research project must involve the analysis and interpretation of data. Students are encouraged but are not required to conduct primary data collection (e.g. preexisting patient health information). Students must meet with their advisory committee at least once every six months, and the committee is responsible for reviewing and approving the capstone/thesis. Once approved, the student defends the thesis in a 45-minute public defense that includes their committee, capstone mentor, MSCR students and faculty members and any other interested parties.  The public defense is immediately followed by a closed-door defense with their committee only.  The purpose of the oral presentation is to demonstrate the student’s ability to (1) clearly describe the research topic, methods and results; (2) demonstrate their understanding of study design and analytic principles and methods; and (3) place their research into a clinical context.

All students will be required to submit the capstone/thesis to ProQuest to be eligible for graduation. All students are encouraged to formulate their original research into a scientific journal article and submit the manuscript as a publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

Course of Study


The MSCR Program can be completed either part-time or full-time depending on the goals of the student.  Courses will take place either online, asynchronously, or in the late afternoons or early evenings.  The Program is designed so that a full-time student may complete their coursework in one academic year, including summer. Practicum and capstone components of the program should begin as soon as mentors have been identified, and the time frame for finishing requirements will be determined on a student-by-student basis by the research mentor, committee, and Program Directors.   Part-time students must register for at least four but not more than 11 credits each academic term until all course requirements are fulfilled.

 

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: The Graduate College