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.)

BIOS:4120Introduction to Biostatistics3 s.h.
EPID:4400Epidemiology I: Principles3 s.h.
EPID:5241Statistical Methods in Epidemiology4 s.h.
EPID:5500Introduction to Clinical Epidemiology3 s.h.
EPID:5610Intermediate Epi Data Analysis with SAS and R3 s.h.
EPID:6000Independent Study in Epidemiology2 s.h.
EPID:6150Writing for Medical Journals1 s.h.
EPID:6400Epidemiology II: Advanced Methods4 s.h.
EPID:6950Clinical Research Ethics2 s.h.
CPH:6100Essentials of Public Health2 s.h.
CPH:7270Principles 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:

EPID:5214Meta-analysis of Epidemiologic Studies3 s.h.
EPID:6100Writing a Grant Proposal3 s.h.
EPID:6900Intervention & Clinical Trials3 s.h.
EPID:6910Pharmacoepidemiology3 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.