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Home > Degree Programs > Master of Science in Clincal Research: Specialty Tracks

Master of Science in Clinical Research: Specialty Tracks

Trainees pursuing the Master of Science in Clinical Research must choose a specialty track. Five tracks are available:

The descriptions below include a partial list of relevant courses for each track. Trainees must complete the specialty track requirements. The list of elective courses is intended only as a suggestion of other courses that may be of interest. Trainees may work with their advisors to select other relevant courses that are offered in the schools of the health sciences.

Clinical Trials Research Track

Director: Kaleab Z. Abebe, PhD

The Clinical Trials Research Track provides training related to the design, performance, and analysis of clinical studies and relevant principles of pharmacology. Trainees are encouraged to develop a protocol for a study involving human subjects and then to direct the study and analyze the results. A project such as this could be developed in conjunction with the research endeavors of the Pittsburgh Clinical Research Network. The mentor and graduate committee appointed to work with each trainee will provide guidance in the identification of an appropriate project.

Required Courses
Course numberCourse titleCreditsTerm offered
CLRES 2080 Master's Thesis Research 1.0-3.0 every Summer, Fall, and Spring
CLRES 2120 Cost-Effectiveness Analysis in Health Care 1.0 every Fall and Spring
CLRES 2800 Fundamentals of Clinical Trials 1.0 every Spring
CLRES 2810 Statistical Methods and Issues in Clinical Trials 1.0 every Spring
CLRES 2820 Special Topics in Clinical Trials 1.0 every Spring
Suggested Elective Courses
Course numberCourse titleCreditsTerm offered
CLRES 2021 Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) and Regression 1.0 every Fall
CLRES 2022 Logistic Regression 1.0 every Fall
CLRES 2023 Survival Analysis 1.0 every Spring
CLRES 2026 Analysis of Correlated Data 1.0 every Spring
CLRES 2107 Comparative Effectiveness Research and PCOR 2.0 every Fall
CLRES 2140 Best Practices in Clinical Research 1.0 every Spring
CLRES 2141 Medical Writing and Presentation Skills 1.0 every Fall and Spring
CLRES 2320 Clinical Trials Practicum 2.0-3.0 every Summer, Fall, and Spring
EOH 2302 Molecular Approaches: Toxicology 2.0 TBD
EPIDEM 2850 Introduction to Pharmacoepidemiology 2.0 every Fall
PHARM 2001 Pharmaceutical Analysis 3.0 TBD
PHARM 3027 Interactions of Drug and Disease: Kinetic and Dynamic Issues 1.0-2.0 every Fall and Spring
Comparative Effectiveness Research Track

Director: Holly Thomas, MD, MS

The CER Track addresses the emerging need for training in key disciplines within CER, including meta-analysis and systematic review, analysis of electronic records, and decision modeling and cost-effectiveness, as well as development of fundamental skills specific to clinical trials and statistical analysis of observational data. Required courses include each of these fundamental aspects, with electives to form a specialization. The Comparative Effectiveness Research course will lead trainees through the development of a CER project and will tie together fundamental principles of CER.

Required Courses
Course numberCourse titleCreditsTerm offered
CLRES 2080 Master's Thesis Research 1.0-3.0 every Summer, Fall, and Spring
CLRES 2107 Comparative Effectiveness Research and PCOR 2.0 every Fall
CLRES 2108 Patient Registries and Electronic Health Records in CER 1.0 during the Fall in odd years
CLRES 2120 Cost-Effectiveness Analysis in Health Care 1.0 every Fall and Spring
CLRES 2121 Clinical Decision Analysis 1.0 every Fall and Spring
CLRES 2300 Introduction to Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses 1.0 every Fall
CLRES 2800 Fundamentals of Clinical Trials 1.0 every Spring
Suggested Elective Courses
Course numberCourse titleCreditsTerm offered
CLRES 2021 Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) and Regression 1.0 every Fall
CLRES 2022 Logistic Regression 1.0 every Fall
CLRES 2023 Survival Analysis 1.0 every Spring
CLRES 2026 Analysis of Correlated Data 1.0 every Spring
CLRES 2122 Computer Methods in Decision and Cost-Effectiveness Analysis 1.0 every Fall and Spring
CLRES 2810 Statistical Methods and Issues in Clinical Trials 1.0 every Spring
CLRES 2820 Special Topics in Clinical Trials 1.0 every Spring
BCHS 2559 Community Development Approaches to Public Health 3.0 every Spring
BCHS 2568 Human Diversity and Public Health Policy, Research, and Practice 2.0 every Fall
BCHS 3508 Advanced Methods of Community-Based Participatory Research and Practice in Public Health 3.0 every Spring
EPIDEM 2023 Participatory Modeling and Simulation in Public Health 3.0 every Spring
Health Services Research Track

Director: Mark Roberts, MD, MPP

The Health Services Research Track provides training in health services research methodology. There are seven required courses with the electives aimed to complement the trainees research plans.

Required Courses
Course numberCourse titleCreditsTerm offered
CLRES 2021 Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) and Regression 1.0 every Fall
CLRES 2022 Logistic Regression 1.0 every Fall
CLRES 2023 Survival Analysis 1.0 every Spring
CLRES 2026 Analysis of Correlated Data 1.0 every Spring
CLRES 2080 Master's Thesis Research 1.0-3.0 every Summer, Fall, and Spring
CLRES 2107 Comparative Effectiveness Research and PCOR 2.0 every Fall
CLRES 2120/HPM 2220† Cost-Effectiveness Analysis in Health Care 1.0 every Fall and Spring
Suggested Elective Courses
Course numberCourse titleCreditsTerm offered
CLRES 2121/HPM 2217 Clinical Decision Analysis 1.0 every Fall and Spring
CLRES 2122/HPM 2215† Computer Methods in Decision and Cost-Effectiveness Analysis 1.0 every Fall and Spring
CLRES 2124 Directed Study in Decision and Cost-Effectiveness Analyses 1.0-3.0 every Summer, Fall, and Spring
CLRES 2141 Medical Writing and Presentation Skills 1.0 every Fall and Spring
CLRES 2400 Qualitative Research Methods 1.0 every Spring
BCHS 3002 Health Survey Methods 3.0 every Spring
HPM 2028 Microeconomics Applied to Health 3.0 TBD
HPM 2105 Health and Medical Care Organization 2.0 every Fall
HPM 2125 Health Economics 3.0 every Fall
HPM 2135 Health Policy 2.0 every Fall

† Must take one of these two courses.

Innovation Track

Director: Mary Goldberg, PhD

The Innovation Track provides training related to taking ideas from early stage discovery to products and services that can be taken to market. Fundamental to the program is the idea that commercialization of research results, or even the collaboration with private sector partners, is often instrumental in the creation of societal benefits. Trainees are encouraged to create a go-to-market plan for their own innovations that can result in the creation of a new enterprise or licensing agreement for the technology or service. A project such as this may be developed in conjunction and through an externship*** with the Innovation Institute or one of several local incubators (e.g. Alpha Labs Gear, Idea Foundry, Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse, etc). The mentor and graduate committee appointed to work with trainees will provide hands-on guidance in the identification and completion of an appropriate project that will equate the ICRE MS thesis requirement.

Required Courses
Course numberCourse titleCreditsTerm offered
CLRES 2080 Master's Thesis Research 1.0-3.0 every Summer, Fall, and Spring
CLRES 2730 From Benchtop to Bedside: What Every Scientist Needs to Know 3.0 every Spring
CLRES 2085 Externship/Independent Study 1.0 every Fall, Spring, or Summer
CLRES 2729 idea to Impact (i2I) 1.0 every Fall or Spring
Select from list below. Total credits to equal 2 Additional research methods and/or statistics course(s)** 2.0 every Fall or Spring
Select from list below. Total credits to equal 3 Product development course* 3.0 every Fall or Spring

*Students choose one (or two in the event of a course series) of the classes below, or other advisor approved course:

BIOENG 2151/CLRES 2156: Medical Product Development (3 credits)
BIOENG 2165: Medical Product Entrepreneurship (3 credits)
HRS 2706/2718: Rehabilitation Engineering Design (2 courses, so 2nd is elective: 4 credits; 3 credits)
ENGR 2051: Product Realization (3 credits)
PHARM 5812/5825: Healthcare Innovations I & II (1 credit; 2 credits)
PHARM 5915: Executive Healthcare Innovations (1.5 credits)

**Students choose one or two of the classes below, or other advisor approved course. Unless otherwise noted, the listed course is 1 credit:

CLRES 2021: Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) and Regression
CLRES 2022: Logistic Regression
CLRES 2023: Survival Analysis
CLRES 2026: Analysis of Correlated Data
CLRES 2045: Survey Design and Analysis
CLRES 2107: Comparative Effectiveness Research (2 credits)
CLRES 2120: Cost-Effectiveness Analysis in Health Care
CLRES 2122: Computer Methods in Decision and Cost-Effectiveness Analysis
CLRES 2300: Introduction to Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses
CLRES 2400: Qualitative Research Methods
CLRES 2430: Introduction to Community Based Participatory Research
CLRES 2432: Concept Mapping: A Participatory Research Method
CLRES 2610: Research Methods in Palliative Care
CLRES 2700: Fundamentals of Bench Research (2 credits)
CLRES 2800: Fundamentals of Clinical Trials
CLRES 2810: Statistical Methods and Issues in Clinical Trials
CLRES 2820: Special Topics in Clinical Trials

***Externs will develop advanced skills of innovation and entrepreneurship such as market segmentation, high-fidelity prototyping and solution ideation, financial pro forma development, competitive analysis, pricing sensitivity analysis, and product lifecycle management. Example host sites include Alpha Lab Gear, Idea Foundry, IDEO, Innovation Works, TrueFit, and UPMC Enterprises. Number of credits (1-3 credits per externship) will be mutually determined in advance by advisor, student, and site supervisor based on intensity (# of hours, ‘assignments’ or projects, etc.) of the experience.

Suggested Elective Courses
Course numberCourse titleCreditsTerm offered
CLRES 2077 Strategic Leadership 1.0 every Fall
CLRES 2141 Medical Writing and Presentation Skills 1.0 every Fall and Spring
CLRES 2155 Medical Product Ideation 3.0 every Fall
CLRES 2750 Seminar in Health Systems Leadership 1.5 every Fall and Spring
BIOENG 2241 Social, Political, and Ethical Issues in Biotechnology 3.0 every Fall
BIOENG 2242 Medical Ethics 3.0 every Fall
BIOETH 2664 Bioethics 3.0 every Spring
BQOM 2511 Revenue Management and Pricing Analytics 1.5 every Spring
BSPP 2111 Commercializing New Technologies 3.0 every Fall
ENGR 2080 Lean Launchpad: Evidence-Based Entrepreneurship 3.0 every Spring
IE 2003 Engineering Management 3.0 every Spring
IE 2076 Total Quality Management 3.0 every Fall
LAW 5260 Intellectual Property 3.0 every Fall
PHARM 5915 Executive Healthcare Innovations 1.5 every Fall

Students will be linked to experienced innovators including but not limited to:

Translational Research Track

Director: Janet S. Lee, MD

The Translational Research Track is appropriate for trainees interested in how discoveries and findings from basic research can be turned into stud­ies of human subjects. Discoveries in basic sciences, especially the sequencing of the human genome and the development of high-throughput technologies to facilitate precision medicine offer extensive opportunities for applications related to new and improved strategies for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases.

Required Courses
Course numberCourse titleCreditsTerm offered
CLRES 2021 Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) and Regression 1.0 every Fall
CLRES 2022 Logistic Regression 1.0 every Fall
CLRES 2080 Master's Thesis Research 1.0-3.0 every Summer, Fall, and Spring
CLRES 2085 Directed Research/Independent Study in Clinical Research 1.0-3.0 every Summer, Fall, and Spring
CLRES 2700 Fundamentals of Bench Research 2.0 every Summer
CLRES 2725 Translational Research Practicum 3.0 every Summer, Fall, and Spring
Suggested Elective Courses
Course numberCourse titleCreditsTerm offered
CLRES 2023 Survival Analysis 1.0 every Spring
CLRES 2107 Comparative Effectiveness Research and PCOR 2.0 every Fall
CLRES 2141 Medical Writing and Presentation Skills 1.0 every Fall and Spring
CLRES 2320 Clinical Trials Practicum 2.0-3.0 every Summer, Fall, and Spring
CLRES 2730 From Benchtop to Bedside: What Every Scientist Needs to Know 3.0 every Spring
EPIDEM 2171 Cancer Epidemiology 2.0 every Summer
HUGEN 2025 Human Genetics Seminar 0.0 every Fall
HUGEN 2031 Chromosomes and Human Disease 3.0 every Fall
HUGEN 2034 Introduction to Human Biochemical and Molecular Genetics 3.0 every Spring
HUGEN 2040 Molecular Basis of Human Inherited Disease 3.0 every Fall
IDM 2002 Molecular Virology 2.0 every Spring
IDM 2004 Viral Pathogenesis 2.0 every Fall
INTBP 2000 Foundations of Biomedical Science 8.0 every Fall
INTBP 2030 Introduction to Biocomputing 2.0 every Spring
MSCBMP 2852 Research Seminar: Cell Biology Membrane Traffic 1.0 every Fall
MSCBMP 2880 Cell Biology of the Normal and Disease State 3.0 every Spring
MSCMP 2730 Molecular Mechanisms of Tissue Growth and Differentiation 3.0 every Spring
MSCMP 2740 Molecular Pathology 3.0 every Spring
MSCMP 3750 Angiogenesis 3.0 every Spring
MSIMM 2210 Comprehensive Immunology 2.0 every Spring
MSIMM 2230 Experimental Basis of Immunology 2.0 every Spring
MSIMM 3220 Contemporary Topics in Immunology 1.0 every Fall
MSIMM 3230 Immunology and Human Disease 2.0 TBD
MSMPHL 3310 Cancer Biology and Therapeutics 3.0 TBD
MSMPHL 3360 Molecular Pharmacology 2.0 every Fall
MSMVM 2420 Experimental Virology 1.0 every Spring
MSMVM 2470 Contemporary Topics in Molecular Virology and Microbiology 1.0 every Fall
PHARM 3140 Introduction to Translational Research in the Health Sciences 2.0 every Fall