Master of Science Degree
in Epidemiology and Clinical Research

Overview

The Master’s Degree in Epidemiology and Clinical Research provides students with the skills essential to patient-oriented clinical research, including epidemiologic methods and statistical analysis.

Many students are clinical investigators with an MD or comparable clinical degree, often in fellowship stages of their training or already junior faculty members. The program also considers applicants from doctoral programs in the social, behavioral or biological sciences, who are interested in a concurrent master degree and wish to apply epidemiologic techniques in their areas of research interest. The program also serves as a rigorous introduction to epidemiology and clinical research for students with baccalaureate degrees who anticipate careers in clinical epidemiology or medicine.

The MS program is typically completed in two years (four to six quarters). All candidates must satisfactorily complete 45 units of graduate course work with a 3.0 (B) or better, as well as a master’s thesis usually based on original research related to clinical epidemiology.

In addition to satisfying the core course requirements, students must take additional electives in in their area of concentration.

How to Apply

Applications and supporting documents must be submitted through Stanford’s Graduate Admissions website and by May 30, though late applications can be submitted with permission of the program director, Victor Henderson, MD, MPH.
http://studentaffairs.stanford.edu/gradadmissions/

Spectrum is offering clinical research training awards to graduate students, senior fellows, medical students and junior faculty in health-related fields. Request for Applications for the Spectrum KL2/TL1 grants will open around Oct/Nov 2014 and will have a Feb 2015 deadline.
Program details

Successful applicants for admission are expected to have a strong academic record, high Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores obtained within the past five years, strong letters of recommendation, and an appropriate personal statement of purpose. The GRE requirement may be waived for physicians and medical students, if scores from the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) are provided instead with prior approval from the Graduate Admissions Office. Preference will be accorded applicants who have already identified a potential research mentor or with research interests aligned with those of faculty available to serve as research mentors.

Applicants from other countries whose first language is not English and who have not received a degree from a university where the primary language of instruction is English, will be required to submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores as evidence of English proficiency. Scores of at least 100 for the Internet-based test (iBT) or 250-300 for the computer-based (cBT) TOEFL exam are required.

Core Requirements

Students must complete the following core courses:

Epidemiologic Methods
HRP 225: Design and Conduct of Clinical and Epidemiologic Studies
HRP 226: Advanced Epidemiologic and Clinical Research Methods
HRP 251: Design and Conduct of Clinical Trials

Biostatistics
HRP 259: Introduction to Probability and Statistics for Epidemiology
HRP 261: Intermediate Biostatistics: Analysis of Discrete Data (BIOMEDIN 233, STATS 261)
HRP 262: Intermediate Biostatistics: Regression, Prediction, Survival Analysis (STATS 262)

Research Seminars (three quarters)
HRP 236:  Epidemiology Research Seminar

Research Conduct
MED 255: Responsible Conduct of Research (waived for investigators doing IRB-approved clinical research)
Attendance at one meeting of the Human Subjects Panel (Institutional Review Board) and the October IRB orientations.

Master Thesis
HRP 399: Masters Thesis/Research (At least 12 units over at least two quarters)

Sample MS Degree Program in Epidemiology & Clinical Research

Course
Units
Total
First Quarter: Autumn
HRP 225 Design and Conduct of Clinical and Epidemiologic Studies 4  
HRP 259 Introduction to Probability and Statistics for Epidemiology 5  
HRP 236 Epidemiology Research Seminar 1  
HRP 223 Data Management and Statistical Programming 3  
Elective Elective or HRP 299: Directed Reading varies  
-- Total for Autumn Quarter   13+
Second Quarter: Winter
HRP 226 Advanced Epidemiologic and Clinical Research Methods 4  
HRP 261 Intermediate Biostatistics: Analysis of Discrete Data 3  
MED 255 Responsible Conduct of Research 1  
HRP 236 Epidemiology Research Seminar 1  
Elective Elective or HRP 299: Directed Reading varies  
-- Total for Winter Quarter   12+
Third Quarter: Spring
HRP 251 Design and Conduct of Clinical Trials 3  
HRP 262 Intermediate Biostatistics: Regression, Prediction, Survival Analysis 3  
HRP 236 Epidemiology Research Seminar 1  
HRP 399 Research (Master's Thesis) varies  
Elective Elective or HRP 299: Directed Reading varies  
-- Total for Spring Quarter   7+
Subsequent Quarters
HRP 399 Research (Master's Thesis) varies  
Elective Elective or HRP 299: Directed Reading varies  
-- Total for other quarters   varies
Total Units
  45
 

* Core courses in epidemiologic methods and biostatistics are ordinarily taken during the first year of study.
** A total of 12 units of HRP 399: Research (Master’s Thesis) must be taken over at least two quarters.

Electives and Selectives

HRP 206: Meta-research: Appraising Research Findings, Bias, and Meta-analysis (STATS 211)
HRP 209: FDA's Regulation of Health Care (LAW 458)
HRP 210: Health Law and Policy (LAW 313)
HRP 212: Cross-cultural Medicine
HRP 214: Scientific Writing
HRP 216: Analytical and Practical Issues in the Conduct of Clinical and Epidemiological Research
HRP 220: Biotechnology Law and Policy
HRP 223: Epidemiological Analysis: Data Management and Statistical Programming
HRP 228: Genetic Epidemiology
HRP 229: Chronic Disease Epidemiology
HRP 230: Cancer Epidemiology
HRP 231: Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases
HRP 234: Foundations of Pharmacoepidemiology
HRP 238: Genes and Environment in Disease Causation: Implications for Medicine and Publid Health (HUMBIO 159)
HRP 239: Understanding Statistical Models and their Social Science Applications (EDUC 260x, STATS 209)
HRP 240: Rethinking International Health (MED 230)
HRP 252: Outcomes Analysis (BIOMED 251)
HRP 260: Workshop in Biostatistics (STATS 260)
HRP 283: Health Services Research Core Seminar
HRP 299: Directed Reading in Health Services Research
HRP 351: Health Care Technology: From Innovators to Providers to Patients
HRP 391: Health Care Regulation, Finance & Policy (PUBLPOL 231)
HRP 392: Analysis of Costs, Risks, and Benefits of Health Care (BIOMEDIN 432)
HUMBIO 126: Promoting Health Over the Life Course: Multidisciplinary Perspectives
MED 262: Economics of Health Improvement in Developing Countries (ECON 127)

Advisors and Mentors

MS students in the Graduate Program in Epidemiology and Clinical Research have two mentors. Upon entering the program, each student is assigned a methodology mentor, usually a core faculty member serving on the Steering Committee. In addition, the student will be asked to identify a research mentor. For physicians, this mentor is usually from the discipline of the student’s clinical affiliation. For all students, research mentors are typically members of the Stanford University professoriate, but they need not be currently designated as core or affiliated faculty in the Graduate Program in Epidemiology. For example, physicians who maintain an affiliation with another university can often arrange to include a research mentor from the other university if the student’s research takes place, in part, at that university. If the research mentor is from the Department of Health Research and Policy, then the same faculty member may serve as both methodology and research mentor, with permission of the program director.

The methodology mentor serves as the student’s Academic Advisor and is responsible for advising in the selection of courses, approving a thesis research topic, monitoring the student’s progress through the program, and helping with other program-related issues that may arise. If a student’s thesis research requires additional expertise that is not covered by those of the methodology or research mentors (e.g., outcomes research or advanced statistical methods), a third mentor may be appointed with approval of the methodology mentor.

Thesis

The completion of a master thesis is an essential component of the MS, allowing students a chance to integrate epidemiologic principles learned in courses and to demonstrate:

The thesis is ordinarily 30 to 60 pages in length, double-spaced, including tables, figures and references. Each thesis must include a summary abstract of approximately 400 to 1000 words. The thesis can take one of the four following forms:

The quality of the master thesis should be such that it can be converted into a manuscript for publication or a credible research grant application, and students are strongly encouraged to do so. Students are required to present their research findings during a session of HRP 236: Epidemiology Research Seminar.

Thesis Committee

Each student’s Master Thesis Committee is composed of at least two faculty members, an epidemiology core reader and a co-reader. The epidemiology core reader, who is typically the student’s methodology mentor, serves as the principal thesis advisor. The co-reader is typically the research mentor. The epidemiology core reader is ordinarily a member of the Stanford Academic Council and should be listed as the instructor for at least 9 of the required 12 master thesis (research) units (HRP 399). Registration for master thesis units must be approved by the core reader. If the student’s thesis research requires expertise beyond that covered by the methodology or research mentor, a third faculty mentor may be appointed as a thesis reader. This appointment must be requested by the student and approved by the core reader. Primary supervision during thesis research and writing is shared by the core reader and the co-reader.

Completion of the master’s thesis involves registration for at least 12 units of master thesis research over a period of two or more quarters. During the first quarter, a proposal for the thesis must be submitted to thesis readers when the project is early in its conceptual stages. The purpose is for the student to obtain guidance from the Thesis Committee about specific aims, study design features, and analytic methods before commencing on the project. The Master Thesis Committee will notify the student of its decision within two weeks of receipt of the proposal. Rejected proposals can be resubmitted before the end of the quarter.

Registration for the second quarter of master thesis units can take place only after successful completion of the first quarter thesis requirements. In the quarter the student expects to graduate, the master thesis should be completed and submitted to the readers, allowing sufficient time for readers’ comments and for revisions that might be required. A student should ordinarily expect readers’ comments within two weeks of submission. The final version should be submitted at least two weeks before the end of the quarter. A suggested format for the thesis is available from the department Educational Coordinator. An electronic copy of the approved thesis, with three original signature sheets should be sent to the Educational Coordinator and to the Binding and Finishing department at least 72 hours before the deadline.

Faculty

Steering Committee — Core Faculty Serving as Academic Advisor
Gary Friedman , MD, MS
Consulting Professor, Division of Epidemiology
Former director, Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente.
Chair, Admissions Committee, Graduate Program in Epidemiology.
Steven Goodman, MD, PhD
Professor, Division of Epidemiology
Professor of Medicine (General Medical Disciplines)
Professor, Division of Epidemiology
Professor of Neurology & Neurological Sciences
Chief, Division of Epidemiology
John Ioannidis, MD, DSc
Professor, Division of Epidemiology
Professor of Medicine (Stanford Prevention Research Center) and (by courtesy) of Statistics
Abby King, PhD
Professor, Division of Epidemiology
Professor of Medicine
Allison Kurian, MD, MS
Assistant Professor, Division of Epidemiology
Assistant Professor of Medicine (Oncology)
Professor, Division of Epidemiology
Professor of Pediatrics (Infectious Diseases)
Associate Professor, Division of Epidemiology
Professor, Division of Epidemiology
Professor of Medicine (Infectious Diseases)
Assistant Professor, Division of Epidemiology
Assistant Professor (By courtesy) of Medicine (Immunology & Rheumatology)
Dee West, PhD
Professor of Health Research & Policy, Emeritus (Epidemiology)
Professor, Division of Epidemiology

Affiliated Faculty and Staff in Health Research and Policy

See Core Faculty page.

Other Core Faculty and Staff outside of Health Reseach and Policy

Paul G. Fisher, MD, MPH. Professor, Departments of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, and of Pediatrics. Interests: Pediatric neuro-oncology; cancer epidemiology.
Henry Greely, JD. Deane and Kate Edelman Johnson Professor, School of Law, and Professor (by courtesy), Department of Genetics. Interests: Legal, ethical, and social frontiers of bioscience.
Christopher Gardner, PhD. Associate Professor (research) of Medicine (Stanford Prevention Research Center). Interests: Nutritional science; cardiovascular epidemiology; complementary and alternative medicine.
Randall Stafford, MD, PhD. Associate Professor of Medicine (Stanford Prevention Research Center).
Interests: Chronic disease prevention and treatment; evidence-based clinical practice.
Marcia Stefanick, PhD. Professor (research), Departments of Medicine (Stanford Prevention Research Center) and (by courtesy) of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Interests: Cardiovascular disease prevention; women’s health.
Marilyn A. Winkleby, PhD. Professor (research), Departments of Medicine (Stanford Prevention Research Center) and (by courtesy) of Health Research and Policy (Epidemiology).
Interests: Epidemiology of cardiovascular diseases.

Affiliated Faculty and Staff in Health Research and Policy

See Academic Staff page.

Funding of Graduate Studies

The department has limited funding available for MS students, which is awarded at the time of admissions by the program coordinator. In addition, prospective students are encouraged to seek funding through:

Contacts

For program information:
Toni Ali, Educational Coordinator
Department of Health Research and Policy
150 Governor’s Lane
Stanford, California 94305-5405
(650) 723-5456
toniali@stanford.edu

For application forms and information:
Graduate Admissions
630 Serra Street, Suite 120
Stanford University Stanford, CA 94305-6032
Tel: (650) 723-4291
Fax: (650) 723-8371
Email: gradadmissions@stanford.edu

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