Clinical Masters (MSc)

Development of new treatments, training future research leaders—in-depth research needs qualified doctors to create and conduct human investigations.

A Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) Clinical Master of Science (MSc) degree allows any physician in a PCOM MEDNet residency program to perform an independent investigation during this post-graduate medical training. By doing so, candidates add depth to their training which will prove advantageous not only to future patients, but also when applying for staff positions, especially those in academic medicine. In addition, attending physicians who are staff members at a PCOM-affiliated hospital are also permitted to apply to this research degree program.

Through the development of innovative approaches employing osteopathic and/or pharmacologic (or other) procedures, patient care can be advanced. With these skills, successful candidates then contribute to the overall body of medical knowledge and provide healthcare benefits to the general public in ways other than, yet highly complementary to, direct patient care.

Each candidate learns directly how to create and conduct a pilot clinical investigation. A proposal is to be submitted during the first year of residency with all work on the research project completed by midpoint of the final year of the program.

How to Apply

The major goal of the Clinical Master of Science (MSc) is to include independent research during residency training that leads to a completed thesis project adding new information in the resident's specialty field.

Residents

To become a candidate for the degree, you must:

Candidates for the degree will submit their proposal during the first year of residency. It is expected that all work on the research project will be completed by midpoint of the final year of the program (see thesis completion calendar).

Attending Physicians

Attending physicians who are staff members at a PCOM-affiliated hospital are also permitted to apply for admission; the tuition fee is $500 per year of enrollment in the program with a two-year maximum. If the project requires more time there is no additional tuition fee.

All other requirements are identical to those for residents.


Specific Guidelines

1. Selection of a Thesis Advisor. - The thesis advisor must be a faculty member of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. The resident should carefully evaluate the advisor's commitment to the proposed research project. Submit selection of thesis advisor to the office of the Associate Dean of Graduate Medical Education by February 1 of the first year.

2. Submission of Thesis Proposal. - Deliver the thesis proposal to the office of the Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education by April 1. Proposals will be reviewed and approved by the appropriate committees. After approval, you must submit your proposal and informed consent form to the IRB (Institutional Review Board) where this research will be conducted. Patients can not be entered into your study until final approval by the appropriate IRB. Your program director has a copy of the IRB manual containing all guidelines and forms. If not, contact the Office of Research Development.

The Thesis proposal will include:

  • Project background (minimum of 1000 words) including preliminary literature reference (not less than 10 primary literature sources)
  • Statement of the purpose and expected outcomes of the research (approximately 250 words)
  • Study design to include methods, inclusionary/exclusionary criteria, consent forms, and time table. 

Formation of Thesis Committee

After approval of your proposal, a thesis committee will be formed in consultation with the resident and the advisor. The committee will consist of three members including the advisor. It is strongly suggested that one committee member be selected from the College's Basic Science faculty. The committee membership must be approved by the office of the Associate Dean of Graduate Medical Education.

Required Thesis Committee Meetings

Semi-annual meetings of the thesis committee are required and must be documented. Scheduling will be determined by the resident and the advisor. A written progress summary will be submitted to the office of Associate Dean of Graduate Medical Education. 

Generally, no courses are required to complete the degree. However, a seminar series will be planned for resident presentations. This series is intended to inform residents of ongoing research activities of their colleagues in other programs. It also provides an opportunity for collegial feedback on ongoing studies as well as experience in presenting a research seminar.

Emphasis of this presentation should be on background knowledge of your project and the appropriateness of methods used in your study. Preliminary results may be presented at this time.

The office of the Associate Dean of Graduate Medical Education will forward copies of all documentation (e.g., IRB approval) of the resident's research program to the Office of the Assistant Dean of Curriculum and Research.

Upon completion of the research and writing the thesis, the candidate shall present his or her findings to the faculty and college community in a seminar format.

Candidates may submit and defend their thesis at any time during the calendar year according to the published general guidelines. The specific deadlines to be included in the annual PCOM commencement ceremonies will be similarly published each academic year and strictly adhered to.

A report of successful thesis defense shall be sent to the office of the Assistant Dean for Curriculum and Research who shall determine completion of all requirements and convey the recommendation of degree conferral to the Dean. The Dean will submit the names of the candidates for the degree of Clinical Master of Science to the President and the Board of Trustees.

The thesis must be bound and presented to the Dean for deposition in the library at least one (1) week before commencement ceremonies; the Clinical Master of Science degree will be conferred at the annual commencement ceremonies of the College.

Policy on Animal Experimentation

A resident requesting approval to perform animal experimentation for the Clinical Master of Science degree must adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Animal experiments must be designed with the reasonable expectation that any resultant positive data:
      • can be applied to the diagnosis and/or treatment of a clinical condition, i.e., a clear clinical target must form the basis for conducting the research;
      •  would have a high probability of being accepted for publication in a clinical journal directly related to the residency program supporting the project.
  • A physician must be a member of the resident's thesis committee who:
      • is knowledgeable in the clinical field which is the target of this research;
      • would support, in principle, the clinical application of these data to the proposed clinical target if the results from animal experimentation are conclusive.
  • The resident must submit the proposal to the Director of the Clinical Master of Science degree program who will then review it with the Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education and the Associate Dean for Curriculum and Research. Approval must be obtained prior to commencement of all animal experimentation. A copy of the IACUC manual containing all guidelines and forms can be obtained by contacting the Office of Research Development.
  • After receiving project approval, the resident must submit the project to the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) at PCOM for review. When obtained, a copy of the IACUC approval letter must be given to the Director of the Clinical Master of Science degree program. If the project is to be conducted at another institution, review must be obtained from the respective IACUC; this approval letter should then be submitted to both the Director of the Clinical Master of Science degree program and the chair of the PCOM IACUC. Animals can not be entered into your study until final approval by the appropriate IACUC.

Thesis Calendar (Pertains to Final Year of Resident's Program)

Candidates may submit and present their thesis at any time during the calendar year prior to published deadlines if the general guidelines below are satisfied.

To be considered for graduation in the present academic year, the specific dates below establish necessary deadlines.

Thesis Submission - [February 1]

Candidates shall submit a printed copy of the thesis to the Office of Curriculum and Research and the members of the Thesis Committee at least two weeks prior to the Thesis Presentation. This copy must be in the final format according to the Thesis Guide. Photographs, graphs, illustrations, and tables need not be in the original form for this copy of the thesis. The Thesis Presentation will not be scheduled until this copy has been reviewed.

Thesis Presentation - [February 1 - February 28]

A seminar will be scheduled by the Office of Curriculum and Research for the presentation of the thesis by the candidate for graduation. The candidate must demonstrate competence in the specific area of research through the oral presentation with accompanying slides and the ability to answer questions pertaining to the study from those in attendance.

The designated Chairperson of the examining committee will submit a written statement signed by each member of the Thesis Committee declaring that the candidate has successfully completed the requirements for the thesis.

Final Copy - [April 1]

Submission of final copy ready for binding with all signatures to the Office of Curriculum and Research.

Contact

Frederick J. Goldstein, PhD
Director, Clinical Master of Science Program
Phone: 215-871-6859
Fax: 215-871-6889
fredg@pcom.edu

Application Form

Download the application form [PDF].