Oct 06, 2022
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:
- Demonstrate the ability to design and conduct clinical research, analyze data, and interpret results to answer a research question
- Demonstrate the ability to read and critique the clinical research literature
- 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.
Rush employees can qualify for tuition reimbursement through the Linking Education and Performance, or LEAP, program. Contact your department administrator for LEAP benefit and qualification information.
Clinical Research (MS): Academic Policies
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.
Program Time Limitations
Students in the Clinical Research Program are expected to meet all requirements for graduation within three academic years in the Graduate College. This period begins with the term in which the student formally matriculates into the program. Exceptions to the time limitation must be submitted to the Academic Standards Committee in writing. The request must identify the reasons for the extension and provide a written plan with reasonable deadlines for completion. This document will be co-signed by the student’s research adviser and program director. The Academic Standards Committee will vote on the extension (simple majority) as a recommendation to the dean of the Graduate College. If the extension is approved, the student’s adviser will then provide an update on the student’s progress after six months. One year after the extension is granted the student is expected to complete all requirements. A second request may be made by the student’s adviser and program director but will be approved for a recommendation to the dean of the Graduate College by a two-thirds majority of the voting members present at a formal hearing of the Academic Standards Committee. Within one year of that second request, the student must complete all requirements for the Master of Science degree or face dismissal.
Leave of Absence
The maximum length of accumulated Leave of Absence is twelve months. Exceptions to the time limitation must be submitted to the Academic Standards Committee in writing. The request must identify the reasons for the extension and provide a written plan for return and revised deadlines for completion. This document will be co-signed by the student’s research adviser and program director. If approved, the student must return at the time indicated on the initial request. A second request may be made by the student’s adviser and program director, but will be approved for a recommendation to the dean of the Graduate College by a two-thirds majority of the voting members present at a formal hearing of the Academic Standards Committee. Students must complete the University process to formally request a Leave of Absence. Please refer to the Leave of Absence policy under the Academic Resources and Policies section of this catalog for additional information.
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
The program consists of three components:
- Minimum of 32 graduate credits
- Clinical research thesis project
- Public presentation/defense
Master of Science in Clinical Research curriculum:
Curriculum in the following subject areas is required:
- Clinical Research Design
- Ethics, Regulatory, and Compliance for Clinical Research
- Health Care Outcomes
- Thesis Research
Transfer credits from other Rush University Colleges or other institutions may be accepted dependent upon approval of the program director. Only coursework taken within the five years previous to program matriculation will be reviewed.
Required Core Courses (20 credits)
Students are required to complete 20 credits of core coursework. This includes the first six (6) following courses (15 credits). Students should select an additional five (5) credits of course work from the remaining courses. Students select courses based on their specific career goals. Depending on the student’s interests and background knowledge, other GCC courses may be taken as elective credit with approval from the program director.
Additional Required Coursework (12 credits)
The program curriculum is personalized and will depend on the prior training and interests of each student.
The following are examples of elective choices:
Track 1. Clinically trained students that are interested in becoming physician-researchers might choose to enroll in the following electives:
- Biostatistics (II)
- Introduction to Grant Writing
- Advanced Epidemiology
Track 2. Non-clinically trained students interested in becoming a clinical research professional might choose to enroll in the following electives:
- Biostatistics (II)
- Clinical Research in Practice
- Introduction to Grant Writing
Students in the MSCR program are required to complete a 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 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 identify their mentor and thesis committee and develop their research proposal while they are completing their coursework in the first year. The research project must involve the analysis and interpretation of data. Students are encouraged but are not required to conduct primary data collection.
The primary thesis adviser in conjunction with the thesis committee will be responsible for guiding the student on the research idea, its practicality, feasibility, application, and timeline for completion. Students must meet with their mentor and thesis committee at least once every six months to provide a progress update and receive recommendations for moving forward to completion. The mentor and thesis committee is also responsible for reviewing and approving the thesis. Once approved, the student defends the thesis in a 45-minute public defense that includes their primary research adviser, committee, MSCR students and faculty members, and any other interested parties. The purpose of the oral presentation is to demonstrate the student’s ability to (1) clearly describe the research question, background, study methods and results; (2) demonstrate their understanding of study design and analytic principles and methods; and (3) place their research findings and applications into a clinical context.
All students will be required to submit the thesis to ProQuest to be eligible for graduation. Specific formatting guidelines are required as set forth by the Center for Academic Excellence. 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 in person or synchronously online in the late afternoons or early evenings, supplemented with asynchronous components. The program is designed so that a full-time student may complete their coursework in one academic year, including summer. Thesis research components of the program should begin as soon as mentors have been identified during the first spring semester in the Program. All students must at a minimum be enrolled part-time (five credits) during the first year of the program to maintain active status in the Graduate College. After completion of didactic courses, students in Thesis Research must enroll in a minimum of two credits to maintain active status.