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MS in Clinical & Translational Science

The Master’s in Clinical and Translational Science curriculum is designed for healthcare professionals, clinical investigators, and other individuals interested in working in translational science. The curriculum was updated for Fall 2020 to include 4 emphasis tracks and better incorporate the full translational spectrum in this rapidly growing field. 

Students can complete the 36-credit program in 2 years full-time or in up to 4 years part-time. 

CTS MS_Intro Card

Message from the Director

Leonard Egede, MD, MSLeonard Egede, MD, MS

Director, MS in Clinical & Translational Science

legede@mcw.edu
(414) 805-0840

There is a growing recognition that the clinical and translational research workforce remains inadequate to answer the challenges of our healthcare system. On average, it takes 17 years to move a scientific discovery into clinical practice.1 The opportunities for participating in the innovation happening from “bench to bedside” is growing, and a new translational gap of “bedside to community” has opened up. We re-designed our Master’s of Science in Clinical and Translational Science program to directly fill those gaps and train the next generation of health care professionals, clinical investigators, and research scientists for a career at any point along the translational continuum. We also specifically designed 4 new Certificates that offer a structured training opportunity to those who want to learn more about the field and gain additional knowledge and research skills, rather than obtain an MS degree.

To date we have graduated 130 clinical and translational research scientists, including 111 from the Master’s program, 14 Certificate, and 5 MD/MS dual degree students. Our graduates are working in a diversity of workplaces including the Medical College of Wisconsin, pharmaceutical companies, and a multitude of medical centers across the United States. We welcome you to join our program and learn the foundations of translational research, clinical statistics, epidemiology, ethics and safety, and study designs across the translational continuum. Degree candidates will then select one of four tracks and complete a thesis, after completion of core and elective courses. As a Certificate student you would select an emphasis track and complete four courses with our degree students to provide foundational material and research skills specific to your interests. We invite you to browse the curriculum outline, emphasis tracks, and course schedule as you consider our program. We believe our scientific and medical workforce will benefit from trainees with a diversity of backgrounds, prior training, interests, and career plans, so we aim to incorporate discussion and debate into many of our courses. We also believe that a well-trained and dedicated workforce can meet the needs of our healthcare system, so we value scientific rigor and excellence.

The Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) is one of the largest private medical schools in the United States, and the only academic medical center in southeastern Wisconsin. As an institution that values education, research, clinical care, and community engagement, we are an ideal location to learn clinical and translational research skills that span the full translational continuum. Please feel free to contact our program staff for further information, and we look forward to your application!

1 Green et al. Am J of Public Health, 2009.

Clinical & Translational Science MS Program

About the Program

About the Program

The goal of the Master’s in Clinical and Translational Science (MSCTS) degree is to train the next generation of health care professionals, clinical investigators, research scientists, and other individuals working in translational research sciences.

The curriculum incorporates the full spectrum of the translational continuum (T0 through T5) and provides training and skills to position candidates to be successful in the growing field of Clinical and Translational Science. Topics covered include foundations of translational research, clinical statistics, epidemiology, ethics and safety, and study designs across the continuum.

Students completing the program will select from one of four emphasis tracks:
1. Translational Science
2. Population Science
3. Health System Science
4. Community-Based Science

Additional program information is available on the CTSI website.

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Curriculum

Curriculum

The Master of Science in Clinical and Translational Science consists of 36 credit hours. 18 credits are required courses, 6-9 credits are from thesis hours, and the remaining 9-12 credits can be chosen from suggested electives based on a student’s emphasis track. The program is designed to be completed within two (2) academic years, however students have up to four (4) calendar years to complete all requirements per Graduate School Policy.

Core Courses – 18 credits

  • Introduction to Clinical and Translational Science
  • Clinical Statistics I
  • Introduction to Epidemiology 
  • Foundations in Health Services Research
  • Regulatory Issues in Human Subject Research Protections Research Seminar

Electives – 9-12 credits

  • Electives are suggested based on student’s emphasis track. See Emphasis Track descriptions for more information on course suggestions and offerings.
  • Electives can be selected from CTSI courses or courses offered by academic partners, including MCW programs in Public Health and the UWM Zilber School of Public Health.

Thesis – 6-9 credits

  • A thesis is required of all Master’s degree seeking students.

Sample MSCTS Course Schedule 

Fall Year 1: 9 credits

  • Introduction to Clinical and Translational Science
  • Clinical Statistics I
  • Introduction to Epidemiology 

Spring Year 1: 9 credits 

  • Research Seminar
  • Foundations in Health Services Research 
  • Regulatory Issues in Human Subject Research Protections 

Summer: Optional 3 credits

  • Research Elective (required for MD/MS)

Fall Year 2: 9 credits

  • Thesis – 3 credits
  • Emphasis Elective (6-9 credits)

Spring Year 2: 9 credits

  • Thesis – 3-6 credits
  • Emphasis Elective (3-6 credits)
 
Emphasis Tracks

Emphasis Tracks

Students completing the program will select from one of four emphasis tracks:

1. Translational Science
This track is focused on the foundational principles of the translational process. This “bench-to-bedside” process involves moving discoveries from their basic foundation to clinical settings. Discoveries of focus include diagnostics, therapeutics, medical procedures, and other interventions. Suggested electives for this program include Translational Genomics and Survey of Biomedical Engineering.

2. Population Science
There are a variety of factors that can influence health outcomes at a population level, and this track will focus on the relationship between these factors, health, and research. This program will focus on factors such as socioeconomic status, health disparities, social determinants of health, healthcare systems, environment, and policies. Suggested electives include Health Economics, Introduction to Statistics using Stata, Regression using Stata, and Health and Medical Geography.

3. Health System Science
The focus of this track is on principles and processes within the healthcare system. The topics of focus will include delivery of healthcare, how healthcare professionals work together, and improvements that can be made within the system to improve healthcare delivery. Suggested electives for this program include Health Economics, Health and Medical Geography, Dissemination and Implementation Science, and Qualitative Research Methods.

4. Community Based Science
This track is focused on engaging the community in research being conducted near the end of the translational spectrum. Emphasis is placed on collaboration with community members and organizations to promote engagement in developing community-wide approaches to improve health for all. Suggested electives include Health Disparities, Health and Medical Geography, Dissemination and Implementation Science, and Qualitative Research Methods.

Admissions

Admissions

The MS in CTS program application cycle is open from January – July. Applications will be reviewed and admission decisions will be made on a rolling basis. Students are only admitted once per year to start in the Fall semester.

Before applying students are encouraged to ensure they meet the minimum requirements:

  • Baccalaureate degree - official transcripts required
  • 3.0 cumulative GPA preferred
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement describing reasons for interest in the program and career goals
  • Strong foundation in quantitative or biological sciences
  • TOEFL scores for students who do not use English as their primary language of communication is required. A TOEFL score of 100 or higher is deal, the Institution Code is 1519.

Note that the GRE is not required for program admission.


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Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions

Core Courses

*20101 Introduction to Clinical and Translational Science     3 credit hours. Fall 
The course will provide the student with a broad understanding of clinical translational science. By the end of the course the student will be able to understand key concepts underlying translational research including methods used to move basic science discoveries to clinical practice and enhancing the health of the public through the provision of evidence-based care. Coursework will include weekly reading of peer reviewed manuscripts, assignments, and a final project. Weekly classes will include discussion of reading and assignments are designed to allow practice of critically reading and planning translational science projects. The course will meet once per week for a total of 18 weeks.

*20220 Clinical Statistics I. 3 credit hours. Fall 
This is an introductory course in evidence discovery that demonstrates the concepts and application of statistical techniques/tools, given the role of statistics as an information science. The course is intended to inform and provide quantitative skills for graduate students interested in undertaking research in clinical medicine, epidemiology, public health, translational and biomedical sciences. This course emphasizes the basic dogma of statistics namely the central tendency theorem as well as sampling as the core of statistics. With the characterization of statistics as descriptive and inferential, the descriptive arm of statistics is stressed in this course namely summary statistics. Basic probability concepts are covered to stress the importance of sampling prior to reliable inference from the sample data. Sample estimation of the population and the precision (confidence interval) are described as well as the hypothesis testing notion in inferential statistics. The parametric and non-parametric methods are introduced with the intent to describe the methods as applicable to continuous (ratio, interval, cardinal) and discrete (categorical binary, dichotomous) data. 

*20151 Introduction to Epidemiology 3 credit hours. Fall 
This course is designed to provide epidemiology research methodologies to clinical practical applications. Topics include diagnostic testing, meta-analysis, qualitative research, data collection and survey design. Students will learn to apply research methodologies to large data sets or populations, while understanding the reliability, and validity of their methods.

*20160 Foundations in Health Services Research.    3 credit hours. Spring 
The course will provide the student with a broad understanding of health services research design and methodology, as well as provide the student with the opportunity to engage in a mentored, individualized, in-depth study experience. By the end of the course the student will be able to understand key theories that serve as the foundation of health services research and understand the process of developing a research idea and translating it into an R-series level NIH proposal. Coursework will include weekly reading of peer-reviewed manuscripts, one introductory textbook on health services research, and one introductory textbook on designing clinical research. Weekly classes will include discussion of reading and assignments are designed to allow practice of critically reading and planning health services research projects. 

*10226 Regulatory Issues in Human Subject Research Protections 3 credit hours. Spring 
There is no question that the fruits of research have fueled medical progress. Yet, the history of research involving human subjects is not unblemished. Federal regulations, based on ethical principles set forth in the Belmont Report, now govern much of the research undertaken in the United States. In this course, we will explore the history and substance of research regulations in the United States, the application of the regulations to specific research issues, and situations where the regulations do not provide clear guidance.

*20302 Research Seminar. 3 credit hours. Fall
The goal of this course is to provide Master's students protected time to develop their thesis questions and to provide students with an opportunity to receive feedback on their thesis project at regular intervals in a structured format. By the end of the course students will be able to develop a research question, conduct a comprehensive literature review, select appropriate methods to answer the research question, and present their
findings in written and oral formats. This course will also teach students how to provide constructive criticism and to effectively evaluate the work of their peers. Coursework will include developing a systematic review, providing constructive critiques of the work of other students in the seminar, developing a PowerPoint presentation, and developing a scientific poster presentation. All MS students will be required to take the course. First year Master’s students will develop their research question, complete a through literature review of the topic of interest in the form of a systematic review, and begin to identify methods that will be used to answer their research question. While second year students will conduct the necessary steps to answer their research question, write their results and conclusions, and prepare an oral presentation of their thesis work to be presented before their colleagues at the end of the semester and during MCW student research day. All students will be expected to provide feedback to their classmates and will receive feedback from their peers and the course director. Each class period four students will present some aspect of their project and will receive feedback from peers and the course director. The course will meet once per week for a total of 18 weeks. 

*20299 – Master’s Thesis    
6-9 credit hours. Fall, Spring, Summer 
6-9 Master's Thesis credits are required for program completion. All students will complete a Master’s thesis describing a translational or clinical research project in which he or she participated in both the design and execution. The Committee will be comprised of a thesis mentor and two additional faculty members (one of whom is a biostatistician). The Committee will approve the project in advance, will provide guidance and supervision of the project, and will critique and, if appropriate, approve the thesis.

Suggested Electives


20262 Introduction to Health Economics. 3 credit hours. Fall 
The course is an introduction to health economics both theoretical and applied. By the end of the course the student will be able to understand the basics of health economics including the principles and research methodology used to apply economic concepts to the health field. Coursework will include weekly reading of peer-reviewed manuscripts and one introductory textbooks on health care economics.  Weekly classes will include discussion of reading and course projects are designed to allow practice of critically reading and conducting health economic research. 
Emphasis Track(s) suggested for: Population Science, Health Systems Science

20120 Introduction to Health Disparities Research 3 credit hours. Fall 
The course is an introduction to health disparities. By the end of the course, the student will be able to understand the relationship between inequities in social determinants of health and health outcomes in various populations. Coursework will include weekly readings from one textbook on multicultural medicine and health disparities as well as peer-reviewed articles to demonstrate the concepts in real-world experiences. Weekly classes will include discussion of the readings. Course projects will be assigned and are designed to allow practice of critically reading and appraising the literature related to applied health disparities research and also to understand the theoretical bases for health equity research. The course will meet once per week for a total of 18 weeks. 
Emphasis Track(s) suggested for: Community Based Science

20241 Translational Genomics. 3 credit hours. Spring
The primary goal of this course is to teach students how to develop a research program to ask relevant genetic questions in the clinical setting utilizing the molecular genetics toolbox. To this end, students will be provided with background in molecular genetics strategies and study designs as well as an understanding of common genetics questions emanating from the clinic so that they will be better able to make connections between bench and bedside. In addition, they will be challenged to think creatively and through a translational focus during course‐long case studies and group projects. 
Emphasis Track(s) suggested for: Translational Science

20260 Introduction to Dissemination and Implementation Science. 3 credit hours. Spring
The course is an introduction to dissemination and implementation and science research methods both theoretical and applied. By the end of the course the student will be able to understand the science of dissemination and implementation, and applied methods for dissemination and implementation. Coursework will include weekly reading of peer-reviewed manuscripts and one introductory textbooks on dissemination and implementation science.  Weekly classes will include discussion of reading and course projects are designed to allow practice of critically reading and planning implementation research. 
Emphasis Track(s) suggested for: Health Systems Science, Community Based Science

20265 Clinical Quality Improvement.  3 credit hours. Spring 
The course will address core content in process improvement as well as provide active learning in the implementation of a quality improvement project. Specific content will include:
- Understanding a problem and framing a question
- Utilization of teams
- Process improvement approaches including workouts, rapid cycle improvement, Lean, Six σ
- Use of tools such as process mapping, root cause analysis, driver diagrams, A3's
- Understanding metrics and measurement
- Approaches to change management - Kotter, ADKAR
Emphasis Track(s) suggested for: Health Systems Science

Other Electives

19225 Introduction to Statistics using Stata. 3 credit hours. Fall
This course will provide an introduction to the foundations of using Stata for data analysis through an applied format. Statistical analyses covered will include descriptive statistics, univariate and bivariate analysis, and basic regression. Students will become acquainted with the basics of cleaning and organizing datasets, completing descriptive analysis, coding and interpreting results of univariate and bivariate analyses, as well as, linear and logistic regression. By the end of the course students will be able to analyze data independently and interpret results. Coursework will include weekly reading, in-class Stata analyses, and completion of a focused course project developed throughout the semester. Course projects will allow students to develop their skill set and experience independently coding in Stata to complete statistical analyses and interpreting results within the context of strengths and limitations of their data. The final project will also incorporate both literature review and developing a research question that can be analyzed using existing data
Department: Public and Community Health
Emphasis Track(s) suggested for: Population Science, Health Systems Science

19226 Regression Analysis using Stata. 3 credit hours. Spring
This course will provide an introduction to the foundations regression through hands-on training in advanced regression techniques using Stata. Statistical analyses covered will include multiple linear regression, analysis of variance, logistic, polytomous, and ordinal logistic regression, and mixed models. Students will become acquainted with the basics of coding and interpreting results of regression analyses, as well as, diagnostics to confirm correct model fit. By the end of the course students will be able to conduct regression analyses independently and interpret results. Coursework will include weekly reading, in-class Stata analyses, and completion of a focused course project developed throughout the semester. Course projects will allow students to develop their skill set independently coding in Stata to complete statistical analyses and interpreting results within the context of strengths and limitations of each test. The final project will also incorporate both literature review and developing a research question that can be analyzed using existing data.
Prerequisites: Introduction to Statistics using Stata (19225)
Department: Public and Community Health
Emphasis Track(s) suggested for: Population Science, Health Systems Science

19210 Health and Medical Geography. 3 credit hours. Fall
Geography and physical and social environments have important implications for human health and health care. This course will explore the intersections among geography, environments and public health, with an emphasis on geographical analysis approaches for health data, to address two key questions: (1) How can concepts from geography help us to better understand health and well-being? (2) How can geographic tools, such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS) be used to address pressing questions in health and medical research?
Department: Public and Community Health
Emphasis Track(s) suggested for: Population Science, Community Based Science

19230 Qualitative and Mixed Methods. 3 credit hours. Fall
Qualitative and mixed methods can be highly useful in the conduct of community-based population health research. This course will provide introductory classroom and field-based learning experience in qualitative and mixed methods research. Students will receive training in the design, implementation, analysis, and synthesis or qualitative and mixed methods. Emphasis will be given to the appropriate uses of commonly-used methods in community-based health research. Course participation will provide students with the basic foundation necessary to develop a research study using qualitative or mixed method designs. This course is for graduate students in the doctoral degree program for Public and Community Health.
Department: Public and Community Health
Emphasis Track(s) suggested for: Community Based Science

18258 Advanced Epidemiological Methods.   3 credit hours. Spring (even years)
Builds on introductory epidemiology courses by providing a more in-depth understanding of fundamental epidemiologic principles presented in introductory epidemiologic courses such as study design and bias. This course also emphasizes more advanced concepts needed in establishing causal relationships from observational data. It is particularly relevant to students who intend to conduct studies investigating the occurrence and determinants of diseases or who wish to be sophisticated consumers or critics of epidemiologic research conducted by others. The course emphasizes practical application of Epidemiologic Methods to real world problems.
Prerequisites: Principles of Epidemiology (18201) or equivalent
Department: Public Health
Emphasis Track(s) suggested for: Population Science, Health Systems Science

14200 Survey of Biomedical Engineering   3 credit hours. Fall
This course is a review of biomedical technologies employed in medicine for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of chronic and acute diseases. The goal of the course is to familiarize students with the operating principles, economic aspects of technology use in clinical practice. Over the duration of the course each student will prepare three reports and one lecture on the use of technology in medicine.
Department: Healthcare Technologies Management
Emphasis Track(s) suggested for: Translational Science

PH 706 Perspectives in Community and Behavioral Health. 3 credit hours. Fall 
Geography and physical and social environments have important implications for human health and health care. This course will explore the intersections among geography, environments and public health, with an emphasis on geographical analysis approaches for health data, to address two key questions: (1) How can concepts from geography help us to better understand health and well-being? (2) How can geographic tools, such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS) be used to address pressing questions in health and medical research?
UWM-Zilber School of Public Health
Emphasis Track(s) suggested for: Community Based Science

PH 719 Social Justice in Public Health. 3 credit hours. Spring
Geography and physical and social environments have important implications for human health and health care. This course will explore the intersections among geography, environments and public health, with an emphasis on geographical analysis approaches for health data, to address two key questions: (1) How can concepts from geography help us to better understand health and well-being? (2) How can geographic tools, such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS) be used to address pressing questions in health and medical research?
UWM-Zilber School of Public Health
Emphasis Track(s) suggested for: Community Based Science

* indicates core course in the MS program
Faculty

Faculty

A list of faculty and their bios can be is available on the Faculty Bios & Research page.
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Tuition and Fees

Tuition and Fees

If you have questions regarding tuition or your account, please contact the Office of Student Accounts, at (414) 955-8172 or mcwtuition@mcw.edu. Please refer to the All Student Handbook (PDF) for tuition payment policies and information.

Masters, Certificate & Non-Degree Students
Students seeking financial aid for MPH, MS or MA degree programs, visit the Financial Aid Office website.

Current MCW Employees
Tuition Course Approval Form - Human Resources (PDF)

Late Fees
There will be a $100 late registration fee for anyone not completing registration by the date indicated on the schedule each semester.

There is also a $250 late payment fee for tuition not paid on time according to the Tuition Payments policy in the All Student Handbook (PDF).

Late payment fee is in addition to any late registration fee.

Contact Us

MCW Graduate School
8701 Watertown Plank Rd.
Milwaukee, WI 53226

(414) 955-8218
(414) 955-0084 (fax)
gradschool@mcw.edu

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