FAQs: B.S. Clinical Research


What is Clinical Research?

  • Clinical research is the process by which new therapies (medications, biological agents, and devices) are tested in clinical studies prior to approval and marketing by regulatory agencies like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Clinical research also includes the study of products after approval, once they are on the market, particularly for rare or unexpected adverse events. Students in the Clinical Research program gain a broad-based understanding of the science, regulatory, and business aspects of developing new therapies to treat illness and improve quality of life.

Once I am in the CLR program, can I take CLR courses out of sequence?

  • Courses with the CLR prefix must be taken in order and in specific semesters. CLR 300-level courses must be completed with a grade of “C” or higher prior to the internship and 400-level courses.

Once I am in the CLR program, can I take CLR courses in the summer?

  • Yes, however CLR summer courses are limited. You may take non-CLR courses during the summer.

Do I have to find my own internship for the senior year?

  • No, the CLR faculty internship coordinator places students in internships based on their preferences, skill set, location and availability. Students must provide a current resume and internship sites require an interview.

Do I have to move to Wilmington for my internship?

  • No, but you must live within driving distance of a qualified internship site. Most of the internship sites are in Wilmington, N.C. and Research Triangle Park, N.C. The program works with a much smaller number of sites in Charlotte, the Triad, and Jacksonville, N.C.; for students who choose to live out of state for the final year and CLR internship, placement will require that the student discuss internship options in their application and with the CLR internship coordinator.

If I am working on a minor and have completed several CLR courses, can I take the internship?

  • No, only CLR majors can take the internship. 

Are there paid internship opportunites?

  • Yes. Some, but not all, internship opportunities are paid.

How many hours per week is the internship?

  • CLR student interns are required to spend a minimum of 14 hours per week at the assigned clinical research site. Hours and days of the week may vary and is negotiated with the preceptor and the student. 

How long does the internship last?

  • The student is expected to complete his/her weekly internship hours for all weeks that UNCW is in session. For the fall semester, the on-site component begins just after Labor Day and ends on the last day of classes. For the spring semester, the on-site component begins during the first week of classes in January and ends during the last week of classes. Students are not required to attend the internship on university breaks or holidays or during the exam period. The internship includes an online course in Blackboard which lasts the duration of both fall and spring semesters and includes one or more of the following: assignments, discussions, exams, projects.

I have a paid job in the Clinical Research industry. Do I need to quit my paid clinical research job to attend the unpaid internship?

  • Not necessarily, though you will need to discuss this with your advisor and the internship coordinator. It may be possible to undertake an alternate internship that involves a project and a preceptor from your job.

Is the internship offered in the summer?

  • No, the internship is not offered in the summer. Students successfully obtaining a summer internship should view it as additional valuable experience, important for networking, and useful for resume building; it is a good use of your time. 

Is this a Nursing degree?

  • No.The undergraduate degree is awarded as a Bachelor of Science in Clinical Research. The Clinical Research program is part of the School of Nursing within the College of Health and Human Services (CHHS). 

Transfer Student

I am transferring courses into UNCW. How do I know what will transfer? 

  • You may take classes at another institution that transfer to UNCW with credit. You must verify all transfer courses with the UNCW Registrar to ensure that each course will transfer in as one of our prerequisites or University Studies. Transfer credit equivalents can be found at www.uncw.edu/reg/transfercredit.htm.

I am transferring into UNCW. Am I required to take courses at UNCW in order to apply to the Clinical Research Program?

  • No. However, you must be accepted to UNCW and pay your enrollment deposit prior to applying to the Clinical Research program. The application deadline is in the spring semester. 

Can I transfer into UNCW for the Spring semester?

  • UNCW does not always take transfer students for the spring semester. This is generally decided in September. Our advice is to plan on transferring to UNCW in the summer or fall semester.

I have taken BIO 240, 241, and 246, but I have not taken BIO 201. Do I have to go back and take BIO 201?

  • Yes, you are required to complete BIO 201.


Am I a competitive student?

  • We cannot guarantee your successful admission. However, successful students will typically have a prerequisite science GPA of 2.5 or higher.

I was accepted to UNCW, does that mean I will get accepted to the Clinical Research program?

  • No, acceptance to UNCW does not guarantee admittance to the Clinical Research program. However, you must be accepted at UNCW before being considered for the Clinical Research program.

When do students typically apply to the CLR program?

  • Most students apply in the spring of their sophomore year.

What are the prerequisites for admission?

  • Prior to starting the CLR program, you must complete the following courses:
    • CHM 101 – General Chemistry (and Lab)
    • BIO 201 – Principles of Bio. Cell (and Lab)
    • MAT 111, 112, 115, 151, 152, 161 or 162
    • PSY 105 – General Psychology
    • BIO 246 – Microbiology (lab not required)
    • BIO 240 or EXS 216 – A&P I (and Lab)
    • BIO 241 or EXS 217 – A&P II (and Lab)
    • STT 210, STT 215, BAN 280 or PSY 225
  • In order to apply, you do not need all courses completed. Consult your Advisor for more information.

If I have taken a course, can I retake that course to get a better grade?

  • The UNCW policy is that you may only repeat courses that you received a C- or below. However the university allows you to audit courses for a better grade, or you can take them at another institution. The CLR program will evaluate the highest grade achieved.

Will my AP courses be evaluated?

  • No, we do not use AP scores in our evaluation. You will get credit for the course, but your score will not affect your standing.

What can I do with a Clinical Research Degree?

  • Most graduates work for pharmaceutical companies, contract research organizations (PPD, Syneos Health, IQVIA, etc.), clinical research service providers or clinical sites enrolling clinical trial subjects. Graduates are employed in a variety of roles. Generally, graduates begin their careers in entry-level positions but move into higher-level positions in one to two years.

I took classes a long time ago. Will they be evaluated?

  • Math and Science prerequisite courses must have been completed at least 10 years prior to your application. If they are older than 10 years, you must retake/audit those courses. If you have been actively working in a clinical, scientific, basic research, or clinical research position OR if you have a relevant advanced degree, ask your advisor about a possible waiver on the 10 year rule. PSY 105 older than 10 years may be retaken/audited – check with your advisor and the CLR Program Coordinator for approval.
    • CHM 101 – General Chemistry (and Lab)
    • BIO 201 – Principles of Bio. Cell (and Lab)
    • MAT 111, 112, 115, 151, 152, 161 or 162
    • PSY 105 – General Psychology
    • BIO 246 – Microbiology (lab not required)
    • BIO 240 or EXS 216 – A&P I (and Lab)
    • BIO 241 or EXS 217 – A&P II (and Lab)
    • STT 210, STT 215, QMM 280 or PSY 225

Is there a required lab component for BIO 246?

  • No, the CLR program does not require a lab for BIO 246. However, if you are applying to other programs, some of them may require it.

Do I need a criminal background check to enter the program?

  • No, but you will be asked about criminal charges on the CLR application. Some internship sites may do an independent background check as well prior to bringing students on board.

May I apply to the CLR Program while under consideration for the Nursing or other degree program?

  • Yes, but please disclose this on your application.

Once I am in the CLR program, can I take traditional courses instead of online courses?

  • All courses with the CLR prefix are completely online except for CLR 496 and 497 (internship). Some of the CLR electives are online and others are on-campus. PAR 215/115 are offered online and on-campus. The general education requirements, called University Studies, are mainly on-campus. Registering for University Studies courses as early as possible may allow for greater online options.