MS in Clinical Investigation

The M.S. in Clinical Investigation is offered by the Department of Epidemiology in cooperation with the University of Iowa’s Institute for Clinical and Translational Science. The program is designed for clinicians interested in pursuing careers in clinical research.

Degree Description and Learner Objectives

Graduates of the program will acquire proficiency in the conduct of independent clinical research, including hypothesis development, study design, knowledge of research ethics, survey development, data collection, basic and advanced statistical analyses, and interpretation of results. At program completion, clinical scholars will be able to critically evaluate clinical literature, write a competitive grant proposal, design and conduct a clinical research project, work effectively with other researchers and support staff, and disseminate research results through scientific manuscripts and presentations.

Graduates of the MS in Clinical Investigation will be able to fulfill the following competencies:

  1. Identify the steps involved in developing clinical research questions, including preparing the background and significance sections of a research proposal.
  2. Analyze literature to identify gaps in knowledge
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of how to implement a clinical research study, taking into account the potential sources of error and including elements of translational research, where appropriate
  4. Utilize appropriate statistical techniques to analyze data
  5. Discuss issues related to biomedical informatics as they impact clinical research
  6. Apply principles of responsible conduct of research and clinical research ethics
  7. Communicate clinical research findings effectively in writing and orally
  8. Discuss issues related to building and maintaining a multidisciplinary research team.


The MS in Clinical Investigation degree requires a prerequisite of at least 6 credit hours from the disciplines of pathology, physiology, and/or pharmacology. Students accepted into the MS in Clinical Investigation Program who have not had at least 6 hours of pathology/physiology/pharmacology may concurrently take the necessary courses to meet the requirements during enrollment in the program.

Required General Courses (28 s.h.)

Number Course Hours
BIOS:4120 Introduction to Biostatistics 3 s.h.
EPID:4400 Epidemiology I: Principles 3 s.h.
EPID:5241 Statistical Methods in Epidemiology 4 s.h.
EPID:5500 Introduction to Clinical Epidemiology 3 s.h.
EPID:5610 Intermediate Epi Data Analysis with SAS and R 3 s.h.
EPID:6000 Independent Study in Epidemiology 2 s.h.
EPID:6150 Writing for Medical Journals 1 s.h.
EPID:6400 Epidemiology II: Advanced Methods 4 s.h.
EPID:6950 Clinical Research Ethics 2 s.h.
CPH:6100 Essentials of Public Health 2 s.h.
CPH:7270 Principles of Scholarly Integrity (taken first year in the fall and spring semesters for 0 s.h. and 1 s.h. respectively) 1 s.h.

Electives (9 s.h.)

Students must earn a minimum of 9 s.h. in elective course work, which must include at least 6 s.h. in a research interest area.

Research Interest Areas

See the Student Handbook or the General Catalog for a list of electives available in each of the following focus areas:

  • Community Studies
  • Epidemiology
  • Health Services Epidemiology
  • Informatics
  • Nutrition Science
  • Outcomes and Health Services Research
  • Pharmacy Science
  • Statistical Methods

In addition the following courses are highly recommended electives:

Number Course Hours
EPID:5214 Meta-analysis of Epidemiologic Studies 3 s.h.
EPID:6100 Writing a Grant Proposal 3 s.h.
EPID:6900 Intervention & Clinical Trials 3 s.h.
EPID:6910 Pharmacoepidemiology 3 s.h.

Capstone Requirement

In addition to completing the program’s required course work, students must write a thesis in the form of a manuscript, or a grant proposal for a National Institutes of Health (NIH) career award or its equivalent, with oral defense. Graduate students must maintain a g.p.a. of at least 3.00. Those who receive a grade of C in 7 s.h. of course work may be dismissed from the program.