Master of Science in Clinical Investigation program deadline Feb 28

Kate Stuart
January 15, 2014
Posted in Announcements

For more information, visit the MSCI site.

The MSCI program trains investigators in the techniques and processes utilized in patient-oriented research. This program provides direct, mentored experience in clinical investigation and, through didactic work, provides trainees with a strong foundation in study design, biostatistics, biomedical ethics, clinical pharmacology, human genetics and assay methods. The program typically takes two years to complete. Graduates successfully compete for grants such as the K-23, VA Career Development Award, Clinical Associate Physician Award, R0-1, and major foundation grants.


Eligible candidates for the MSCI Program include:

  • Board-eligible physicians enrolled in a fellowship program at Vanderbilt or Meharry Medical College,
  • Residents with protected time for research,
  • Vanderbilt faculty members with the consent of their Department Chair,
  • Medical students in the Medical Scholars Program,
  • Post-Doctoral PhDs anticipating a career in patient-oriented research,
  • PhD candidates in the Nursing School anticipating a career in patient-oriented research, and
  • Scholars external to Vanderbilt/Meharry will be considered based on the availability of a suitable mentor within Vanderbilt and secured funding.  

    Candidates and trainees must be in good standing with the home department at all stages of admission and remain in good standing with the home department and the​ MSCI program throughout matriculation.​


Program Components

Mentored Research Apprenticeship: The core of the MSCI Program will be the completion of a mentored research project. The research must be patient-oriented and involve direct measurements on patient-derived samples or the use of investigational therapeutic or diagnostic techniques. The mentor must be an established physician-scientist with experience in patient-oriented research. Use of the Vanderbilt University General Clinical Research Center will be encouraged. The research project will account for 80% of the candidate's commitment to the program.

Didactic Work: Candidates must complete 35 credit hours of courses covering the essentials of study design, biostatistics, ethics, drug development and data analysis. It is expected that course work will comprise 20% of the candidate's time commitment. Core courses will be provided in two formats: intense courses that meet three hours each day (e.g. 8 am to 11 am) for four weeks and courses that can be offered less intensively (2-4 hours a week for several months). The course schedule is designed to maximize protected time for patient-oriented research. Learn more aboutMSCI courses or view a sample course schedule.

Career Path Development: In addition to the formal curriculum, a monthly seminar series, "Clinical Scientist Career Seminars" will permit candidates to meet successful patient-oriented researchers. Topics of discussion will include academic "rules of the road," time management, promotion/tenure issues, grants management, and overall program evaluation. Candidates will hone their scientific communication skills through an annual presentation at this forum. The directors will host networking events with the candidates, clinical investigators, mentors, and visiting scientists.

Master's Final Project: The candidate will submit a manuscript to a peer-reviewed journal, provide a completed proposal for a federal or major foundation grant, or develop a Master's thesis based on their research project. Candidate's are expected to start and complete the Master's Final Project while enrolled in the MSCI program. Completion of the Master's Final Project requirement will be evaluated by the MSCI Promotions Committee.



Tuition is approximately $48,000.00 for two years. Tuition is funded through NIH training grant mechanisms, corporate/foundation grants, or institutional resources. In addition, partial scholarships are available for qualified applicants. Learn more about resources for funding MSCI.