FAQs: Master of Science: Clinical Research and Product Development

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  • When is the application deadline? – When is the application deadline? The application deadlines are found with the applications on the Graduate School website. Application decisions are typically provided to student within 4 to 6 weeks of the application deadline.
  • Are students admitted more than once per year? – Currently, we only admit students once per year for a Fall semester start. The application deadline is typically early in the year for fall admissions.
  • Is the GRE or MAT required? – Like many graduate programs, we have eliminated the need for these tests which can be a hurdle for working adults looking for an advanced degree.
  • Is an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 required? – Yes, however, provisional admission is considered for otherwise strong candidates. Applicants with an undergraduate GPA less than 3.0 may be admitted provisional on achieving a B or higher on the first 9 credits attempted.
  • Is clinical research experienced required? – For the MS program (36 credits), a minimum of 2 years’ experience is preferred. Since this is not a requirement, prospective students are free to apply without the experience but may not be competitive in the applicant pool. A good path for prospective students without experience is the Post-baccalaureate Certificate in Clinical Research Operations (18 hours). Two introductory courses are offered and the remaining 12 credits are courses in the MS curriculum. All 18 credits from the Certificate program can be transferred into the MS program for students who later apply and are accepted into the MS program
  • Can I transfer graduate credits from another university? – Up to 6 credits of relevant course work may be transferred into the MS program. Transfer and substitution for required courses must be approved by the program coordinator. Transfer credits are not accepted for the Certificate program.
  • What is the cost of attendance? – For financial information, please review the information on UNCW’s Financial Aid web page for graduate distance education (not OAP) and contact the financial aid counselor assigned to you.
  • Are scholarships available? – The CLR program does not currently have dedicated scholarships available, but there are other resources through the Graduate School. You may also apply for Financial Aid through the University.
  • Who are typical students enrolled in the program?
    • Our typical MS student is currently working full-time in the clinical research industry (clinical site, CRO, biopharmaceutical company, trial support vendor, or niche service provider. These students are often enrolling to expand their knowledge beyond their current role and advance their career.
    • Our typical Certificate student is either 1) interested in beginning a career in clinical research but lack the experience to apply for the full MS program; or 2) working in the field of clinical research and interested in furthering his/her education but not interested in committing to the full MS program.
  • What type of undergraduate degrees are acceptable? – An undergraduate degree in the life sciences is a good fit, but other undergraduate degrees will be considered in light of the applicant’s experience and interests.
  • Are foreign students able to apply? – Please consult with the Office of International Students and Scholars for details. These programs do not qualify for visa sponsorship.
  • How long does it take to complete the programs? – Please review the program of study options on the program website. Graduate degrees must be completed within 5 years, regardless of full- or part-time status.
  • Are classes taught in the summer? – Classes are often taught in the summer. The course offerings may vary from year to year.
  • Are there any on-campus requirements? – The program requires a Capstone Project that is relevant to Clinical Research and can be started after all Core Courses have been completed and the student has completed at least 27 credit hours. The project is split over at least 2 semesters.
  • What is the minimum GPA from an undergraduate program? – This is an asynchronous program, and there are no required campus visits. If feasible, students are encouraged to defend their capstone proposal and completed project in-person (Wilmington, NC). Since this may not be feasible for some students, videoconferencing is an available. This technology is also available to students who would like to attend live events remotely.
  • Is the program lab-based? – Clinical Research encompasses the development of drugs, devices, and biologics through the discovery and approval processes. Our program does not include any laboratory requirements.
  • Is there a thesis requirement? – The MS program requires a 3-credit Capstone Project, which may begin after all Core Courses have been completed. The project is split over 2 semesters. In the first semester of the Capstone (1 credit hour), the student develops and presents a research proposal. Upon approval of the research proposal, the student uses the second semester (2 credits) to conduct the research and present the results from his/her final paper to faculty and peers. The Certificate program does not require a thesis or capstone.

FAQ: Certificate in Clinical Research Operations

  • Who should apply for the Certificate Program? – The 18-credit Certificate has 2 tracks.
    • Track 1 is for individuals interested in beginning a career in clinical research but lack the experience to apply for the full MS program.
    • Track 2 is for individuals with clinical research experience interested in furthering their education but not interested in committing to the full MS program.
  • Can the 18 credits be transferred into the full MS program? – Yes, all 18 credits from the Certificate program can be transferred to the MS program. An application is required for admission into the MS program.
  • Do MS and Certificate students take the same courses? – Yes, with one exception: Track 1 Certificate students take 2 introductory courses (CLR 505, 506).