Best Online Master’s in Clinical Research Programs
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An online master's in clinical research program provides graduates with the advanced research and medical skills needed to pursue several medical and science professions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 5% job growth for life science careers between 2019 and 2029, and clinical research graduates qualify for many of these positions.
To help prospective students make an informed decision for their future, this page provides an in-depth examination of this graduate degree and highlights potential career options. Readers can also find additional information in our master's in clinical research program guide.
What Are the Best Online Master's in Clinical Research Programs of 2021? Here Are Our Top 2:
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|#1||George Washington University Washington, DC|
|#2||MCPHS University Boston, MA|
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Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
2021 Best Accredited Online Master's in Clinical Research Programs
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GW's School of Medicine and Health Sciences opened in 1824, just three years after GW itself, making it the oldest medical school in Washington, D.C.
The school offers an online master of science in health sciences in clinical and translational research that students can complete in about two years. Sample courses include grantsmanship in translational research, bioinformatics for genomics, and epidemiology for clinical and translational research.
Students must complete 36 credits to graduate. Tuition for this online master's in clinical research costs $1,315 per credit. Applicants must submit undergraduate transcripts showing a minimum GPA of 3.0, a resume, a personal statement, and two letters of recommendation. Students can bring up to six transfer credits into this program.
George Washington University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
A private institution focusing on preparing students for healthcare careers, MCPHS offers more than 100 programs across three campuses and an online division.
Distance learners at MCPHS can enroll in an online master's in clinical research program. Sample courses include FDA and regulatory affairs, law and regulations governing human research, and health epidemiology.
Students must complete 30 credits to graduate. Online tuition costs $990 per credit, and additional fees apply. Applicants must submit transcripts showing completion of a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0, as well as a resume demonstrating experience and/or interest in research.
Based in Boston, MCPHS is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Clinical Research Program?
While MS and MHSc programs focus on clinical research, MCTM tracks offer more blended training, connecting clinical research with practical applications.
In general, students in clinical research programs need strong communication, observation, and analytical skills. Most master's in clinical research programs award a master of science (MS) degree, require 30-45 credits, and take two years to complete.
Other degree types in clinical research include a master of health sciences (MHSc) and a master's in clinical translation management (MCTM). While MS and MHSc programs focus primarily on clinical research, MCTM tracks offer more blended training, connecting clinical research with practical applications.
Due to the differences in focus, these programs may feature different formats and study requirements, and lead to different career pathways. MCTM programs, for example, emphasize professional applications and lab work, while science degrees focus more on research.
Regardless of their degree type, students can focus their career pathways through a research specialization or concentration like clinical trial management, administration, regulatory affairs, or translational science. Many students also need to complete an internship or practicum experience.
Admission Requirements for Online Master's in Clinical Research Programs
To earn admission into an online master's in clinical research program, applicants need a bachelor's degree at minimum. Some programs require that applicants meet GPA and GMAT or GRE score cutoffs. Most programs also require letters of recommendations.
For research programs, applicants often need to submit a statement of purpose highlighting their research interests and goals. Competitive programs may also require professional experience.
For more information, consult the Graduate Admissions Guide.
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What Courses Will I Take in an Online Master's in Clinical Research Program?
With various degree types and concentrations available, courses in a master's in clinical research program can vary considerably. However, although titles and descriptions may differ, the following list highlights a few courses students may encounter while earning their degree.
Courses in epidemiology analyze various approaches to public health and disease concerns. Learners study epidemiological frameworks in the government, healthcare systems, and research and development industries. They also examine growing problems in the field.
Biostatistics courses explore the many uses of data in public health. Students learn how to collect and analyze information and how to use data to inform policy and improve health outcomes. Learners gain an understanding of the various tools, procedures, and applications used by biostatistics professionals.
In community health courses, students explore the major health concerns in various populations and demographics. They look at the attributing factors and interactions that influence disease and poor health outcomes. Learners also analyze available preventive, treatment, and rehabilitation measures and policies in place.
These courses examine the ethical implications involved when conducting research on human subjects. Students identify primary ethical concerns, examine current policies and regulations, and develop an ethical framework to help guide them professionally.
Students in these courses learn how to effectively and safely monitor clinical trials. They go over how to choose subjects, oversee and investigate trials, and follow organizational procedures. Cousework also covers legal guidelines and ethical concerns that can impact monitors and their work.
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What Can I Do With an Online Master's in Clinical Research Degree?
A master's in clinical research can lead to several attractive career opportunities for graduates. The BLS projects faster than average growth (5%) for life, physical, and social sciences professions between 2019 and 2029. During the same period, the BLS also projects strong growth rates for medical scientists (6%) and epidemiology professionals (5%).
Despite strong competition for some positions, the strong growth in this field should accommodate graduates. Learners who want to continue their studies can also seek admission into a doctoral program.
See where a master's in clinical research can take you, and learn more about healthcare careers.
Medical scientists perform research and trials concerning various aspects of the healthcare field. They design and conduct experiments that investigate disease, drug efficacy, and public health outcomes. According to the BLS, 35% of medical scientists work in research and development in the life sciences, 23% work for higher education institutions, and 17% work in hospitals. To qualify for many of these jobs, individuals may also need to earn a doctorate.
Epidemiologists investigate the causes and impacts of public disease and injuries. They improve health outcomes through research, data analysis, and collaboration with other health professionals. According to the BLS, 36% of epidemiologists work in the state government, 18% work in the local government, and 15% work in hospitals.
Microbiologists work with various organisms, studying how they impact and are impacted by people and environments. These professionals can apply their studies and findings in clinical research and public health organizations. According to the BLS, 23% of microbiologists work in research and development in the life sciences, 13% work for higher education institutions, and 12% work in the federal government.
Natural sciences managers oversee various scientists and clinical researchers, designing experiments, allocating resources for research and development, and ensuring staff follow laws and regulations. According to the BLS, 28% of these managers work in research and development in the life sciences, 17% work in manufacturing, and 15% work in the federal government.
Biochemists study living things and the processes that take place within them. They investigate diseases, develop and test drugs, and research health outcomes in people or animals. According to the BLS, 10% of biochemists work in pharmaceutical manufacturing and 8% work for higher education institutions. Master's degree-holders may be able to qualify for entry-level biochemist positions.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Master's in Clinical Research Programs
A master's in clinical research prepares graduates for a variety of healthcare and research careers, making it a worthwhile investment for many students. The BLS projects 5% job growth for life science careers between 2019 and 2029. These professionals earn a median annual salary of $68,160.
A master's in clinical research helps graduates secure various life sciences jobs, including careers in epidemiology and some medical science positions. Master's graduates can also pursue a doctoral degree in the field, which can lead to more advanced medical positions and postsecondary teacher roles.
Due to the aging population and an increase in the demand for pharmaceuticals and public health programs, the demand for highly skilled clinical researchers should remain strong. The BLS projects strong growth rates for epidemiology professionals (5%) and medical scientists (6%) between 2019 and 2029.
Salary potential depends on a worker's field, location, role, and experience. However, according to the BLS, epidemiologists earn a median annual salary of $70,990.
In terms of direct career pathways, the highest-paying jobs for graduates with a master's in clinical research is natural science manager. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for these workers is $129,100, and the top 10% of earners in this field make more than $208,000 a year.