Program Description

The PhD program in Clinical Translational Sciences (CTS) at the University of Arizona (UA) welcomes applications from post-baccalaureate students who have earned a bachelor's or master's degree in a biological or health science discipline and from postgraduate students holding a terminal health sciences degree (e.g., MD, PharmD, DrPH, DNP, MBBS, etc.).

The program is intended to provide the foundation for a research career in the Clinical Translational Sciences. To achieve this aim, a CTS PhD student receives training in the following areas:

  1. The student can expect to acquire an adequate base knowledge of biostatistics and to complete coursework that is specific to the student’s area of interest in health sciences research.
  2. Experience and specialized training in research, culminating in a major research project for the dissertation.
  3. Professional development, including experience and training in research ethics, presentation and publication of research findings and preparation of grant applications.

The mission of the PhD program is to train the student to be a skilled researcher who can successfully address both clinical and basic science aspects of translational research. The program provides an avenue for the student to gain experience in and exposure to the diverse areas of the clinical translational sciences. Students customize their elective coursework to obtain in-depth knowledge in a specific area of health sciences research, such as immunology, neuroscience, cardiology, cellular and molecular medicine, pharmacology, oncology or others. Courses for the CTS major may be selected from any of UA's Health Sciences colleges: Medicine, Pharmacy, Public Health and Nursing.  Each student also completes coursework for a doctoral minor offered by another UA graduate program or proposes a customized minor in CTS to examine an area of translational science distinct from their major research focus.

To achieve this research and academic training, each student selects a faculty mentor, contributing to the research done in the mentor’s lab or research group. In addition to advising the student on appropriate coursework to undertake, the mentor provides research training and guides the student’s development and completion of a specific laboratory or clinical research project for their dissertation. The faculty mentor provides the resources needed for the student to complete the dissertation project.

PhD students may be supported by the CTS program for their first year in the program as a graduate research assistant depending on availability of funds. An incoming student without a mentor pursues research rotations with faculty, and by the end of the first year in the program, each PhD student identifies the faculty mentor who will advise them and guide their research. The mentor typically funds the student via a graduate research assistantship. All students are also encouraged to apply for grants to support their research and are provided with assistance in preparing grant applications.

This program is offered at UA’s Tucson and Phoenix campuses and leverages the faculty and graduate courses within the University of Arizona Health Sciences colleges (the College of Health Sciences, the Colleges of Medicine in Phoenix and Tucson, the College of Pharmacy, the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, and the College of Nursing).

For more information about the CTS graduate program, please visit the CTS website.