Master's of Science Degree in Clinical Investigation (MSCI) Overview

NEW APPLICATION DEADLINE FOR SPRING 2015:

OCTOBER 1ST

The MSCI Program was established in September 2000 – the first class was enrolled in August 2001. The MSCI Program is part of the Institute for Integration of Medicine and Science, which is funded by a Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Institutes of Health, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NIH/NCATS) (UL1 TR001120). The MSCI Program is interdisciplinary and involves all five UT Health Science Center Schools. Fellows, students, faculty, and staff from all disciplines and affiliated programs at UT Health Science Center Schools are eligible to enroll in the MSCI program.

Experienced faculties direct each course and take responsibility for designing the teaching materials with the course leaders. Specific learning objectives and discussionbased activities have been created for each weekly session. Teams of instructors (course faculty), who are particularly qualified to teach the selected topics, deliver these integrated courses.

The course format emphasizes active learning with readings, problem solving, and homework assignments for each week. The assigned work is reviewed and analyzed in weekly sessions with course participants taking the responsibility and lead for initiating the discussions. This web site is constantly evolving to improve communication and support the education mission of the MSCI Program (e.g., disseminating course slides and notes).

The MSCI courses are highly integrated – i.e., topics taught in one course are concurrently reinforced in others. For example, when case-control study design is taught in the research methodology course, the concurrent sessions in biostatistics focus on the strategies and methods for analyzing case-control studies. Each semester consists of 16 weeks. A total of 30 semester credit hours (SCH) is necessary to complete a Masters program in the University of Texas system (e.g., a class that meets for 1 hour per week for 16 weeks constitutes 1 SCH). The UT Health Science Center Schools Graduate School considers students who are enrolled in 9 SCH per semester as full time (6 SCH is considered full time during the summer).

The scope and sequence of the courses is structured so students will be able to strategically incorporate their learning into their mentored research projects. Responsible Conduct of Patient Oriented Clinical Research is given in the first semester to facilitate the ability of program participants to write consent forms and obtain Institutional Review Board approval. The first semester Patient Oriented Clinical Research Methods and Biostatistics courses cover topics related to cross-sectional and case-control studies - the research designs logistically most likely to be completed during a two-year training program. Scientific writing is positioned in the third semester of the sequence, a time when participants are likely to have original data and are beginning to analyze and write up the results.

An engaged hands-on Committee on Graduate Studies (COGS) meets bi-monthly to oversee the MSCI Program. This committee is comprised of representatives from each of the UT Health Science Center’s five schools and the UT-Houston School of Public Health Regional Campus in San Antonio. The Committee participates in accepting students into the MSCI program. The course directors and the COGS are aware of the time constraints for clinical responsibilities to complete training in a subspecialty, participation in didactic course work, and completion of a research project. The Program Director, with guidance from the COGS, works with Faculty Mentors and course participants to assure that the educational program is structured to meet the requirements for both clinical training and successful completion of the research project and degree program.

Students that do not have a current research project and/or a mentor can apply as a “Special student” and start taking one to three courses a semester. At the time the student identifies a mentor and/or research project they can then formally apply to the program. All courses taken as a special student will count towards the MSCI degree.

Students may complete the MSCI program as a part-time or full-time student. Part-time matriculation takes longer to earn the MSCI degree, but provides the necessary flexibility for students and their divisions to accomplish their clinical and administrative work, while participating in an educational program.

In order to receive the Master of Science Degree in Clinical Investigation you must complete the 30 semester credit hours and submit one full-length research manuscript to a peer reviewed scientific or medical journal.

NOTE: Every student is required to have an Intel-based laptop computer with the capacity to connect to the Internet via a wireless connection. Also required are Microsoft Office Suite (can be purchased at UT Health Science Center bookstore with student ID) and the most current version of Intercooled Stata (http://www.stata.com/order/new/edu/gradplans/gp-campus.html).

Contact the Academic Coordinator (210-567-4631) with questions or for additional information.