Several schools offer online master's degree programs in clinical research administration or management. These programs are designed to accommodate the needs of working professionals and can usually be completed entirely online. Many programs are designed for clinicians such as nurses, physicians and pharmacists. Two to three years of study, or 30 to 36 completed credit hours, are required for graduation. Ph.D programs may also be available entirely online for those seeking more advanced coursework.
Majors with clinical research courses include clinical research administration, clinical research management, bioinformatics, and medical science. Applicants to these programs should possess a bachelor's degree, preferably in a related field.
In a master's degree program in clinical research, students learn about the work involved in developing and testing new products to improve patient care. Students learn about study design, data collection, statistical computing and evaluative methods. They study ethical considerations and regulatory requirements as well.
Courses may cover critical analysis, trials with human subjects, medical writing and healthcare leadership. Extensive work is required to learn research methodology. Students may be able to choose electives from courses such as biostatistics and epidemiology.
Master's Degrees in Clinical Research Management and Administration
A master's-level online degree program for clinical research management or clinical research administration prepares individuals to lead clinical trials as an administrator or manager in a laboratory setting. Graduate-level students learn advanced skills to analyze and manage clinical trials, monitor research and develop leadership techniques. Some programs are geared toward nurses, while others are suitable for anyone with training in the fields of health or biotechnology.
Information and Requirements
Students must complete 30-36 credit hours to earn a master's degree in clinical research administration or clinical research management. To gain admission to either master's degree program, a bachelor's degree is required. Applicants must submit letters of recommendation, a personal statement, transcripts and, in some cases, results from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).
Students use discussion boards, e-mail and other forums to obtain and submit their coursework. Schools often suggest a broadband connection and specific versions of common computer software programs, such as Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox, to ensure that materials transmit correctly. If additional textbooks or materials are required, incoming students are informed at registration, or when their courses begin. Some schools accept credits from certificate programs to apply toward a master's degree.
List of Clinical Research Courses
In classes leading to a master's degree in clinical research or clinical research administration, students learn to manage data, develop products and conduct clinical trials. Some schools allow students the flexibility to design their own program; others have set curricula that all enrollees must follow. Some schools require clinical experience; others require only completion of a capstone project.
Clinical Trial Good Practice
Students learn the processes involved in the management and monitoring of clinical trials. They explore the concept and history of Good Clinical Practice (GCP). Other topics include quality assurance techniques, subject recruitment and the boards that monitor data safety. Students learn to assess and manage risk as they study reporting requirements and the role of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in clinical trials.
Analysis of Clinical Research
This course focuses on the various regulatory boards and standards governing clinical research, from GCP to the internal review board. Students learn about techniques and practices to deliver health care more efficiently.
Clinical Research Industry
This course introduces the relationship private companies and stakeholders have with clinical research. Students focus on how stakeholders work together in healthcare for product and service delivery.
In 2015, there were 104,440 individuals employed as medical scientists. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (ww.bls.gov), individuals earned a median salary of $82,240 as of May 2015.
Although an online master's degree may suffice to enter the field of clinical research, employers may prefer to hire candidates with doctorates. Both a Ph.D. in Bioinformatics and Ph.D. in Medical Science are popular choices, but these programs may not be available frequently or entirely online. Graduates may also consider a clinical research concentration within doctoral degree programs for nursing, psychology or pharmacy. Some medical scientists may have a medical degree in addition to a master's degree or doctorate.
For working professionals and clinicians, there are many schools that offer fully online programs in clinical research administration or management that can be completed entirely online, in 2 to 3 years, or 30-36 credit hours. These programs require a bachelor's degree, and will prepare candidates to take on roles as administrators or mangers in laboratories during clinical trials.