Jun 15, 2024  
USC Catalogue 2022-2023 
USC Catalogue 2022-2023 [ARCHIVED CATALOGUE]

Clinical, Biomedical and Translational Investigations (MS)

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Soto Building I

Email: msclnbio@usc.edu


The Master of Science in Clinical, Biomedical, and Translational Investigations (CBTI) is a joint effort to train medical students, fellows or other health professionals, including faculty and other scientists conducting clinical related research, in clinical research methods to translate clinical, biomedical and technological discoveries into advances in population-based, clinical or basic science research. The MS Program of Clinical, Biomedical, and Translational Investigations (CBTI) is available to medical students who have completed their second year of medical school, and pre-doctoral students who are interested in expanding their pre-doctoral training to include methodology associated with conducting translational research. Pre-doctoral students will earn a joint degree (PhD in their research area and an MS in CBTI). In addition, the MS CBTI Program is tailored to MDs doing fellowships at USC or Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), faculty interested in expanding their research careers, or are recipients of Young Investigator Awards, including Southern California Clinical Translational Science Institute’s (SC CTSI) Center for Education, Training, and Career Development K and T Awardees. Tracks include: 1) Clinical Translational Research, 2) Community-based Intervention Trials, 3) Design, Conduct and Analysis of Clinical Studies, 4) Epidemiology and Disease Etiology, 5) Health Outcomes Research, 6) Environmental Epidemiology, 7) Molecular Biology, 8) Cell Biology, 9) Vision Science and 10) Alternative Options Track.

The MS program in Clinical and Biomedical Investigations is designed to train students, fellows and faculty for future independent research careers in an academic, government or private sector setting. The objective of the MS program is to produce a clinical researcher with either an in-depth knowledge in laboratory methodologies or statistical and analytic skills in population-based, clinical studies or outcomes research. The program gives students a solid background in the methodological aspects of translational research, and in statistical thinking as applied to molecular epidemiology, as well as a solid grounding in biostatistical, epidemiological methods, and community based intervention strategies.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must apply to the Graduate School and meet the minimum requirements for admission to the Graduate School. The Department of Preventive Medicine administers the program through the MS Program Office.

The program will consider applicants who satisfy all requirements for admission to the Graduate School. For the MS program in Clinical and Biomedical Investigations, MCAT scores may be substituted for the GREs. Applicants not meeting Graduate School requirements for regular standing may, with approval of the Graduate School, be conditionally admitted. Regular standing is contingent upon maintaining a GPA of 3.0 in the first 12 units of graduate studies. All graduate students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 throughout their graduate studies.

General Requirements

Graduation requires the completion of a minimum of 29 units, of which a minimum of 15 units are didactic course credits taken in the first year (including summer sessions), with the remaining units being directed to: a) PM 590  Directed Research (1–12 units ) and PM 594a  Master’s Thesis, PM 594b  Master’s Thesis (4 units) taken in the second year. The equivalent of one year of full-time effort must be devoted to research leading to a master’s thesis. The thesis provides a structure for the development of a plan to address a research problem and a suitable approach to the analysis and presentation of the results.

Because the background and interests of applicants varies widely, one of the co-directors will consult with each student prior to the first year in order to design an individualized schedule of recommended courses, or this may be negotiated with a student’s faculty sponsor. At the end of the first year, the trainee must submit a final program plan to the co-directors. This will summarize the courses taken, the proposed thesis title, and the names and credentials of the MS thesis committee. One of the members of the MS thesis committee will be the trainee’s research adviser and will serve as the chair of the committee. At least one member of the thesis committee must be from outside the student’s department. For faculty, at least two members of the thesis committee must be from outside the student’s department.

For those trainees or SC CTSI’s CETCD K and T awardees who do not wish to pursue an MS degree, the school offers a certificate in clinical, biomedical, and translational investigations (CBTI). The certificate program requires completion of 12 credits, and a minimum of six months of practical research experience working on a research project (PM 590 ) approved by either an Oversight Committee or the CETCD’s K and T Award Committee Review Process.

Students are expected to attend the three-day workshop on NIH proposal development if offered by Thomas Ogden, MD, PhD, and a workshop on the principles of scientific manuscript preparation.

Health Outcomes Research (8 Units)

Molecular Biology (16 Units)

Alternative Options Track (Minimum 16 Units)

Courses are determined by mentor and student, based on research interests, with approval from the oversight committee.


Participation is required in a Recent Advances Journal Club to learn how to read papers critically and develop the speaking skills necessary to explain a research paper. Faculty members in the program rotate as course directors in order to emphasize new topics. Students are expected to attend the three-day workshop on NIH Proposal Development if offered by Thomas Ogden, PhD, and a workshop on the principles of scientific manuscript preparation.

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