Master of Science in Clinical Research (MSCR)


Develops the skills necessary for a successful career in clinical/translational research. The program emphasizes study design, fundamentals of data analysis and collaboration with methodologists (including biostatisticians); proposal development/grant writing, interdisciplinary collaboration, project oversight (including patient safety and IRB compliance), presentation of study results, and professional development.

General Information

Minimum Credit Hours

36 Students must be registered in classes for a minimum of 3 semesters.

Expected Duration

2 yrs

Learning Environment


Dual Degree Options Available


Application Cycle

Fall Spring rarely, pending department approval. See application details page for more info.

Application Deadline 1

April 12, 2022 Spring rarely, pending department approval. See application details page for more info.

Applicant Information

Who Should Apply

Persons planning a career as a clinical or translational investigator who will assume leadership roles in research projects and research teams. Applicants must have completed training in a primary substantive research or clinic

Enrolled Student Demographics

  • Total Enrollment 1620
  • Female 72%, Male 28%
  • Underrepresented Minority Students 16.3%
  • International 11%

Program Costs & Funding

Admissions Information

Prior Degree Required

Doctoral-level professional degree (MD, PharmD, PhD, DDS, nurses with PhD, DVM, etc.) or extensive health-professional experience (RNs, PAs).

Required Prerequisites

At the time of enrollment, participants will simultaneously be residents, clinical fellows, post-doctoral fellows, or junior faculty at UNC or Duke University. Each student will already be affiliated with a home academic program, reflecting the funding source (e.g. T32 or K12 funding), training program (e.g. post-doctoral fellowship) or department.

Standardized Test(s) Accepted

TOEFL/IELTS (for int'l students only) Waived for applicants who have received or will receive a degree from an accredited university in the U.S. Other waiver categories are detailed on The Graduate School’s website. Standardized test scores are one of many factors we consider in making admissions decisions.

Standardized Test Scores

Department-wide: On average, incoming students had 81st percentile verbal and 73rd percentile quantitative. Standardized test scores are one of many factors we consider in making admissions decisions. If you have concerns about your scores, please talk with us.


Unofficial transcripts from all post-secondary education (including community colleges, summer sessions and extension programs) are required to be uploaded in the application.

Letters of Recommendation Required

3 (academic and/or professional)

Faculty-Student Match Required

Not required

Interviews Required

Interviews are not required. However, they can be helpful to the admissions committee if you're in the area. Contact us to schedule a visit.

Work Experience Required

Preferred Competitive applicants have prior relevant work experience and demonstrate a clear understanding of the field of epidemiology. Applicants must have completed training in a primary substantive research or clinical area.

Visit Opportunities

Learn about opportunities to come to UNC Gillings to meet faculty, staff, and current students. If you are unable to come to campus – don’t worry – our representatives attend a variety of recruitment events around the United States as well as host virtual fairs and webinars.

During the Program

Required Courses

For a detailed description of all the requirements for this degree program please click here for the Student Handbook.

Comprehensive Exam Type(s)

Comprehensive written exam

Capstone, Thesis or Dissertation

Master's paper

Practicum, Internships & Fieldwork

Not required

Global Options Available

The UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health strives to integrate global content and approaches across the School’s courses, programs and degrees. We believe that every student should emerge from our School with an understanding of global health issues. Some courses are focused largely on global issues, others are designed so that global and local issues are intertwined and some still are evolving. Learn more about these options.

Many enrolled students will have the opportunity to pursue global health courses, internships or independent study with global focus.

After the Program

Employment Opportunities

Faculty position in a school of public health or medical school; principal investigator for research facility

Example Job Responsibilities

Academic research

  1. Complete online application
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    • Application Deadline: April 12, 2022
    • Fee: 95.00
    • Step Link

    (The Graduate School Application is a common application system for UNC-Chapel Hill programs.)


      See program details in GPS for requirements such as prequisites, prior degree, work experience, any test score waivers, as well as a tuition estimate and program overview.

      • All UNC Gillings applications for graduate-level programs fall under the purview of the UNC Graduate School. Accordingly, you will apply to UNC Gillings via the Graduate School Application, and UNC Gillings programs will make admissions recommendations to the UNC Graduate School for final approval.
        Once a recommendation is finalized, you will receive notice via email from the UNC Graduate School. Throughout the process, most of your questions can be answered by your program contact.
      • NOTE: To be considered for UNC Graduate School scholarships, apply before priority deadline.

    2. Faculty interest(s)/mentor(s)

      • Applicants must identify one mentor with experience in clinical research from their home clinical training program.
    3. Applicant information,  including North Carolina residency information.

    4. Area(s) of interest

      • Select up to three (3) areas of interest from the dropdown.
    5. Educational history

      • Please upload a copy of your most recent transcript(s), including your current term grades, if applicable. (If grades are not yet available, send them to the UNC Gillings program contact as soon as they become available.) Be sure the transcript reflects the name of the institution and any degrees you received.
      • We advise that you order two copies of your transcript(s) to be sent to you.
        • If you are admitted and choose to enroll, UNC will require official transcript(s) showing degree(s) awarded.
    6. Community standards

      You will be asked about honor code, crime, academic sanction, military discharge, etc.

    7. Upload your personal statement.

      • Please describe your interest in the MSCR program in a 1-2 page essay. Applicants should include any additional information about their interests, prior background or special circumstances which may be helpful to the Admissions Committee in evaluation of the application.
        • Describe your interest in clinical research. What areas of research are you interested in?
        • What types of research questions do you hope to address?
        • What types of studies do you hope to perform in the future? You do not need to be highly specific.
        • Describe the mentor support you have in place (or will have in place) at UNC or Duke.
        • Describe your future plans. How will you use the MSCR degree?
    8. Upload your resume or CV.

    9. Enter names of recommenders. UNC will then send them an email with instructions for submitting a letter on your behalf. We encourage references from professors or teachers (or teaching assistants) or work/research supervisors who have worked directly and closely with you and who can speak about you with specificity.

        • 3 (academic and/or professional)
    10. Report test scores to UNC via the Graduate School Application

      • GRE scores are neither required nor typically recommended for applicants to the Master of Science in Clinical Research program.
      • International applicants must submit official TOEFL or IELTS standardized test scores. Code 5816 routes to UNC. TOEFL/IELTS scores must be no more than two years old.
    11. Document submission (check legibility of uploads)

    12. Pay the Graduate School application fee.

    13. Track your progress.

      • You will be able to track status through the Graduate School application. Once a decision is made, you will receive an email instructing login to the Graduate School application portal to see the decision letter.
  2. FYI: costs and funding (separate from the admissions process)
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    1. Check out our Costs and Funding page.

    2. Note priority deadline to be eligible for UNC Graduate School scholarships and fellowships. Departments will decide which applicants to nominate. No additional application required.

    3. Apply for FEDERAL financial aid by March 1 (please verify this date via FAFSA) via FAFSA. If you've been admitted and completed the FAFSA form by their deadline, the UNC Office of Scholarships and Student Aid will create a financial aid package for you.

    4. Department funding

      • Our department contacts incoming students regarding funding opportunities.
      • We consider all applicants for funding.
      • See Epidemiology's funding opportunities webpage.

  3. FYI: application review process
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    1. SPH application review:

    2. UNC Graduate School application review and final decision:

      • The UNC Graduate School reviews all admissions recommendations made by programs. Once final decisions have been made, the Graduate School will send you an email instructing login to the Graduate School application portal to see the decision letter.
      • Most recommendations are sent to the Graduate School by March 1.
    3. NOTE: Financial aid is separate from the admissions process. For more information, please refer to our School's Costs and Funding page and/or UNC-Chapel Hill's Office of Scholarships and Student Aid (OSSA) website.

The Gillings Program Search is a tool for exploring academic programs at the School. It is a prospectus for the current year to be used in consultation with an academic adviser and does not constitute the complete degree or program requirements for graduation or program completion.

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