Master's in Clinical Research Programs

Apr 09, 2018

Degree programs in clinical research methods are fairly common at the master's level. Find out about these degree programs and some of their basic requirements, including admissions standards and common courses.

Master's degree programs in clinical research methods are typically offered as Master of Science degrees through public health sciences or medicine departments. These programs are usually designed for health and medical professionals wishing to work in clinical investigation. Learn more about this degree program and some of its common requirements.

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Information for Master's Degree Programs in Clinical Research Methods

Students in master's degree programs in clinical research methods usually need to complete a thesis and typically have clinical responsibilities and opportunities in clinical research for hands-on learning. These programs include multiple electives to allow students to focus their studies in their particular research interests, but here we discuss a few of the common courses for these programs.

Clinical Research Methods/Design

Students in these programs usually take a course that provides a broad overview of the methodologies in clinical research. These courses typically discuss foundational concepts in areas like biostatistics, epidemiology and other areas that may be examined in greater detail later in the program. Some of these courses may also address issues of study design and go more in depth on topics in analytic strategies, survey research methods and improving the feasibility of clinical trials.


Clinical research methods programs likely require students to take courses in biostatistics at the introductory and/or advanced levels. These courses discuss the biostatical techniques utilized in the field of clinical research and often allow students to work with statistical software programs, like SAS. Specific topics may include, but are not limited to descriptive statistics, correlation, sample size, multivariate methods, cluster analysis, regression and more.

Data Analysis/Management

Students in these programs usually take a course that addresses topics in data analysis and data management to prepare students to handle large amounts of data. These courses look at how to analyze the information held in databases and may use SAS to examine data and check for accuracy. Some of these courses may draw from real-world examples in the healthcare field and usually allow students to work with their own datasets to practice analyzing and presenting their results.

Conduct in Research Involving Humans

Since clinical research often involves human subjects, students in these degree programs typically take a course that discusses responsible conduct for research that involves humans. These courses examine the ethics, regulations and practices of conducting research on humans. Students in these courses will also usually discuss current issues in the subject, conflicts of interest, proper reporting, assessing risks and benefits, protecting privacy and FDA research.


Sometimes the foundational concepts of epidemiology are covered in courses in clinical research methods, but other programs may require a course entirely devoted to the subject. These courses may explore the methods utilized in epidemiology and provide students with the basic concepts and foundations needed for more advanced research and analysis in the field. Students may also examine epidemiologic research and every step of the process from formulating a research question to interpreting results.

Common Entrance Requirements

Students wishing to apply to master's degree programs in clinical research methods typically need to include their official transcripts, letters of recommendation and a personal statement with their application. Some degree programs may also request a resume or CV, diversity statement and/or GRE scores. It is also fairly common for these degree programs to have a minimum GPA requirement, usually around a 3.0. Since these degree programs are typically designed for healthcare professionals or those with a medical degree, many programs require applicants to hold an advanced degree in a health-related field or hold a bachelor's or master's degree and have professional work experience in a health-related field.

Interested students can pursue a Master of Science in Clinical Research Methods and these programs usually culminate in a thesis. Most of these degree programs are designed for health and medical professionals and may have strict admissions requirements.

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