Clinical Science Program

Academic Medicine & Translational Research

Philosophy & Goals

Scientific investigations in humans are essential for understanding human biology and for advancing medicine and human health.  The multi-disciplinary Program in Clinical Science leads to the PhD or MS degree, and provides the didactic and experiential education required for the conduct of clinical and translational research. 

The Graduate Program in Clinical Science leads to the Ph.D. or M.S. degree and is administered through the Population Health Sciences Program.  This multi-disciplinary area of study provides health care professionals with the didactic and experiential education required for the pursuit of academic or practical careers in health and medicine with an emphasis on studies in humans as individual study subjects or as populations. Physicians and other health care professionals who complete this training are positioned to become future leaders in academic medicine and clinical research. They are qualified for faculty positions as well as for other research positions such as in industry.

The Program may interest a variety of individuals who wish to pursue advanced training in clinical research, including junior-faculty, senior research fellows, clinical fellows and medical students in a combined degree program (M.D.-Ph.D., or M.D.-M.S.). Graduates are positioned to become future leaders in academic medicine and clinical/translational research.



Biostatistics Track

Introductory courses in biostatistics, epidemiology, public health, and research design and methods are required, as well as a seminar course.  A Course Advisory Committee for each student guides the choice of other prescribed courses and electives. 

After completing courses and before entering candidacy, PhD students complete a qualifying exam. A mentored research project is an essential part of the program, and is guided by a PhD Dissertation or MS Thesis Committee, which is directed by the student’s research mentor.  The MS thesis must represent original research, and the PhD dissertation a significant contribution to new knowledge. 

The Biostatistics Track Emphasizes statistical and mathematical analysis of biomedical data. Graduates will be able to design and analyze observational and experimental studies. Doctoral level biostatisticians are expected to have knowledge of a wide variety of analytic methods, a deep understanding of the rationale for the use of the methods, and the ability to either employ or develop new methods. Through a sequence of courses, students learn the theory and methods of biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health, health services and social and behavioral science.

Specific Areas of Strength:

Health services research is a multidisciplinary field that uses administrative and observational data to examine population-based patterns in health care delivery, with particular focus on utilization, cost, and the outcomes of care. Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) translation to Patient Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR) seeks to identify the right treatment, for the right patient, in the right setting. Health Informatics is the use of healthcare information in cultivating better inter-provider collaboration in patient care. The knowledge gleaned is also used in informing healthcare reform. Both fields are highly interdisciplinary, and includes aspects of information technology, biostatistics, and medicine. Both survival analysis and multilevel analysis are widely used in this field. To address selection bias in CER/PCOR, analytical methods such as natural experimental design, propensity scores, instrumental variables, and sensitivity analysis are used. Students choosing to focus on health services research will learn how health and biomedical data are collected and processed into health information and knowledge and how they are applied to support clinical decision making. Our faculty has extensive experience analyzing a variety of data types, such as large survey data, Medicare, Medicaid, commercial insurance data, disease registry data and Electronic Medical Record data. Further, they have been involved in using such data to help guide public policy, investigate readmission rates, and examine how health care utilization varies or is influenced by factors such as ethnicity, income, education and marital status. Our faculty has received substantial federal funding in this area.

Faculty Interaction:

Our small class sizes allow for one-on-one interaction with faculty, and the possibility for students to work with faculty directly on biostatistical research and consulting projects. As Galveston is a small city, the department is well integrated into the local community, giving opportunities for highly relevant public health practicums in the MPH.

PhD Biostatistics Track

UTHSPH   Theory of Biostatistics I  

UTHSPH   Theory of Biostatistics II

PHS 6210 Introduction to Data Management

PHS 6354 Linear Models

PHS 6341 Categorical Data Analysis

PHS 6321 Survival Data Analysis

MS Biostatistics Track

PHS 6343 Biostatistics

PHS 6210 Introduction to Data Management

PHS 6344 Introduction to Linear Models

PHS 6341 Categorical Data Analysis

PHS 6321 Survival Data Analysis

Elective Biostatistics Curriculum:

PHS 6313 Correlated Data Analysis

PHS 6345 Introduction to Bioinformatics

PHS 6350 Introduction to Sampling Methods

PHS 6311 Statistical Consulting

PH 63XX Analysis Issues in Clinical Trials

TBA          Analytic Methods for Comparativeness Effectiveness Research

HPTM 6284 Data Mining through Visual Analytics

Admissions Information

The Program may interest a variety of individuals who wish to pursue advanced training in clinical research, including junior faculty, senior research fellows, clinical fellows and medical students in combined or dual degree programs (MD-PhD or MD-MS).

Initial inquiries to the ITS Education Office are encouraged.  The formal application process begins with the standard application to the Graduate School, including letters of recommendation. An additional letter of support should address protected time and the availability of a research mentor to complete the program.

When the Clinical Science Program is combined with a clinical fellowship, a supporting letter from the fellowship program director is required. Clinical training and achieving most clinical subspecialty requirements is emphasized in the first year of a combined program. Most activities in the remaining years focus on fulfilling additional course requirements and dissertation or thesis research.

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Steps for Graduation





Students in the Clinical Science Program may be supported by a number of mechanisms.

  • In most cases, students have a position at UTMB that provides protected time during course work. They will be supported by their research mentors during their thesis/dissertation research.  Support may be provided by external sources such as training grants. 
  • Physicians who wish to combine this degree program with clinical fellowship or residency training are expected to be supported by their clinical training program, and must submit a letter affirming such support.  This support may represent external funds through fellowship training programs. 
  • MD-PhD students who chose the Clinical Science Program are supported during course work by funds available through the M.D.-Ph.D. Program, which may include Blocker-Herzog scholarships.  M.D.-M.S. students may take a year out from medical school to earn a M.S. in Clinical Science.    
  • An endowment from the Herzog Foundation can provide partial funding for some students in the program, particularly during years of course work.  Herzog scholarships are awarded on a competitive basis based on merit and need. 
  • Because advanced training of new clinical investigators is a national priority, external funding may be available to many students. Students are encouraged to apply individually for such support in consultation with their mentors.


The research environment at UTMB provides many opportunities for clinical research and support during training and career development. Clinical research resources include the Institute for Translational Science Clinical Research Center (ITS-CRC), which has been awarded continuous NIH funding (UL1TR001439) for over 47 years and provides inpatient and outpatient facilities, experienced nursing staff, biostatistical and study design support, computer support, and various specialized equipment for human research.  The ITS provides core resources in biostatistics, bioinformatics, genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and community outreach.

Additional research resources at UTMB include multiple Centers for Research Excellence, a Center for Aerospace Medicine and Physiology, the Institute for the Medical Humanities, Core Laboratory Facilities, and a Child Health Research Center.

Funding for Clinical Science students is provided from a variety of training grants and other sources. A Herzog foundation endowment specifically for students in this program can provide partial support that is awarded based on merit and need.

For more information, contact:

Individuals with career goals that include advanced expertise in patient-oriented research, health services research, biostatistics or biomedical informatics are invited to inquire about this program. The Clinical Science Program is administered by the Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health with assistance from the Education Office of the Institute for Translational Science (ITS). Contact the ITS for further information by e-mail, phone (409) 772-1484, or write to:


Preventive Medicine Graduate Programs
University of Texas Medical Branch
301 University Boulevard
Galveston, Texas 77555-1110

p. (409) 772-1484

Karl Anderson, MD
Director,Clinical Science Graduate Program


  Jennifer Ruiz-Bentancourt
  Coordinator II
  Clinical Science Graduate Program

  (409) 772-4185

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