Ph.D. and M.D.- Ph.D. in Clinical Investigation

Curriculum Overview


All students in the MSTP are assigned an advisor to assist their selection of their first summer research rotation. Students who have identified their interest in Clinical Investigation will be assigned one the Clinical Researchers on the MSTP Steering Committee as an advisor who can help them pursue a rotation in clinical research. There are additional opportunities for clinical research rotations in the summer between the first and second year of the MSTP. They will be expected to choose their Ph.D. thesis mentor in the second year, usually based on the rotations they have completed. MSTP students in the Clinical Investigation Track will take the uniform MSTP curriculum for the first and second year of medical school. Notably the second year of medical school is with all Einstein medical students. MSTP students electing the Clinical Investigation track will begin the required courses the summer after their second year.



For students matriculated in the Ph.D. program there are research and course opportunities in clinical research that will enable them to explore this track. A first year graduate student can take Introduction to Clinical Research, a lecture series designed to introduce student to the research questions, methodologies, career opportunities in clinical research. In the Spring Term, in alternate years, an Introduction to Epidemiology is offered. It is also expected that graduate students would take two basic science Fundamental courses. Any number of three rotations per year that are taken by graduate students in year one can be arranged with Clinical Research faculty. Most students declare their interest in the Clinical Investigation track by the end of the first year, having taken the aforementioned courses. It is then appropriate for the student to undertake the formal required courses for the Clinical Investigation track.


Required Courses

Required Courses for the Ph.D. in Clinical Investigation track:Courses for students in the Clinical Investigation track focus on research methods with training in epidemiology, biostatistics and data analysis. A student’s Mentor oversees the research progress of the student and assesses the need for further didactic course work or tutorials.

The required courses begin in the summer between the first and second year for Ph.D. Students and in the summer after the 2nd year for the MSTP students. The first course is the Clinical Research Summer Intensive Course #1307, a formal graduate school Fundamental Course that meets criteria for required fundamental courses in the Graduate Division. The didactic curriculum for the track continues for one year, ending in May of the academic year. These courses allow time for the student to embark on their thesis research. It is expected that after completing the required courses in clinical investigation methods that a student should undertake their qualifying examination and assemble their advisory committee. The advisory committee may recommend additional course work including certain units in the medical school. In addition, each student is expected to participate in the works in progress sessions for this program, Clinical Research Seminar series and Biostatistics Methods series. The Grant Writing course will also be open to advanced Ph.D. students. In year four or five the student should be prepared to defend their dissertation and graduate with the Ph.D. in Clinical Investigation.

Qualifying Examination: Students seeking the Ph.D. in Clinical Investigation track must pass qualifying exams when the required courses in clinical investigation methods are completed. The qualifier is an oral examination, which focuses on the student’s area of research and is given by members of the department in which his research takes place. .A committee composed of faculty of the Ph.D. in Clinical Investigation and usually including a member of Graduate Division will conduct the qualifying examination. The Assistant Dean for Graduate Programs will appoint the Chairperson of the examining committee.

Advisory Committee: The r<ole of the Advisory Committee is to monitor the progress of the student’s research, and to decide with the Mentor when the student’s work is sufficient for a Ph.D.. An Advisory Committee is assembled by the student, after he or she passes the Qualifier and under advisement of their Mentor. The Advisory Committee consists of at least four members of the faculty who will serve throughout the course of the Ph.D. training period. This includes the Mentor, one or two other members of the faculty of the Ph.D. in Clinical Investigation, a faculty member with a related research interest and a member from the Graduate Division faculty. It is expected that the Advisory Committee will serve throughout the course of the Ph.D. training period. The composition of the committee may be dynamic, adjusted according to the ultimate direction of the thesis research. Members of the Advisory Committee must be approved by the Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, the Assistant Dean of Graduate Programs and, for MSTP students, by the Director of the MSTP.

Degree Requirements: The Advisory Committee determines when the student’s research is sufficient to commence writing the dissertation. The thesis takes the form of a dissertation. It is expected that students publish 3-4 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals of their field during their thesis research, the content of which can be included in their thesis, as appropriate. In addition the student delivers a seminar of the thesis work and passes an oral thesis defense.

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