Education & Training

Since the establishment of Clinical Sciences’ training and career development program in 2005, UT Southwestern has emerged as a leader in the nationwide initiative to improve the training available to investigators interested in pursuing a career in clinical and translational research.

The program attracts individuals of exceptional aptitude from a wide range of medical and scientific disciplines and backgrounds. These trainees are immersed in a unique and rigorous multidisciplinary program that will prepare them to become leaders of the next generation of clinical investigators.

Our mission is to help train and launch the careers of predoctoral, doctoral, and postdoctoral trainees across all disciplines and including all Partnering Institutions of the Center for Translational Medicine. This will be accomplished by providing outstanding education, training, and career development programs that meet the trainees' short, intermediate, and long-term clinical and translational science educational needs.

Overview

All degree and certificate programs are offered through the Southwestern Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Program applicants must meet the eligibility and admission requirements of the Graduate School and of the Department of Clinical Sciences.

Degree & Certificate Programs

Master of Science in Clinical Science with Distinction

This track, designed for postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty of exceptional scholarship and aptitude for critical thinking, is intensely focused on long-term career development. It is intended for individuals who are current fellows, faculty, or who have been offered a faculty position that will allow them the time and departmental support needed to pursue research-focused career goals. Graduates from this track will be equipped to become independent principle investigators of research grants, capable of leading multidisciplinary research teams and will become leaders in their particular field of interest.

Master of Science in Clinical Science

Designed for postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty, this track is intended for individuals who are current postdoctoral fellows, faculty, or who have been offered a fellowship or faculty position that will allow them the time and departmental support needed to pursue research-focused career goals. Graduates from this track will be equipped to apply for funding as independent investigators. 

Graduate Certificate

This track is designed for postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty. It is intended for individuals who are current fellows, faculty, or have been offered a fellowship or faculty position that will allow them the time and departmental support needed to pursue research-focused career goals. Graduates from this track will be pivotal participants in clinical research studies and programs.

Basic Certificate

This track partners with the university’s Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowship program. It is designed to develop promising student researchers who intend to pursue careers in patient-oriented research but who may not pursue formal graduate education in research (i.e., doctoral training).

Mechanisms of Disease (Ph.D.)

This track is designed for basic science graduate students in the Integrative Biology Graduate Program who are dedicated to careers in translational research.

M.D./Masters Program

This track partners with the Medical School and is designed to develop promising medical students into translational clinical researchers who are fluent in both medical and scientific processes.

Curriculum

Didactic Courses

UT Southwestern offers one of the nation’s most comprehensive clinical research curricula. Currently, 24 full-semester courses in research principles and methods are offered through the Southwestern Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

These didactic courses were developed entirely with the clinical investigator in mind and were not taken from other previously designed courses or programs. Instructors include faculty and clinical investigators with a wide range of expertise including clinical research design and methods, biostatistics, epidemiology, and outcomes and health services research.

Socratic Curriculum

This program includes a highly innovative Socratic curriculum to complement the didactic curriculum. The Socratic curriculum consists of a rich selection of seminars and workshops, conducted using an interactive approach, which provides continuous opportunities for clinical investigators to exchange ideas, present and defend their work, critique the work of others, promote multidisciplinary team-building, build an institutional reputation as an expert in their field, and participate in forums imitating real-life conditions of peer-review.

Practicum

The primary goal of the practicum research experience is to take the student through all of the experiences typical of an independent clinical investigator, while in a supportive, mentored environment. Practicum components are selected for the trainee based on the track entered.

Mentored Research Project

Trainees should function as the lead investigator in a study that involves the prospective collection of data (and thus may not rely primarily on existing data). The specific project may be developed by the mentor(s) and should serve as an introduction to clinical or translational research practices. All training tracks are required to complete a mentored research project.

Critical Literature Review

Under the mentor’s guidance the trainee will carry out a thorough review of the literature pertinent to the trainee’s chosen field of focus, critically analyze the evidence, and identify specific questions to be prospectively addressed in future research. This review of the literature should be presented in the form of a formal journal article of publishable quality. This should be a career-founding article.

Clinical Research Scholars are required to complete this project. Masters students, under program advisement, may either complete this project or a Grant Application, depending on their current career path.

Independent Research Project

The trainee should develop an independent research project proposal, which can be submitted as a pilot award application (when funding is needed to provide preliminary data for a formal K23/R01 or equivalent grant application). The Clinical Research Scholar is required to carry out independent clinical research where he or she functions as the principal investigator and oversees a research team to carry out the proposed research. 

Grant Application

As the capstone to the Masters Programs, trainees should develop a full K23/R01 or equivalent peer-reviewed grant application based on their area of focus and drawing from their Independent Research Project and Critical Literature Review. Clinical Research Scholars are required to complete this project. Masters students may complete this project or a Critical Literature Review.

For questions about research practicum project requirements, deliverables, and review and approval processes please email ctsaeducation@utsouthwestern.edu.

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