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Program Requirements

Key Program Features:

  • CTS Core Courses: All students in this degree program will complete 16 CrHr of clinical and translational core courses (CTS Core), distributed approximately equally amongst each of the three branches identified above. 
  • Specialization Courses: All students, with the guidance and approval of their Dissertation Committee, will complete an additional 12 CrHr of didactic coursework. These courses are designed to allow students to develop their own area of expertise and interest, and to prepare to successfully engage in dissertation research. 
  • CTS Research Experiences: Students must successfully complete 12 CrHr of research experiences (similar to a research rotation) in each of T1, T2, and T3 research, before commencing their dissertation research. Students must complete a minimum of 4 CrHr in each of the three research domains (T1, T2, T3); while this will typically be completed as 3-4CrHr rotations, the credit hours can be distributed in any configuration according to student needs. (Note: 60 contact hours is the approximate equivalent of 1 CTS Research Experience credit hour.) 
  • CTS Research Journal Club: Students must complete a minimum of 6 CrHr, 1 CrHr in 6 different semesters, in a journal club specific to this program. Participation in the CTS Research Journal Club is required for every semester the student is in residence. 
  • Comprehensive and Candidacy Examinations: Students will complete a Comprehensive Exam after completion of all didactic coursework. This examination will assess knowledge foundational to clinical and translational science as well as content, methodologic knowledge, and research expertise in the identified area of focus (specialization). The Candidacy Exam will be the defense of the dissertation research proposal. 
  • Dissertation Committee: Students will have an interdisciplinary Dissertation Committee. This committee will have a minimum of five members representing at least two of the three different branches of clinical and translational science. At least one member of the committee must be a clinician. The primary mentor, also the committee chair, must be a member of WVU Graduate Faculty. 
  • Dissertation Research: Students will complete a minimum of 40 CrHr of dissertation research, corresponding to 6 full-time semesters of dissertation research. 
  • Peer-Reviewed Publication: Consistent with existing standards at the Health Sciences Center, all students in this program must have one first-authored, peer-reviewed, original research publication relevant to their dissertation research accepted for publication (“in press”) before they may defend their dissertation. 

CTS Orientation Program: 

All entering students must complete a CTS Orientation Program. During this program, students will be oriented to West Virginia University, the WVU Health Sciences Center, and the CTS PhD Program, including the structure, requirements, and expectations for the program. Additionally, students will complete all certifications and accreditations needed to work in basic or clinical science laboratories and in clinical and population research (e.g., laboratory animal care and use certifications, chemical hygiene, IRB etc.). Students will also meet and have brief presentations from active WVU/WVCTSI clinical and translational researchers. Students must complete this during their first semester of study. 

Required Coursework (28 Credit Hours) 

CTS Core Courses (16 CrHr) 

BMS700 Scientific Integrity (1 CrHr) 

BMS720 Scientific Writing (2 CrHr) 

BMS793 Theory, Foundations, and Application of Clinical and Translational Science (2 CrHr) 

PSIO750 Foundations of Physiology and Pharmacology I (4 CrHr) 

BIOC531 General Biochemistry (4 CrHr) 

BIOS601 Applied Biostats I (3 CrHr) 

[Recommended but not required BIOS602 Applied Biostats Lab (1 CrHr)] 

Specialization Courses (12 CrHr) 

Beyond the CTS Core Courses, students must complete an additional 12 CrHr of didactic coursework. Students select these Specialization Courses with the guidance and approval of their Dissertation Committee. Selected Specialization Courses must include 2 of three branches of clinical and translational science. These courses are intended to allow the students to develop expertise and focus in an area of interest, and to prepare students to be able to successfully complete their dissertation research. These courses also serve as the basis for a portion of the Comprehensive Exam. 

CTS Research Experiences (12 CrHr)

CTS research Journal Club (6 CrHr)

Research (40 CrHr)

*For matriculating students who have successfully completed graduate-level coursework at the master, doctoral, or professional (clinical) level: these students will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and some of the CTS Core Courses, and / or Specializations Courses may be waived with demonstrable evidence that students have successfully completed equivalent coursework and that waiving that curriculum component will not jeopardize the student’s ability to successfully complete the remainder of the program (comprehensive and candidacy examinations, dissertation). Typically, no more that 50% of the required coursework (CTS Core, Specialization Courses) will be waived; exceptions may be made in exceptional, unique circumstances. Completion of CTS Research Experiences, CTS Research Journal Club, the dissertation, and the peer-reviewed manuscript requirements will not be waived. A student requesting waiving of coursework must follow all appropriate WVU and HSC policies for doing so; ideally, all final decisions on coursework to be waived will be made prior to the submission of the Plan of Study.