Master of Science in Clinical Research

BU School of Medicine entrance sign

Our Mission

Inspire, Instruct, Innovate  The MS in Clinical Research program, which is a STEM program, is dedicated to the discovery, development, and application of knowledge as it pertains to all areas of clinical research. Our mission is to foster an engaging and effective educational environment that promotes the pursuit of outstanding teaching and learning through formal classroom and practical training. With established collaborative relationships with pharmaceutical, biotech, and academic institutions, students are provided with unique opportunities to pursue clinical research in areas that are of personal and professional interest.

The MSCR program teaches students the scientific fundamentals of human research. Courses in our curriculum provide an in-depth look at all of the key elements in clinical research, including: trial design, trial management, biostatistics, ethical issues, and clinical research regulations.

The total course requirement is 32 credit hours: 22 hours are required curriculum, including practicum and capstone project; 10 hours are elective courses. Students will also complete a research “practicum”; a hands-on involvement in a clinical research project under a scientific mentor. The final requirement for the degree is to conduct clinical research, write, and present a capstone research paper.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of the MS in Clinical Research, students are expected to:
1.      Demonstrate the ability to design and conduct clinical research, analyze results and answer a research question.
2.      Demonstrate the ability to read and critique the clinical research literature.
3.      Present clinical research findings (from literature or their own research) to peers.

The MS in Clinical Research program’s degree requirements include:

  • Minimum of 32 graduate credits: 22 required (including practicum and capstone project), and 10 elective
  • Clinical Research Practicum: Hands-on involvement in a clinical research project
  • Capstone Project: clinical research conducted, analyzed, written, and presented by student
  • Students must be enrolled in a minimum of 4 semesters, including summer sessions, to qualify for graduation
  • Students must be enrolled in two consecutive semesters, and be enrolled in the semester in which they intend to complete their Capstone project to qualify for graduation

Program Timeline

The MSCR program can be completed on either a part-time or full-time basis. Most courses take place in the late afternoons or early evenings to accommodate working professionals. A full-time student can complete his/her coursework in one year; 4 semesters (including Summer Sessions I & II). Part-time students must register for at least 4 but not more than 11 credits each academic semester until all course requirements are fulfilled.

Practicum and capstone project components of the program should begin near completion of the coursework, and the time frame for finishing these components will be determined on a student-by-student basis by the Program Director or Assistant Director.

We also allow the transfer of up to 2 MSCR courses (taken as a non-degree student) toward the MSCR degree. Learn more about the process of applying as a non-degree student here.

Required Courses

Students must complete a minimum of 32 credits at the graduate level, including the following 18 credits in required coursework:

Course Title Course No. Credit hours
Designing Clinical Research Studies GMS CI 675 Fall, 4 cr
Regulatory & Compliance Issues GMS CI 640 Fall, 4 cr
Biostatistics with Computing GMS CI 670 Fall, 4 cr
Management of Clinical Trials GMS CI 631 Spring, 4 cr
Seminar in Clinical Research GMS CI 790 Spring, 2 cr

Elective Coursework

Students must also complete a minimum of 10 credits in elective coursework or directed study. A wide variety of courses offered in the Division of Graduate Medical Sciences can be taken as elective credit.  All electives must be approved by your Academic Advisor before registration.

Directed Studies in Clinical Research (GMS CI 691 or 692) allows students to explore a special topic of interest under the direction of a MSCR faculty member. Students may register for two credits of directed study by submitting a paper registration form, after the MSCR faculty member has agreed to work with the student on a specific project. Directed studies with a non-MSCR faculty member or adjunct member must first be approved by and assigned to the Director or Assistant Director of MSCR as Faculty Sponsor.

Please note: Students who have completed one or more of the required courses before matriculation may acquire “advanced standing” for that requirement. “Advanced standing” means that the student may waive the requirement but would need to replace the course requirement by taking an elective course(s). The student would not need to retake the course requirement. To waive a course requirement, students must speak to their Academic Advisor and complete/submit a “Petition for Approval of Advanced Standing.” No transfer credits from other BU departments or institutions will be accepted.

Learn more about the Practicum and Capstone Project.

Sample Curriculum for 1 Year Program Completion:

Fall Semester:

  • GMS CI 675, 4 cr
  • GMS CI 670, 4 cr
  • GMS CI 640, 4 cr
  • Elective

Spring Semester:

  • GMS CI 631, 4 cr
  • GMS CI 790, 2 cr
  • Practicum, variable 2-4 cr
  • Electives

Summer Session 1:

  • CI 796, 2 cr
  • Capstone Research, variable 2-4 cr

Summer Session 2:

  • Capstone Research, variable 2-4 cr