Students must complete a minimum of 240 hours of a practicum in clinical trials as part of their degree requirements. The practicum usually begins near completion of formal coursework. The student is required to meet with the program director or assistant director to receive practicum approval before he/she begins.
Students may earn up to four credits for the practicum experience, completed in two credits/semester. Students may only earn credits if the practicum component is a voluntary endeavor; students who work in clinical research can satisfy the practicum component through their job, but they may not earn credits.
Choosing a Practicum Site
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. Areas within Boston University School of Medicine that may offer practicum opportunities include Dermatology, Cardiology, Pulmonary, Psychiatry, the General Clinical Research Center and the Goldman School of Dental Medicine.
*It is the responsibility of the student to identify/select a practicum site.The Assistant Director will assist in this process, but it is ultimately the student’s responsibility to ensure that a practicum mentor and site is selected on a timely basis.
Practicum Objectives and Outcomes
The goal of the practicum direct experience component 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. During the practicum, it is expected that the student will be exposed to 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.
At the completion of the practicum, the student will write a one to three page summary of activities accomplished during the practicum. This description will be reviewed by the mentor, signed that both agree that the practicum was successfully completed, and then submitted to the MSCI Assistant Director as documentation of objectives achieved.