Doctor of Medicine and Master of Science in Clinical Research

Combining medical education with training and experience in clinical research prepares clinician-researchers to improve patient health as well as healthcare. The dual degree program is appealing to those students who are interested in pursuing careers in the areas of medicine and clinical research in either an academic environment or pharmaceutical or biotechnology industry setting.

The program is designed as a five-year full-time experience, although accommodations can be made for students who need more time to complete the dual degree. Senior faculty with clinical and research expertise will both instruct and mentor students throughout the program. The required research thesis is designed to allow the student to demonstrate research skills. Students will also develop fine-tuned clinical research skills as they complete 240 hours of a clinical research practicum in either an academic institution or in industry.

Coursework in the dual degree program is generally completed over a period of five years.

Degree Requirements

To earn both degrees, students must complete the required classroom and clinical coursework for the MD degree and 18 additional credit hours of Clinical Research course work, as well as the practicum and thesis.
For MD/MSCR students, the 32 credits required for the MSCR are fulfilled as follows:

  1. MD/MSCR students earn 14 credits toward the MSCR for completing designated courses required for their MD degree. The cost for these 14 credits is covered by medical school tuition; there is no additional cost.
  2. The other 18 credits toward the MSCR degree are as follows:
    • Designing Clinical Research Studies – 4 credits
    • Biostatistics with Computing- 4 credits
    • Regulatory and Compliance Issues in Clinical Research – 4 credits
    • Management of Clinical Trials  – 4 credits
    • Seminar in Clinical Research – 2 credits

Students must earn at least a grade of Pass in all medical school courses and must maintain at least a grade point average of 3.0 (on a scale of 4.0) in GMS MSCR courses.

Practicum Requirement for MSCR

The goal of the practicum experience is to provide the student hands-on exposure to clinical research. The student will work with a research mentor and will be actively involved in the development, execution, and evaluation of a clinical research project or project(s).

The practicum may be completed with a research mentor who is actively conducting clinical research studies within a clinical research or hospital setting, and will usually be an investigator on the study or studies that the student is using for his/her thesis. The practicum 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.  MSCI faculty can assist students in finding an appropriate practicum, but it is the student’s responsibility to find a practicum site.

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/consent process
  • data collection
  • study monitoring
  • data analysis.

These various activities will most likely require involvement in more than one research project.

Capstone Project Requirement for MSCR

Students in the MSCR program are required to complete a capstone project that provides a culminating experience and applies the principles and methods learned in the coursework to a real-life clinical study.  Students generally identify their research mentor and develop their capstone project proposal while they are completing their course work or practicum.  The capstone research must involve the analysis and interpretation of data.  Students are encouraged but are not required to conduct primary data collection.

Eligibility and Application Procedures

All medical students accepted to BUSM are eligible to apply to the MD/MSCR dual degree program.  Students interested in the MD/MSCR program should apply first to BUSM. Once accepted to BUSM, students who decide to apply to the MD/MSCR program should submit an application directly to the MD/MSCR program director before February 15 of the third year of medical school. You are encouraged to discuss the program with the director and apply as early as possible once you matriculate to BUSM, however. Note that if you enroll in the program and change your mind, you may opt out without penalty.