Clinical Research Degree Programs and Certification

A career in clinical research involves investigating the causes of diseases and working to find new treatments. Get information on the types of degree programs offered, see what you'll study, and learn about professional certification opportunities. Schools offering Clinical Laboratory Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Kinds of Clinical Research Programs Are Available?

Several schools offer degree programs specifically in clinical research primarily at the bachelor's and master's levels. These programs focus on teaching you laboratory practices, research methods, clinical testing and pharmaceutical sciences. At the doctoral level, most programs emphasize research, though some offer targeted clinical research training through nursing, pharmaceutical and biomedical programs. You could also earn a Ph.D. degree in clinical research simultaneously with a medical or veterinary degree. As an alternative, you can find clinical management or administration degree programs at associate through doctoral levels that combine business and clinical research courses.

Program Levels Associate's degree, bachelor's degree, master's degree, doctorate
Common Courses Undergraduate: Medical technologies, experimentation and research, laboratory science, physiology, pharmaceuticals
Master's: Health policy, clinical methodology, biotechnology
Doctorate: Biostatistics, pharmacology, genetics, immunology, grant writing
Online Availability Bachelor's and master's programs may be available online
Certification Options Voluntary certification is available from many organizations

What Would I Learn?

At the undergraduate level, courses introduce you to laboratory science, pharmaceuticals, physiology and medical technologies. You'll receive in-depth training in biological and chemical experimentation and research. In a master's degree program, you could pursue studies specific to a particular discipline or select electives in a specific science, such as biotechnology, clinical trial work or health policy. At both levels, you could be required to draft several papers on pharmaceuticals, clinical methodologies or other topic requiring significant research. You might also spend considerable time in an on-campus lab or internship training.

Doctoral programs also center on research at an advanced level. Courses might discuss directed research topics in genetics, biostatistics, epidemiology and pharmacology. In a combined veterinary or medical degree program, you'll generally participate in interdisciplinary research that could cover toxicology, comparative or translational medicine, immunology, experimental science and grant writing.

If you're more business-oriented, programs in laboratory and project coordination and management divide courses between clinical research methods and administration of researchers, projects and practices. Associate and bachelor's degree programs teach you how to manage research sites and projects, providing fundamental instruction in leadership. Master's degree programs cover the innovative technologies, testing methods and safety standards you'll need to know to successfully oversee a research lab or project.

Are These Programs Offered Online?

You can find some bachelor's and master's degree programs that offer coursework online. Your online studies acquaint you with research and management strategies and give you the chance to study subjects in regulatory compliance, legal issues and ethical standards in-depth. Often offered completely online, these programs typically don't require practical fieldwork.

What Certifications Are Available?

You can earn voluntary certifications for both clinical research practice or administration of research projects. Organizations, such as the Society of Clinical Research Associates and the Association of Clinical Research Professionals, offer credentials applicable to associate and professional clinical researchers as well as research coordinators. To earn certification, you might need to be a member of the organization, have sufficient work experience or complete a degree program in clinical research. Alternatively, the Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society provides a credential that demonstrates your expertise in healthcare product regulations.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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