Clinical Science Program

Scientific investigations in humans are essential for understanding human biology and for advancing medicine and human health.  This multi-disciplinary program provides the didactic and experiential education required for the conduct of clinical and translational research. 

The Graduate Program in Clinical Science leads to the PhD or MS 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 (MD-PhD, or MD-MS). Graduates are positioned to become future leaders in academic medicine and clinical/translational research.

 

Curriculum


The MS and PhD curriculum plans include core program requirements as well as curriculum specific courses. Research projects and elective courses can be tailored to meet individual student’s interests and career goals.

Degree requirements include:

  • A minimum of 36 credit hours (MS)
  • Core courses in clinical and population health sciences
    • Biostatistics
    • Epidemiology
    • Translational Epi I & II
    • Intro to Linear Models
    • Intro to Data Management
    • Research Design and Methods
    • Seminar
  • Curricular track and elective courses
  • An Ethics of Science course (MEHU 6101)
  • Written and oral qualifying examinations (PhD)
  • Completion of an original research project resulting in a written thesis (MS) or dissertation (PhD)
  • An oral presentation and defense of the dissertation research (PhD)

The student’s mentor and advisory committee guide the student in developing a course plan that includes all curriculum specific requirements.  Students select elective courses from among the diverse offerings of this and other GSBS Programs.

The typical PhD curriculum plan includes two years of course work providing the student with strong quantitative research skills and an understanding of theory and methods within the specific curricular area.  Students also work on mentored research projects during these academic years. The student takes the qualifying examination in the third year to demonstrate proficiency in the required knowledge and skills and to show readiness to conduct independent research.  Submission of an approved dissertation proposal advances the student to candidacy for the degree.  Completion, presentation, and defense of the dissertation project are the final requirements in the curriculum plan.

General Curricular Plan for MS

Year 1: Coursework and mentored research

Year 2: Conduct independent research

  • Thesis proposal
  • Thesis research, completion, and defense
 
General Curricular Plan for PhD

Years 1 and 2: Coursework and mentored research

Year 3: Demonstrate readiness for independent research

  • Written and oral qualifying examinations
  • Dissertation proposal

Year 4+:Conduct independent research

  • Dissertation research, completion, and defense

Resources and Support


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.

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 MD-PhD Program, which may include Blocker-Herzog scholarships.  MD-MS students may take a year out from medical school to earn a MS 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.

Contacts

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

p. (409) 772-6635

Karl Anderson, MD

Karl Anderson, MD
Director, Clinical Science Graduate Program

Jennifer Ruiz-Betancourt

Jennifer Ruiz-Betancourt
Coordinator II, Clinical Science Graduate Program

(409) 772-4185
jeruizbe@utmb.edu