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Graduate Training Programs in Clinical Investigation

Degree Programs

Student Handbook 2022-23

Student Handbook 2023-24

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

The PhD degree is our flagship program designed for those who currently hold a postdoctoral fellowship or junior faculty appointment within the Johns Hopkins Medical Institution (JHMI).  It is intended to train sub-specialty physicians, leading to both clinical board eligibility in a medical discipline and the PhD. 

Students take one year of full-time didactic instruction after an initial training year in a medical or surgical subspecialty.  This provides the scientific grounding for subsequent original research.  GTPCI faculty and a mentor from the fellow’s SOM home division or department, jointly mentor thesis research.  Fellows already enrolled in a clinical fellowship program in SOM usually apply during their first year of clinical training.

Students must satisfy all University requirements for the PhD, including preliminary oral examination, thesis preparation, and final oral defense.

Here you can find a complete list of GTPCI PhD graduates

Master of Health Science (MHS)

The MHS degree is a one-year, full-time training program for physicians or other health care professionals with an advanced degree who desire rigorous training in patient-oriented research.  The MHS degree is appropriate for JHMI junior faculty or post-doctoral clinical fellows who cannot accommodate the three-year PhD commitment because of departmental constraints or other issues.  It is also appropriate for professionals who do not have an academic appointment within JHMI, and for medical students who desire intensive training in clinical investigation.

Thesis research is not required.

Here you can find a complete list of GTPCI MHS graduates

Pathways for PhD and MHS Programs

During each of the four terms of the academic year, students will take required courses known as the Foundational GTPCI Courses.  These courses are specifically designed for students in the GTPCI program, which include courses on biomedical writing, grant writing and thesis preparation, ethical and regulatory issues, and a seminar series in clinical investigation.  Thus, we believe the skills acquired in these courses are critical and foundational.  

Effective August 2023, GTPCI introduced four academic pathways for PhD and MHS students: General Clinical Investigation (including clinical trials), Disease Oriented Studies, Data Science (including machine learning and artificial intelligence), and Health Services Research.  The field of clinical investigation has expanded since GTPCI began in 1993, so the goal of these pathways is to allow students more flexibility to choose coursework relevant to their academic interests.

The General Clinical Investigation pathway’s goal is to teach students key principles necessary for the conduct of clinical studies, including development of research questions and appropriate study designs, research protocols, consent statements, monitoring plans, and data collection plans.  Students who choose the General Clinical Investigation pathway are those interested in a career focusing on clinical trials, or areas of investigation that do not fall within data science, disease-oriented studies, and health services research.  An example of a complete General Clinical Investigation curriculum is provided for those who wish to follow an already curated curriculum.    

The Disease-Oriented Studies pathway is for those interested in linking a basic pathophysiological mechanism, with a risk for disease, or the development of an intervention targeting that disease. Such research is sometimes referred to as ‘translational research.’  

Data Science combines medical domain expertise with math and statistics, specialized programming, advanced analytics, and in some cases, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning to uncover actionable insights in biomedicine. Students who choose the Data Science pathway will create a learning plan to achieve the required skills necessary to interrogate large databases and uncover insights from big data. 

Health Services Research is the field of scientific investigation that examines how social factors, organizational structures and processes, financing systems, technologies, and behaviors affect multiple facets of health and healthcare. The goals of the Health Services Research pathway are to guide students in formulating an approach that is nested within economic or sociological theory, to answer research questions using a contemporary approach to causal inference, and to teach students skills in the analysis of cost, utilization, and value.

This curriculum table provides details of all courses (required or recommended electives) for each pathway. 

Applicants may designate a specific pathway in their GTPCI application.  Or after acceptance into the GTPCI program, may consult members of the GTPCI Academic Committee for guidance in choosing an appropriate pathway that is congruent with their academic pursuits.