Master's in Clinical Research Design and Statistical Analysis

The Clinical Research Design and Statistical Analysis program (OJOC CRDSA)  is now accepting  applications for the cohort starting in Fall 2021.  The admission is on a rolling basis.

Offered by the Department of Biostatistics, the On-Job/On-Campus Master's in Clinical Research Design and Statistical Analysis (CRDSA) Program was developed in a non-residential format to provide a means for working professionals who are interested in clinical research to develop expertise in research design and statistical analysis while continuing their professional employment. The program is open to a broad spectrum of candidates such as physicians, dentists, pharmacists, pharmacologists, basic scientists, study coordinators, managers and others who are interested in pursuing a career in Clinical Research and Clinical Trials.

The CRDSA program is designed to improve the quality of clinical research and to address the shortage of persons with clinical expertise who are trained in quantitative research methods. These problems reflect the increasing complexity of clinical research, the increasing value of that clinical research, and the limited training of health professionals in research design and statistical analysis. Most clinical training programs include only minimal introductory statistics and research design activities. This CRDSA program is designed specifically to teach the skills and knowledge needed to carry out quantitative clinical research.

Non-Residential Format

The U-M School of Public Health pioneered the non-residential OJ/OC format in 1972. Approximately 300 students have successfully completed the CRDSA program since then. Participants meet in Ann Arbor at the School of Public Health for a four-day weekend (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) once every four to five weeks for thirty hours of class time. Between weekends on campus, participants complete course assignments and work on projects while remaining on their jobs. This Master of Science Degree Program lasts nineteen weekends.

Future Program Dates

Cohort XX
October 2021–April 2023

Each student's work setting becomes a personal research laboratory; and many of the program's assignments are created with the work setting in mind. Participants design and implement research projects, review proposals, and critique literature in their fields. The integration of work and academics increases the effectiveness of the program by making it part of, rather than isolated from, practice.

The content of the program can be defined in a number of ways: the purposes of research, research design concepts, data collection methods, and statistical or analytical methods. The program provides concepts and methods that relate to the purposes of clinical research, clinical epidemiology, clinical trials, program evaluation, and technology assessment. Research design concepts include the traditional approaches to the scientific method: the concepts of validity, reliability, causal relationships, the role of randomization, standards for comparison, and sampling, as well as other recently developed methods of approaching decisions about research outcomes such as decision analysis and cost-utility analysis. The data collection methods deal with instrumentation, questionnaire construction, nonreactive measures, survey techniques, qualitative data, measurement and standardization problems, concepts and criteria of normalcy, and disease and diagnostic criteria. Statistical techniques for estimation and hypothesis testing are presented, including comparison of proportions, chi-square test, comparison of means, analysis of variance and covariance, multiple regression analysis, logistic regression, and survival analysis.

In addition to a comprehensive curriculum in research design and statistical analysis, other content relevant to clinical researchers includes: ethical and legal issues in clinical research, technical writing skills and proposal/report writing, management of research, and behavioral factors in clinical research. Students learn computer skills and concepts, including data file management, data organization, and use of statistical packages. Visiting faculty with experience in specialized research subjects meet with the students to discuss current problems in clinical research.

  • Foundations of Public Health Practice
    This module was designed to address 12 foundational learning objectives of public health. Completion of this module and exam are part of the curricular requirements for MPH, MHSA, MHI, MS, and PhD students at Michigan Public Health. The module is divided into four parts - you will hear from UM faculty and practitioners from the region about the core philosophies of public health, the importance of evidence-based practice, the various factors that influence health, and the necessity of taking an ecological perspective to population health.
  • BIOS 511: Computer Packages
    An introduction to statistical computer packages in both network and microcomputer environments. Data organization and file management will also be discussed.
  • BIOS 517: Survey Sampling for Clinical Research
    The main sampling methods used for surveys in clinical research are discussed, including: probability sampling; simple random sampling; stratified sampling; systematic sampling; multi-stage sampling; sampling with probability proportional to size; cost factors; sampling errors; non-response; sampling frame problems; non-sampling errors; practical designs and procedures.
  • BIOS 523: Statistical Methods for Epidemiology
    Statistical methods commonly used in clinical research, with an emphasis on choosing appropriate procedures and subsequent interpretation. Topics covered: 2 x 2 tables, Mantel-Haenszel, tests for trend in risk, methods for matched designs, logistic regression, and Cox models.
  • BIOS 524: Biostatistics for Clinical Researchers
    Basic probability theory and statistical methods used by biostatisticians. These include design of experiments, point and interval estimation, and hypothesis testing. New topics include simple and multiple regression methods, and analysis of variance and covariance.
  • BIOS 558: Clinical Trials and Study Design
    This course is designed for individuals interested in the scientific, policy, and management aspects of clinical trials, with emphasis on scientifically rigorous trial design. Topics include types of clinical research, study design, treatment allocation, randomization and stratification, quality control, sample size requirements, patient consent, and interpretation of results. This course will additionally cover strengths and limitations of alternative study designs such as quasi-experiments and observational studies. Common sources of bias in these alternative study designs will be described along with design approaches to minimize bias.
  • BIOS 581: Biostatistical Modeling in Clinical Research
    This is a course in statistical modeling, with an emphasis on models for correlated data that arise when subjects are repeatedly measured or are clustered. These models, called mixed models, are extensions of linear and nonlinear regression and analysis of variance. Examples will be drawn from clinical studies, such as multi-arm biomarker studies and crossover trials. Analyses of population pharmacokinetics and longitudinal data will also be discussed. Hands-on data analysis and presentation using standard computer software for linear and nonlinear analysis will be emphasized. Course goals include the ability to formulate and evaluate a model, to read the scientific literature that employs these models, to interact fruitfully with data modeling specialists, and to present the results of these models mathematically and graphically.
  • BIOS 590: Statistical Analysis and Presentation of Research Topics
    This course is intended to integrate and apply biostatistical and epidemiologic methods presented in other OJ/OC courses to clinical research data. Students will identify the scientific objectives of a clinical research study and develop a statistical analysis strategy appropriate for those objectives; plan strategies for statistical design and analysis and implement these strategies; learn to be aware of problems that arise in data collection; learn to communicate through presentation of oral and written reports and through student and faculty critiques of these reports; learn to communicate results of clinical research projects in clear, accurate, concise language; learn appropriate writing styles and formats for clinical research articles, and apply writing skills to research papers.
  • BIOS 599: Planning and Funding Clinical Research
    This course will encompass four main areas of exploration. The preparation of a written document whose focus is on an integrated research plan including specific aims, background and significance, design, methods, logistical implementation and statistical analysis, and fiscal requirements. The evaluation of clinical research plans. Identification of funding sources and their requirements. And identification of the role of the research administrator in facilitating clinical research.
  • EPID 601 : Methods of Epidemiology: Measure and Measurement
    An overview and introduction to the measure of association used in epidemiologic studies, as well as a description of the nature and characteristics of major epidemiologic study designs.
  • HBHE 531: Psychosocial Aspects of Research: Data Collection and Threats to Validity
    Conceptual and operational issues in psy-chosocial research are discussed. Topics include: quality of life measurement, models of health decision making, measuring attitudes and beliefs, and behavioral threats to validity such as patient adherence and patient-provider relationships. Designing a survey instrument, writing items, and selecting a method of data collection will also be emphasized.
  • HMP 540: Legal Rules and Ethical Issues for Clinical Research
    This course covers the law, ethics, and policy of human subjects research. Special emphasis is placed on informed consent, protocol design, data management and privacy, and research integrity (falsification, fabrication, and plagiary).
  • HMP 542: Cost Utility Analysis and Clinical Research
    Economic issues and analytical techniques relevant to the performance and evaluation of clinical research are investigated. Special emphasis is placed on the theory, practice, usefulness and limitations of cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analysis.

The MS in CRDSA is administered through the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies. To apply for the CRDSA program please fill out a Rackham Graduate School application. All applicants should document their current or potential involvement in research including clinical studies, clinical research, clinical epidemiology, or clinical trials and quantitative skills if available.

Application Procedure

The applicants to the CRDSA program must submit the following supplemental materials (online) in addition to a complete Rackham Application and non-refundable application fee:

  • Official transcripts of all college-level education (upload copy and/or mail original with application).
  • Three letters of recommendation (your recommenders submit them online).
  • Statement of Purpose (submit online with application).
  • Personal Statement (submit online with application).
  • Curriculum Vitae (submit online with application).
  • International students whose first language is not English must also submit TOEFL or MELAB scores

Questions regarding admissions or the application process may be directed to:

  • By Telephone: 734-615-9812
  • By Fax: 734-763-2215
  • By E-mail:

Approximate Tuition per Year (2019-2020)
Type Amount
Year 1
MI Resident $26,391 (3 semesters: Fall, Winter and Spring/Summer)
Non-MI Resident $43,827 (3 semesters: Fall, Winter and Spring/Summer)
Year 2
MI Resident $17,594 (2 semesters: Fall and Winter)
Non-MI Resident $29, 218 (2 semesters: Fall and Winter)

The Biostatistics Department does not have funding available for students in this program. Most students fund themselves or receive funding support from their employer. Students may apply for financial aid through the University of Michigan's Office of Financial Aid. This office requires applicants for any and all types of financial aid to complete the Free Application for Federal Student AID (FAFSA) provided by the American College Testing Center (ACTC).

  • Lili Zhao, Ph.D. , Research Assistant Professor, Biostatistics, University of Michigan
  • Alexander Tsodikov, Ph.D., Professor of Biostatistics, University of Michigan
  • Jim Lepkowski, Ph.D., Professor, Biostatistics, University of Michigan
  • Susan Murray, Sc.D.,  Professor, Biostatistics, University of Michigan
  • Gregory Saltzman, Ph.D., Adjunct Research Scientist, Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations, University of Michigan. Professor in economics and management at Albion College
  • Aruna Sarma, Ph.D., M.H.A, Research Associate Professor, Urology; Assistant Research Scientist, Epidemiology, Adjunct Lecturer, Epidemiology University of Michigan
  • Anca Tilea, MPH, Research Area Specialist Senior, Biostatistics, University of Michigan
  • Kevin He, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor, Biostatistics, University of Michigan
  • Kayte Spector-Bagdady, JD, MBioethics, Assistant Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Michigan

Contact Information


Telephone: 734-615-9812

Department of Biostatistics
OJ/OC Program in CRDSA
School of Public Health
University of Michigan
1415 Washington Heights
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2029

Fax: 734-763-2215