MS in Medical Science (Clinical Translational Science Pathway)

MS in Medical Science (Clinical and Translational Science Pathway)

The Master of Science in Medical Sciences (CTS Pathway) offers a clinical and translational science pathway for those with a rigorous medical sciences background (e.g., health-related professional degree, MS or PhD in basic medical sciences) or those seeking a dual degree (e.g., MD/MS). The program provides mentored research training with a flexible curriculum tailored to the needs of professional scholars interested in designing, implementing and publishing their own research studies or contributing to clinical and translational science teams. The pathway offers 24-credit (thesis required) or 30-credit options each consisting of 14 credit hours of competency-based training (i.e., Certificate in Clinical and Translational Science) combined with additional coursework and independent study (10 or 16 credits) tailored to the scholars research career interest; a program of mentored research training, and a Masters defense focused on the scholar's independent research study. Click here for information on the application process. Click here to download the MSMS Student Handbook


Applicants for the MS in Medical Sciences should have a MS or PhD in basic medical sciences, MD, DMD, DDS, PharmD, DVM, DO, DNP, PA, PT or those seeking a dual degree (e.g., MD/MS). Applications must be formally admitted by the Admissions Committee of the Center for Clinical and Translational Science and the Department of Behavioral Science.

Structure of the Curriculum:

All students in the MSMS-CTS will complete a total of 30 credit hours, but how those credit hours are distributed is determined by whether the student chooses the thesis option (Plan A) or non-thesis option (Plan B). Students entering the Clinical & Translational Pathway who choose the thesis option (Plan A) are required to completed a total of 24 hours of graduate level coursework (i.e., 14 credit hours of core curriculum and 10 credit hours of tailored curriculum) plus at least six hours of masters research. The non-thesis option (Plan B) requires 30 hours of graduate-level coursework (i.e., 14 credit hours of core curriculum and 16 credit hours of tailored curriculum) and preparation of a research paper. For both Plan A and Plan B, 50% of the coursework must be at the 600 level or above and two-thirds of the coursework must be in formally organized courses.

Core Curriculum (14 credit hours): The following courses are the core requirements for the MS program:

Course Number



Course Credits



BSC 731

Methods and Technologies in Clinical and Translational Science

Overview course designed to introduce students to major CTS methods and technologies, enable students to interpret and evaluate research findings, enhance appreciation for multidisciplinary approaches to CTS, and enhance interdisciplinary vocabulary. BSC 731 Methods and Technologies in Clinical and Translational Science is a prerequisite to BSC 732 and must be completed prior to taking BSC 732.


Fall and Spring

BSC 732

Interdisciplinary Protocol Development

Interactive course designed to orient students to leadership and teamwork processes of clinical and translational research and to train students to function effectively in teams. BSC 731 Methods and Technologies in Clinical and Translational Science is a prerequisite to BSC 732 and must be completed prior to taking BSC 732.


Fall and Spring

BSC 733

Seminar in Clinical and Translational Science

This seminar course is designed to orient students to the clinical and translational research community and activities at the University of Kentucky and to incorporate a multidisciplinary cooperative approach to clinical and translational research. Students are expected to apply their knowledge of effective scientific communication, responsible conduct of research, and methods and technologies of clinical and translational science to ongoing discussions. The course will consist of four evening seminars focusing on different topics of clinical and translational research, as well as, 3 additional seminars of the student’s choice. Prereq: Graduate standing.


Fall and Spring

BSC 534

Ethics and Responsibility in Clinical Research

The goal of this course is to provide an overview of ethical considerations when conducting and reporting clinical research, as well as to provide experience in the practice and application of ethics to clinical science. Prereq: This course is designed for scholars pursuing research training in clinical and translational science to integrate and apply knowledge obtained in previous training. Permission is required from the Course Director for entry into the class.


Fall and Spring

BSC 772

Fundamentals of Biostatistics for Clinical and Translational Research

This course is for students that are either actively engaged in clinical and/or translational research or intend to be involved in research in the near future. This courses consists of lectures, demonstrations and discussion sessions on biostatistics for the health sciences. The course activities are intended to promote the application of biostatistics to research concepts in the students’ areas of interest and to foster practical knowledge that supports students’ own research interests. 


Fall and Spring

BSC 790

Research Practicum

Research practicum based on a detailed research training plan developed with the mentor that contributes to original research and peer-reviewed publication.


Fall and Spring


Tailored Curriculum (10-16 credit hours):

This portion of the Master’s Program can be completed in the following ways:    

  1. Approved area of emphasis (i.e., cellular mechanisms of health & disease).

  2. Individually-designed curriculum from health-related disciplines tailored to the scholar’s research activities and goals. 

Tailored programs must be developed in conjunction with, and approved by the Master’s Advisory Committee and pre-approved by the Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Behavioral Science.

Mentored Research: 

The mentor/trainee relationship is probably the single most important predictor of a scholar’s success in early stages of a research career.         

Master’s Advisory Committee consists of:

Primary Mentor – UK faculty member with a successful, funded research program in the scholar’s area of interest.

The primary mentor should be willing to support the scholar’s:
   - Curriculum progress
   - Research productivity
   - Dissemination of scientific ideas
   - Career development

Two Co-Mentors – UK faculty members chosen to support interdisciplinary content, techniques and skills related to the scholar’s research interest.      

Graduate School Requirements

Coursework Requirements:

Graduate students are eligible to take regular courses which meet as organized classes and independent study or research courses in which each student carries on investigations independent of class meetings. Independent study or research courses must not duplicate thesis work; thesis work must be done in addition to the minimum course requirements. At least two-thirds of the minimum requirements for the master's degree must be in regular courses, and at least half of the minimum course requirements (excluding thesis, practicum, or internship credit) must be in 600- or 700-level courses.

 Exceptions to this rule may be made only with the approval of the Graduate Council. Candidates for the master's degree must have a major area (defined usually as an academic department) and must take at least two-thirds of the course work in this area; the other one-third may be taken in this area or in related graduate areas. When the establishment of major topics seems to require it, the Graduate Council may, on recommendation of the appropriate DGS, authorize courses taught outside the major to count toward the major.

Course Substitutions:

Depending on the circumstances, a DGS may request certain graduate course substitutions in a master’s degree curriculum for individual students. All such requests must be approved by the Senior Associate Dean of the Graduate School. Approval of such requests is contingent upon the student earning a grade of “A” or “B” in any course to be used as a substitute. Course substitutions that imply a curriculum change for the program require the approval of the Graduate Council.

Transfer of Credit:

Upon request of the DGS, a total of 9 hours (or 25% of regular course degree requirements) may be transferred into a master's degree program. These hours include all post-baccalaureate work, graduate work taken at another regionally-accredited university or as a student in another graduate program at the University of Kentucky (not international credits). The following rules also apply to credit transfer:     

  • Course credits applied toward a previously awarded graduate degree cannot be transferred. Transfer of independent work, research, thesis, or dissertation credit is not permitted.

  • Short courses lasting fewer weeks than the number of credits may not be transferred.

  • A student must have been in graduate status at the time the courses were taken.

  • A student must be in good academic standing at the time of transfer.

  • Only courses assigned a B grade or better can be transferred.

  • Courses must have been taken no more than 10 years prior to the semester the transfer is requested.

  • Transfer of external credit cannot be applied to a graduate certificate unless it is specified and justified   in the initial request to establish the certificate (or at the time of renewal).

 Complete the following form located at

Application for Degree: 

To be eligible to receive a degree, masters/specialist students must submit an on-line “Application for Degree” form via:

Applications must be received in the Graduate School within 30 days of the start of the semester in which the student expects to complete their work (or within 15 days of the start of Summer Session II). 

Final Examination for the Master’s Degree:

The DGS must notify the Graduate School of the intent to schedule a master's (or specialist) Final Examination at least two weeks prior to the examination date. This is accomplished by submission of the on-line “Final Masters or Specialist Degree” form;

Master’s students will be eligible to sit for the Final Examination only if they have completed all coursework requirements for the degree, or if the remaining course work is in progress at the time of the examination. Students with “I” grades or “S” grades in credit-bearing courses are not eligible to sit for the final examination. The overall graduate GPA of the student must be 3.00 or better to sit for the examination. The final examination must be conducted no later than eight days before the last day of classes for the degree to be awarded at the end of that term (see the University Calendar or the Graduate School Graduation Deadlines at the end of this section).

The Master’s Thesis:

After successful completion of the examination, the student has 60 days to submit a final copy of the thesis to the Graduate School; otherwise, a second Final Examination may be required. Requests for exceptions to the 60-day policy should be in the form of an e-mail from the student’s advisor to the Senior Associate Dean at

Composition of the Master’s Committee:

The examining committee consists of a minimum of three faculty members. At least two committee members (including the chair or co-chair) must be members of the graduate faculty; and at least one of these must be a Full Member of the graduate faculty. It is expected that at least two members of the committee will be from the student’s program/department. The committee is recommended by the DGS using the “Final Masters Degree Examination” form and is appointed by the Dean of the Graduate School. Questions regarding the eligibility of individuals without graduate faculty status to serve on master’s committees should be directed to Assistant Dean Cleo Price at In all decisions the majority opinion of the committee prevails. If the committee is evenly divided, the candidate fails. If the candidate fails the final examination, the committee may recommend to the Dean of the Graduate School the conditions under which a second examination may be administered. The minimum time between examinations is four months. Insofar as it is practicable, the same examining committee gives this examination. A second examination must be taken within one year after taking the first examination; a third examination is not permitted.

Electronic Theses:

Effective fall 2013, all master’s theses must be submitted in electronic format. Instructions are available at view the current collection of ETD’s, go to


Time Limit for Master’s Degree:

Students first enrolled in a master’s/specialist program in the fall 2005 semester and beyond have 6 years to complete all requirements for the degree, but extensions up to an additional 4 years may be requested for a total of 10 years. Extensions up to 2 years may be approved by the Dean of the Graduate School or designate. Requests for extensions longer than 2 years must be considered by Graduate Council. Requests should be initiated by the Director of Graduate Studies and submitted to the Senior Associate Dean at

NOTE: Programs may opt to shorten or extend this newly established required time to complete the master’s/specialist program. Petitions must be submitted to Graduate Council for approval. The program should be able to demonstrate that the 6 year time limit would be detrimental to the progress of their students or to the program itself. If the request is to extend the time limit, the program must demonstrate how students will remain current in the field over this extended time period. Any approved change in the time limit would apply to all students in the program.