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PhD in Clinical and Translational Science

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Frequently Asked Questions

Admission Questions

Program Questions

Financial Aid and Tuition Questions

Admission Questions

▼ Are GRE scores required?

They are required. Exceptions to this rule include international applicants and those with MCAT scores only. Exceptions can be discussed with the Program Coordinator.

▼ Is there a rolling admission policy?

No, applications will be collected September 1 – January 31. These applications will be reviewed by the admission committee in February and candidates will be notified in March.

▼ What is required in the online application?

The application will ask for basic demographic information, test scores, and your education and professional background. Official transcripts from all previous undergraduate and graduate degrees are required. The application will also ask you to upload your CV, a personal statement, and a statement of research experience. Additionally, the application will prompt you to identify 2 reviewers, a fellowship director or department chair who guarantee that your time is protected to pursue the PhD (if applicable), and a mentor (optional). The online application will contact these individuals via the email address provided by the applicant and these individuals will be prompted to enter the application system and provide a reference.

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Program Questions

▼ Is it possible to pursue this degree as a part-time student?

Yes, in fact the majority of our students are part-time. Graduate students registered for 9 to 15 credits are regarded as full-time students. Graduate students registered for fewer than 9 credits are considered part-time.

▼ How long does to program take to complete?

On average, our graduates have taken 3.4 years to complete this PhD degree. The didactic portion of the program will take 6-8 sequential semesters, including summers, to complete. Although this is dependent on the rate at which a student enrolls in courses and the presence of any transferred credits from previous degrees. The comprehensive exam and dissertation phase of the program varies and is completely dependent on your research question, methodology, and data collection.

▼ If accepted, when would I begin this program?

Accepted students begin their courses at the ICRE on July 1.

▼ Can you talk a bit more about the summer term?

The Summer session runs from July-August and includes an intensive schedule of 4 core courses. These courses are Biostatistics, Computer Methods in Clinical Research, Clinical Research Methods, and Measurement in Clinical Research. Please refer to the courses page on the ICRE website for more information.

▼ Is the dissertation research based? Would I be able to use data that I have access to in my current position for the dissertation?

The dissertation is an original piece of scholarly research on a topic that has been jointly agreed upon by the student and her/his mentor and Dissertation Committee members. It is a major undertaking that should reflect the highest standards of scholarship and make a significant contribution to knowledge and practice in the field of Clinical and Translational science. There are two options for the dissertation: (1) three, thematically related first-authored manuscripts (2) a more traditional dissertation that includes, at a minimum, chapters describing the background, methods, analyses/results, and conclusions of the dissertation project. We encourage students to identify dissertation topics that align with their current work, when possible, although not necessary.

▼ What are the learning expectations and workload of this program?

The translation science courses will be highly integrated with one another and cover both theoretical concepts and applications. There will be a large amount of reading expected for each course to ensure that students are knowledgeable of the literature. Students should expect to dedicate 3-4 hours per credit per week during the didactic portion of the program. The time commitment for the comprehensive exam and dissertation phase will vary.

▼ Can this program be done online as a remote student? Are there some online courses that can be taken?

No, this program cannot be completed online. The program does offer several hybrid-style courses which reduce the amount of time spent in class. We have 1 fully online course.

▼ Can the curriculum be tailored based on an applicant's background and goals? Given that translational science emphasizes collaboration between a variety of disciplines, students are allowed to take courses in other (closely related) departments? Are students able to identify dissertation committee members from other departments?

Yes, students are permitted to enroll in other departments at the University of Pittsburgh. This requires the approval of the PhD program director. In terms of the dissertation committee, yes, students will be permitted and encouraged to identify members from other departments.

▼ Does this program accept transfer credits from previous graduate degrees?

The PhD in CTS program does accept transfer credits from previous graduate degrees. If transfer credits are requested, the student must submit an official transcript from the previous degree and make suggestions about which courses may be applicable to the PhD in CTS. The syllabus from each course being requested to transfer must be submitted to the program. The Program Director will then review and approve transfer credits accordingly. Final transfer credit approval is done by the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies at the Pitt Medical School.

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Financial Aid and Tuition Questions

▼ Does the ICRE provide financial aid?

No, Students are responsible for covering the tuition costs, taxes, and fees associated with courses taken through the Institute for Clinical Research Education unless they have other funding sources.

▼ What is the cost of the PhD program?

The PhD in CTS program is categorized as a graduate program within in the School of Medicine. This classification determines the tuition rate. Tuition rates can be found here.

▼ I am a Pitt or UPMC employee; would tuition benefits be applicable for this program?

Yes, many individuals accepted into this program have faculty- or student-based affiliations with the University of Pittsburgh or University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). Faculty, staff, fellows, or residents at these institutions may be eligible for tuition benefits. For complete information, contact the Faculty Records office at the University of Pittsburgh (412-624- 4232) or UPMC Tuition Assistance Employee Service Center at 1-800-994-2752 (press option 3).

▼ Are there any funding opportunities at the ICRE that I could apply for to provide support for this PhD program?

Yes, the Clinical and Translational Science (CTS) Fellowship (TL1) is offered through the ICRE for pre- and post-doctoral students. The CTS fellowship application timeline and admission committee is completely separate from the PhD in CTS. Please refer to the CTS Fellowship page for more information.

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