Curriculum and Academic Programs

Degree programs and requirements

The Human Investigations Program curriculum consists of a set of core and elective courses. The core courses are offered in a fixed sequence over two years with opportunities for electives or an intense, accelerated curriculum. Students will be offered graduate level academic credit for each course. HIP courses are graded on a pass/no pass basis. The HIP program offers a Certificate in Human Investigations and a Master of Clinical Research. Both degree options build on the same core courses. In addition, there is a non-degree option for individuals who may want to take coursework in HIP without earning a degree.

The certificate includes the required core courses taken over two year, a choice of an elective course, plus a mentored capstone experience resulting in an academic product such as a research proposal or publishable manuscript. Individuals completing this track will receive a graduate Certificate Human Investigations.

Requirements for certificate completion

A total of 24 credits hours:

  • 16.5 credits for required core courses
  • 6 credits for mentored capstone project
  • 1.5 credits or more for one elective
  • Completed in 2 years (maximum of 4 years)

The core required courses and suggested electives are tuition-free and students only need pay a university fee for each term enrolled.  See more about tuition and fees

The focus of the Master of Clinical Research is on formal training for clinicians and scientists who desire to make clinical or translational research either their predominant focus or a substantial part of their long-term career goal. The main objectives of the M.C.R. are to prepare a cohort of trained investigators who will be able to successfully compete for federal, foundation, and industry funding and to conduct research and publish their findings.

In addition to completing all courses offered through the HIP curriculum and a mentored capstone project, individuals choose electives offered by the HIP program and from other graduate programs at OHSU. These include graduate courses in the School of Public Health, School of Nursing and School of Medicine including Biomedical Informatics and other basic science courses. Elective curriculum can be designed to best fit with the individual's research focus and methodology.

This track is only available to individuals already enrolled in the certificate track or who have recently completed the certificate. Individuals completing all program requirements will receive a Master of Clinical Research degree.

Requirements for M.C.R. degree completion

A total of 45 credit hours:

  • 16.5 credits for required core courses
  • 6 credits for mentored capstone project
  • 22.5 elective credits
  • Typically completed in 3 years (maximum of 6 years).  M.D. students in the Physician-Scientist Experience may complete in one year accelerated.

While the core required courses and a few electives are tuition-free, most electives will be subject to tuition.  Students in the M.C.R. will need to budget for electives that are subject to tuition and for the University Fee for each term enrolled.  See more about tuition and fees for HIP.

  • Students typically attend class one evening a week (Tuesdays if starting in an even year, Wednesdays if starting in an odd year) from 4:30-6:30 p.m. over 2 years.
  • Classes are of variable length (4 sessions to 11 sessions) and scheduled sequentially.
  • M.C.R. students may add electives to the core curriculum starting as early as their 1st year but will often wait until the 2nd year. Note that electives will be offered on other days than the core courses.  A plan of study is recommended for all years in the program in order to schedule in all electives.
  • See the course descriptions.

Year one:

  • HIP Orientation (half-day seminar)
  • HIP 510 Intro to Clinical Research (online, 1 credit)
  • HIP 511, 512, 513 Clinical Research Design I, II and II (fall, winter and spring terms, 6 credits total)
  • HIP 511A Proposal Development (2 sessions each term, fall winter and spring, 3 credits total) - Please note, you must commit to enroll all 3 terms and be enrolled in Clinical Research Design I, II and III. This course requires intensive work in order to keep on schedule to write a research proposal.

Fall term: HIP 510, HIP 511, and HIP 511A
Winter term: HIP 512 and HIP 511A
Spring term: HIP 513 and HIP 511A
Summer term (optional): Opportunity for an elective (HIP 522)

Year two:

  • HIP 514 Molecular and Cellular Approaches to Disease (7 wks, 2 credits)
  • HIP 516 Protection of Human Subjects (4 wks, 1 credit) 
  • HIP 517 Scientific Writing (6 wks, 1.5 credits)
  • HIP 507A Evidence-based Medicine (8 wks, 2 credits)
  • Elective Opportunities for certificate:
    • HIP 522 Fundamentals for RCTs (6 wks, 1.5 credits)
    • OR HIP 523 Computerized Data Management (6 wks, 1.5 credits)
    • May choose another elective to fulfill requirement with approval

Fall term: HIP 514 and HIP 516
Winter term: HIP 517 and HIP 507A
Spring term: HIP 507A (continued) and opportunity for elective (HIP 523)

Mentored capstone project

  • Provides an intensive, practical and supportive training leading to an academic product to be completed by the end of the 2nd year.
  • Choice of doing either a clinical research study designed, implemented, and analyzed by the student resulting in a publishable manuscript in a peer-reviewed journal; OR writing a NIH-compatible grant application.
  • Planned with the candidate's mentor and the approval of the program directors.
  • Total of 6 academic credits typically divided between two or three terms in Year Two, but the expectation is that trainees are working on this throughout the two years in the HIP Program.  MCR students may take more time to complete the capstone and credits will be adjusted accordingly.

M.C.R. electives

M.C.R. students requiring 22.5 credits in electives may begin adding electives in their first or second year.  Most M.C.R. students finish electives in a third year but have up to 6 years to complete all requirements.  M.C.R. students are required to submit a plan of study and may meet with the HIP program coordinator to schedule their M.C.R. electives.  In additional to electives in HIP, students may take electives from other graduate courses at OHSU.

See the course descriptions for additional elective courses.

Individuals can  select specific courses in clinical and translational research. This option does not include a mentored experience or degree. This option may fulfill a requirement for research training in some department fellowships. Pre-registration is required and enrollment is based on space available. A list of desired courses is submitted as part of the application to the HIP program.

The HIP core courses are offered in a fixed sequence over two years with opportunities for electives throughout the year. Non-degree students often choose to enroll in the Year One Sequence but may take the core courses from either year or any of the electives as long as prerequisites are met.  Non-degree students must choose to take courses for graduate level credit (pass/no pass grade) or for audit (no grade, no credit).   PhD students may request courses to be graded with a letter grade if required by their PhD graduate program.

Typical non-degree seqence

Year one

  • HIP Orientation (half-day seminar)
  • HIP 510 Intro to Clinical Research (online, 1 credit)
  • HIP 511, 512, 513 Clinical Research Design I, II and II (fall, winter and spring terms, 6 credits total)

Year two

  • HIP 514 Molecular and Cellular Approaches to Disease (7 wks, 2 credits)
  • HIP 516 Protection of Human Subjects (4 wks, 1 credit) 
  • HIP 517 Scientific Writing (6 wks, 1.5 credits)
  • HIP 507A Evidence-based Medicine (8 wks, 2 credits)
  • Elective Opportunities:
    • HIP 522 Fundamentals for RCTs (6 wks, 1.5 credits)
    • OR HIP 523 Computerized Data Management (6 wks, 1.5 credits)
    • May choose from other electives with approval if prerequisites are met.

View the course schedule for details

Time commitment

Class schedules

  • Core courses are generally scheduled from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., one evening each week during the academic year.  Electives are also scheduled in the evening or weekends.
  • For the convenience of 2-year certificate track students, classes are scheduled on the same day for both the first and second year.  In general, if you are admitted in an even year, classes are scheduled on Tuesday evening over the two years.  If admitted in an odd year classes are scheduled on a Wednesday evening over the two years.  See course schedules for more details.
  • Trainees should expect an average of 4 hours of homework and reading per week.

Attendance requirement

Individuals accepted into the certificate track program will be asked to sign a contract of commitment to regular attendance (no more than 25% absences, or about 3 absences in a typical 12-week term) and completion of homework assignments.

Mandatory orientation

Mandatory one-time, half-day orientation for certificate and M.C.R. students, Friday, September 20, 2019 from 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Non-degree trainees are strongly encouraged to attend. This orientation is combined with an online course, HIP 510 Introduction to Clinical Research, for one credit.

Mentored capstone project

Certificate and M.C.R. students will need sufficient protected time to work on a mentored research capstone project. The capstone is typically started in the spring of the first year. The amount of time required for this work will depend on the scope of the project and the student-mentor relationship.

Time to degree completion

  • Most students are full-time working professionals and will generally take one or two sequential classes per term.
  • Certificate students will typically need 2 years to complete degree requirements but are allowed up to 4 years to complete the program. A flexible option may be constructed with approval of the HIP director.
  • M.C.R. degree candidates will typically need 3 years to complete degree requirements. Students are allowed 6 years to complete the program from matriculation to the M.C.R. program. While the HIP curriculum is scheduled during evenings, courses offered through other graduate programs are not necessarily scheduled at convenient times and are not offered every term. This track will take advanced planning and will require some flexibility in clinic schedules.