FAQs

CTS Graduate Program
Frequently Asked Questions

Program Information
What is Clinical Translational Science? 
Where can I study for a CTS degree?
What type of research do students do for a CTS degree?
What can I do with a CTS degree?
 
Applying for Admission
Who can apply for admission to the CTS M.S. or Ph.D. program?
How do I apply for admission?
What materials are required with my application?
When can I start the CTS program?
When will I hear my admission decision?
 
Program Requirements
What courses are required for the program, and do I have any choice of coursework?
Who decides my dissertation or thesis topic?
What skills will I gain in the CTS program?
Will I have the opportunity to publish?
 
Finances and Funding
Do all CTS students receive funding from the program?
How does UA employment help me afford to attend?
What else can affect my cost of attendance?
Do CTS students ever receive external grants?

 


Program Information
 

What is Clinical Translational Science? 

Clinical translational science examines the connections between basic laboratory science and treatments, diagnostics and drugs used in clinical practice.  A clinician seeing different results from the same treatment administered to different populations can investigate the reason for the difference by studying the scientific basis of the treatment in the lab.  Conversely, a researcher conducting basic science can look at clinical applications for the research findings.

Where can I study for a CTS degree?

The University of Arizona offers the M.S. and Ph.D. in CTS at both its main Tucson campus and the Phoenix Biomedical Campus.  Students in one location can also take some courses offered on the other campus that are taught online or using a video-link between campuses.

What type of research do students do for a CTS degree?

Many CTS students do "bench-to-bedside" research - i.e. research in a laboratory that generates knowledge which can be translated into improvements in diagnosis, treatment or public health practice.  The CTS program also offers a Clinical Research track for its M.S. degree, in which students learn to design, conduct and analyze the results of clinical research studies.

What can I do with a CTS degree?

There is a growing demand for trained physician-scientists and clinician-scientists in many areas of modern health science.  Clinical translational scientists may work in an academic setting or in industry, helping to further understanding of the scientific bases for effective clinical treatments for a wide range of diseases and health concerns.

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Applying for Admission
 

Who can apply for admission to the CTS M.S. or Ph.D. program?

The CTS graduate program welcomes applications from post-baccalaureate and postgraduate students.  A post-baccalaureate student is one who has completed a bachelor’s or non-terminal master’s degree (e.g. M.S., M.P.H.) in a science or health sciences discipline.  A postgraduate applicant is someone who has already earned a terminal health sciences degree such as an M.D., O.D., Pharm.D., D.N.P. or D.P.H.

How do I apply for admission?

An application for admission to the CTS graduate program (for either the Ph.D. or M.S.) must be submitted via the Graduate College’s online GradApp system.  To begin an application, click here.

What materials are required with my application?

All applicants must supply transcripts from all previously attended colleges/universities, a current CV or resume, a personal statement of interest in the program, and two letters of recommendation that attest to their ability to complete a graduate research degree program.  Additionally, an international applicant from a non-English speaking nation must provide a score from an accepted exam to demonstrate English proficiency.  GRE scores are not required for application to the CTS program.

When can I start the CTS program?

Applications are accepted for admission in either Fall or Spring semester each year.  Students who begin the program in Fall may have funding opportunities not available to Spring admits.  Fall semester begins in mid-August, and Spring semester begins in early January, as shown on the University's academic calendar.

When will I hear my admission decision?

The CTS Admissions Committee recommends applicants for admission to the Graduate College.  The Graduate College then processes the admission decision and notifies the applicant of the offer of admission.  Applicants for Fall admission can expect to hear the admission decision by approximately the end of March.  Spring applicants can expect to hear the admission decision by approximately the end of November.  Admission decisions and other admissions information are sent by e-mail to the address used in the admission application.

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Program Requirements
 

What courses are required for the program, and do I have any choice of coursework?

There are some specific courses required for either the Ph.D. or M.S., but other coursework can be customized with your faculty mentor’s approval.  The required courses for students for both degrees by campus can be found in the CTS Graduate Program Handbook.  Aside from these course requirements, you may take any graduate courses that your faculty mentor agrees will benefit you.  Ph.D. students also choose a minor (either in CTS or a different field relevant to their research) and take courses in that area to satisfy the requirements of the minor.

Who decides my dissertation or thesis topic?

Once you select your faculty mentor, you will work with him or her to decide the topic for your dissertation or thesis research.  You will conduct an original research project with guidance and support from your mentor.  The research you do will likely be related to your mentor’s research, but your project will be your own.  You will form an advisory committee who will help to guide your dissertation or thesis project and will oversee your defense when you have completed the work.

What skills will I gain in the CTS program?

In addition to the research you conduct, your CTS coursework will provide training in research ethics, biostatistics, presentation skills, grant writing and general understanding of the interplay between basic science and clinical practice.  You will receive training in research techniques specific to your thesis or dissertation project from your mentor and their research team while also contributing to the team's research.

Will I have the opportunity to publish?

All CTS students are encouraged to prepare manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed journals.  The final Ph.D. dissertation or M.S. thesis may be presented as one or more manuscripts along with brief contextual information if you have prepared or published manuscripts about your research.  CTS students also work with their mentors to identify opportunities to present their research in local, regional or national/international meetings.  (CTS does not have a specific requirement for publications for completion of the M.S. or Ph.D.)

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Finances and Funding
 

Do all CTS students receive funding from the program?

The CTS program normally provides funding to first-year domestic Ph.D. students in the form of a Graduate Research Assistantship (i.e. those holding U.S. citizenship or permanent residency), dependent on availability of funds.  The program generally cannot offer funding to international Ph.D. students or M.S. students.  All students seek a faculty mentor to guide their dissertation or thesis research.  The mentor for a domestic Ph.D. student is expected to provide funding to the student beginning in their second year in the program, and international Ph.D. students and M.S. students commonly seek mentors who are able to offer them funding if needed.  CTS students are also encouraged to apply for extramural grants and fellowships to fund their research.  A student whose mentor cannot offer funding may find other employment at the University while pursuing their CTS degree (as allowed under the terms of the visa for an international student).

How does UA employment help me afford to attend?

University of Arizona benefits-eligible employees may take advantage of the Qualified Tuition Reduction (QTR) program, which greatly reduces the cost of tuition.  Information about the QTR program can be found on the UA Human Resources site.

What else can affect my cost of attendance?

Any student who is not using QTR pays tuition at a rate determined by their Arizona residency status.  The Residency Classification office determines a student’s residency status used for calculation of their tuition.  Information about qualifying for Arizona resident (i.e. “in-state”) status is found on the Registrar’s website.

Do CTS students ever receive external grants?

Every CTS Ph.D. student prepares a grant application for a NIH NRSA or similar award as the written comprehensive exam for the program.  All CTS students, including M.S. students, are encouraged to apply for external grants.  The CTS faculty mentor and the CTS Director of Graduate Affairs will assist a student in preparing any appropriate grant application.

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