Picture yourself on the cutting edge of medical innovation, able to help millions of people find treatments that work for them. If you have an undergraduate degree and a passion for healthcare research, you are a perfect candidate for a career in clinical research. People are waiting for your expertise in the next generation of modern medical research. You’ll really be able to make a difference.
Pursuing a career in clinical research is a great option for people who want to find the best medical treatments for patients, making sure these treatments will be safe and helpful for people who need them the most. If this sounds like something that’s right for you, you’ll want to know about the best online master’s in clinical research.
An online degree can help a busy person reach their goals on their own time, and with these great programs, you would be able to get the best possible education in a flexible way.
What Is a Clinical Research Master’s Degree?
While studying for a master’s degree in clinical research, you can expect to learn everything you’d need to know for a career in this field. You will delve into the science involved in developing new medical products and the ethics of doing research with human subjects. You’ll also look at the business side of research funding and the regulatory process of getting medical treatments approved for use.
Of course, the exact curriculum will vary based on the institution, but many classes will be similar across the board. You can expect to take classes in biostatistics, clinical trial management and design, and ethics. You will also be involved in lab practica where you will be required to take a hands-on approach to clinical research and participate in the development, execution, and evaluation process.
In order to qualify for admission to these programs, you will need to have an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution, preferably in a scientific field. Typically, you will be expected to have received an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0, though it’s possible to be admitted with a lower GPA in special circumstances. You will also need to have some degree of relevant professional experience, such as working in a clinical research lab or having an internship in a relevant field.
Careers for People with Clinical Research Master’s Degrees
Clinical research is a field that is growing as rapidly as medical technology can expand. With a master’s degree in the field, you will have a variety of career options that range from clinical operations manager to research scientist. There are also opportunities in grant writing in this field, and with a master’s in the subject, you’d be a viable candidate for these positions. If you wanted to pursue a doctoral degree in this subject, you’d be able to take on more leadership roles and earn more, but getting a doctorate is not always necessary in the clinical research field.
You would also have the option of pursuing a career in epidemiology, where you would be able to study diseases and disease control, aided by your clinical research abilities.
So, depending on your interest in doing the majority of your work in the lab versus managing studies or going for a scientific doctoral degree, there are many paths waiting for you.
Salary Potential for People with a Master’s in Clinical Research
Clinical research is a lucrative field that is continuing to grow as medical technology improves and expands its possibilities. With a master’s degree in clinical research, you would have the potential to earn salaries that are well above the national average, depending on the path you choose.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a medical scientist receives a median salary of $84,810 per year, though this position would typically require a doctoral degree. A clinical lab technician receives a median annual salary of $52,330, and an epidemiologist can expect to earn a median salary of $69,660 per year.
What Are the Best Master’s in Clinical Research?
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Ohio State University-Main Campus
Average Net Price
Fun fact, The Ohio State University is the only school in the country with the word “the” as a formal part of its name. The school also has a wide array of academic offerings, including – you guessed it! – an online clinical research master’s program.
There are two different paths a Buckeye might take to complete this online program: a Clinical Research Management track through the College of Nursing and a Regulatory Affairs track through the College of Pharmacy, both of which share certain core classes. The core classes for both tracks include courses in research conduct, fundamentals of development, and data analysis.
The Clinical Research Management track prepares students to be leaders of large-scale clinical research operations, and the courses in this track focus more on project management and risk management.
The Regulatory Affairs track, on the other hand, sets students up for careers in clinical research policy, taking a look at what’s needed to make sure research trials run smoothly and ethically and that patients can get the help they need. Both tracks require students to complete a culminating clinical research project.
Admission to both programs will require an undergraduate degree in any field. Prospective students must send their resumes or CVs, official transcripts, a $60 application fee, and three letters of recommendation, as well as a written statement of purpose. Non-native English speakers must pass an English proficiency test as well. The degree contains 36 total credits, and the average net price of attendance is $18,694.
Arizona State University-Tempe
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Getting an online degree from Arizona State University allows you to reap all the benefits of ASU’s programs while avoiding having to go to class in the brutally hot spring and summer weather that Tempe is known for. The school’s online Master’s in Clinical Research Management hosts renowned faculty, one of whom is a Fulbright Senior Scholar.
In this master’s program, which is housed in ASU’s Edson College of Nursing, students are expected to take 11 classes, each of which is worth three credits. The required classes include Clinical Research Monitoring, Regulatory Affairs, and Responsible Conduct of Clinical Research, and the program is intended to help graduates take leadership roles in the field.
Applicants must have an undergraduate degree from an accredited university and submit three letters of recommendation along with their resume or CV and official transcripts. Students should also have at least six months of relevant, full-time work experience from a job or internship in the clinical research field. The average net price for this degree is $13,731, making it one of the most affordable on our list.
George Washington University
Average Net Price
George Washington University, which is located in Washington, D.C. about four blocks from the White House, has an excellent Master’s in Clinical and Translational Research program, as well as a program for Clinical Research Administration.
According to GWU, both of these programs have a real-world focus, aiming at helping you learn as much as you need to in order to get a great job in your chosen field. The courses required for the Master of Science in Health Science in Clinical Research Administration include those in critical analysis in clinical research and medicine development. You will also be expected to take courses examining partnerships with human subjects and learn about epidemiology for clinical and translational research.
This program is intended for someone who is interested in working in the administrative and managerial sides of clinical research, possibly serving as a director of drug safety or on an institutional review board.
Alternatively, the Master of Science in Health Science in Clinical and Translational Research contains courses in biostatistics, bioinformatics, and grantsmanship in translational research. This program is great for someone who wants to be a research specialist or coordinator and wants to work hands-on with product development in a lab.
Both programs require a bachelor’s degree and at least a 3.0 GPA for eligibility, as well as a resume or CV, official transcripts, and an $80 application fee. Applicants are also expected to have healthcare work experience and must submit a short statement of purpose. They may also need to interview with a program director upon application completion. The average net price for this program is $39,600.
Saint Cloud State University
St. Cloud, Minnesota
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St. Cloud State University, located right on the Mississippi River in St. Cloud, MN, is known for its great hockey team. The school also has a notable online Master’s in Clinical Research, which is distinct from others in its focus on education and research on medical devices.
At SCSU, you will take classes in applied anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology; evidence-based medicine; and communications, among others. When finishing your degree, you’ll be able to choose whether you’d like to complete the clinical research capstone culminating project or an internship, depending on what your career goals are.
To be a St. Cloud Husky getting a Master of Science in Clinical Research, you must have an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject like science, engineering, math, or nursing and a GPA of at least 2.75. You will also need to submit your resume, and at least three years of work experience is recommended, though it is not always necessary for admission. This degree is among the most affordable on this list, clocking in at an average net price of $13,731.
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Drexel University, which represents itself with a dragon, has one of the coolest mascots around. The school is located in Philadelphia and has made a name for itself with its great programs, including its online Master’s in Clinical Research Management, Organization, and Administration.
This program says that it’s “tailored for experienced research professionals seeking credentials and clinical management skills” and is therefore aimed at the administrative side of clinical research. A student must complete 36 credits to graduate, and the courses cover subjects like new product research and development, ethics and law, regulatory affairs, and new therapeutic product business and strategic planning.
To be eligible for this program, you should have a 3.0 GPA from your undergraduate degree from an accredited institution and two years of relevant professional experience. You are also required to send two letters of recommendation, your resume, transcripts, and an essay of past successes and future objectives. This degree has a net average price of $36,727.
Loyola University Chicago
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Loyola University Chicago is a Jesuit university located in North Chicago, right on the shores of Lake Michigan. If you can’t make it to the Windy City, however, you can choose to complete Loyola’s MS in Clinical Research Methods and Epidemiology online instead, avoiding having to face the harsh colds of Chicago’s winters, all while still receiving a great education.
This program is unique, however, in that you must be employed as a clinician or health care professional at Loyola University Chicago in order to apply. If you don’t fit that category, then another program on this list will likely be better suited for you.
Loyola University Chicago’s Master of Science in Clinical Research Methods and Epidemiology degree is also unique because of its focus on epidemiology, which isn’t always found in other programs. As a student here, you will be taking core classes in epidemiology, biostatistics, research ethics, and grant writing, with elective options in courses like Epidemiology of Obesity and Environmental Health. You will also be required to complete a research project before the conclusion of your studies.
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At the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, located in Boston, you will be a part of a student body focused on healthcare innovation, which is also the perfect place to get an advanced degree in clinical research.
The Master’s of Science in Clinical Research program at MCPHS contains a variety of core classes, including Pharmaceutical Research and Development, FDA and Regulatory Affairs, Health Epidemiology, and Research Methodology. You will be able to choose from electives such as Law and Health Policy of Drugs and Devices, Global Pharmaceutical Policy, Mass Communication and Health, and Genetics and Public Health, among others. After graduation, you will have the opportunity to work on a broader industry level or smaller, looking at individual patients and their needs.
In order to be admitted to this program, you must have a bachelor’s degree, preferably in a related field, and work experience in a relevant field. The average net price for this degree is $39,665.
Buies Creek, North Carolina
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Campbell University is a private Baptist university near Raleigh, NC. It is another school offering an online program for a Master’s in Clinical Research, where graduates are expected to be prepared for careers in pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, government agencies, hospitals, and universities, among other places.
The course offerings for Campbell’s Master of Science in Clinical Research include those covering healthcare economics, project management, biopharmaceutics, and bioterrorism, to name only a few. Students must also complete a four-part research project over the course of four different classes.
Campbell University houses a group called the Graduate Clinical Research Organization, which is intended to keep open communication between the MSCR students and university faculty. This is a unique opportunity for students to form real relationships and mentorships with their experienced faculty, helping them in their future careers.
Admission to Campbell University’s MSCR program requires a bachelor’s degree and a 3.0 GPA, as well as science and statistics prerequisites easily attained with a relevant undergraduate degree. The average net price of attendance is $23,222.
University of North Carolina Wilmington
Wilmington, North Carolina
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UNCW – represented by the Seahawks because it’s North Carolina’s coastal university – offers a highly-ranked online clinical research program that would be good for someone seeking a degree that isn’t lab-based. Through completing this program, UNCW expects students to be prepared for mid- to upper-level roles in biopharmaceutics or similar fields.
The courses required for a clinical research degree from UNCW include Clinical Research Monitoring and Ethics, Advanced Scientific Writing and Interpreting Medical Literature, Regulatory Affairs and Quality Management, and Clinical Research Trial Design and Data Management. To fulfill the 36 required credit hours, though, you must pick from other courses, including Pharmacotherapeutics for Clinical Research and Product Development, Epidemiology and Safety, Current Issues in Global Regulatory Development and Management, and Innovative Drug Product Development.
To apply for a spot in UNCW’s program, you should have an undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline, like life sciences, healthcare, or math, and at least a 3.0 undergraduate GPA. You should also have at least two years of related experience in biopharmaceuticals or a similar field and three letters of recommendation, at least one of which must come from a current or former employer in this field. This is on top of the transcripts and resumes you must send, as well as a brief essay outlining your career goals and interest in receiving this degree.
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Xavier University was founded in 1831, and if you attend the Cincinnati school, you will be a student at one of the oldest Catholic and Jesuit universities in the country. Xavier offers an online Master’s in Health Economics and Clinical Outcomes Research, which requires 39 credits to complete.
These credits include core courses introducing students to the HECOD master’s degree, as well as introductions to epidemiologic concepts and applications and health ethics in informatics and research. To earn this degree at Xavier, you must also complete courses in economics and healthcare systems, economic evaluation and marketing, statistics and analytics, and two capstone courses.
Admission to Xavier requires a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university and a 3.0 undergraduate GPA. In addition, the school would like you to have three years of work experience in a related field, as the degree is designed for working professionals who have an interest in growing their knowledge and enhancing their career opportunities. Selected candidates will also need to conduct an interview with an admissions officer. The cost of tuition for this program is $26,520.
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