Clinical Research Training
Training in clinical research at UNC has a rich history. Current options include the MSCR program, Epidemiology MPH, Health Care & Prevention MPH, and K30 Clinical Research Curriculum. Other options are also available, including a PhD in Health Care Epidemiology and MPH programs in Health Policy or Maternal and Child Health. The purpose of this document is to provide a brief description of the primary clinical research training options to guide potential participants to the appropriate program.
Masters of Science in Clinical Research (MSCR)
Emphasis: Clinical research training. Emphasis is on clinical research study design and fundamental analytical skills. Additional emphasis is given to skills required for success in academics, including grant writing and project oversight.
Target Students: The MSCR program is designed for junior faculty and fellows at UNC in all the health professions. Students should desire a career in clinical research, as a principal investigator or co-investigator.
Credit Hours: 36 credit hours are required, approximately 9-10 credit hours per semester
Duration: Two years. The course load and schedule in any given semester is intended to allow the student to participate fully in their home departments. Course work can be completed in one year in some extraordinary circumstances.
Recommendation: Students wishing to gain a strong background in the design of clinical research and skills for academic success should choose the MSCR. Students should anticipate working with a biostatistician for most of their future analytical needs. If a stronger analytical background is the preference, the student should choose the MPH in Epidemiology, instead.
MPH – Epidemiology
Emphasis: Epidemiological research training. Emphasis is on epidemiological study design, although applications to clinical research are evident. Analytical skills and etiological research are emphasized.
Target Students: The MPH program is designed for persons with a doctoral degree (or in a doctoral degree program) who are interested in public health research.
Credit Hours: 42 credit hours are required.
Duration: A minimum of 18 months is required, two years is recommended.
Recommendation: Students wishing to gain a strong methodological background, particularly in data analysis, should choose the MPH in Epidemiology. If a strong methodological background is the preference, the student should plan to take the full two year epidemiological methods course sequence. Note that academic skills can be acquired through joint registration in the K30 Clinical Research Curriculum (see below).
MPH – Health Care and Prevention
Emphasis: Broad training in the public health perspective as it relates to medicine. The HC&P MPH has additional health policy content, relative to the Epidemiology MPH or MSCR.
Target Students: The MPH program is designed for medical students, residents, fellows and junior faculty in medicine or other appropriate health fields who are interested in public health practice, research or applications.
Credit Hours: 42 credit hours are required
Duration: The degree can be completed in 12 months.
Recommendation: Students wishing to learn the population perspective as it applies to clinical medicine and also wish to gain basic skills in research design and health policy, should choose the HC&P MPH.
K30 Clinical Research Curriculum (No degree)
Emphasis: Training in clinical research and academic survival skills. Emphasis is given to a basic understanding of clinical research methods and grant writing.
Target Students: Clinical fellows and junior faculty in health affairs at UNC.
Credit Hours: N/A. Core courses include approximately 22-24 credit hours. Although course auditing is permitted, participants are encouraged to take courses for credit.
Duration: 12 or 24 months
Recommendation: No degree is granted for the K30 CRC, so this option is preferred for those that cannot engage in a degree granting program. The MSCR and K30 CRC share core courses. Because the MSCR has additional content, the MSCR will provide more in depth training in clinical research, than the K30 CRC alone. Persons in the Epidemiology MPH program who meet the target student requirements of the K30 CRC can gain access to key K30-sponsored courses that provide training in clinical research design and grant writing.