Clinical & Translational Research Ethics Fellowship

The Fellowship in Clinical and Translational Research Ethics (CTRE) Program was created by the Institute of Human Values in Health Care (the Institute) as part of the CTRE Core of the South Carolina Clinical and Translational Research Institute (SCTR). The program is designed to provide health professionals who are interested in clinical research ethics with sufficient background in that discipline to warrant special recognition in the form of a certificate in clinical and translational research ethics.

The faculty of the CTRE Fellowship Program comprises a wide variety of health care professionals at MUSC, other universities, and the National Institutes of Health, who are dedicated to providing the best possible program. With their expertise, the program boasts a broad spectrum of specialties. The certificate of completion is a valuable indication of competence in research ethics on CVs and grant applications, especially given the increasing value placed on research ethics performance, education, and credentials. For MUSC faculty and staff, Fellowship completion may count towards promotion and tenure (College of Medicine, College of Nursing). Graduates of the program include junior and senior faculty, administrators, masters and doctoral students, research coordinators, and technical personnel.


The program is comprised of four courses provided in an online format and may be completed in one or two years. Using a variety of instructional methods, these courses provide a broad and deep background in research ethics, sufficient to earn special recognition in the form of a certificate. The program covers all clinical and translational research ethics competencies.

Year 1, Fall

ETH 738 Clinical Research Ethics Seminar Series 1
ETH 750 Ethical Issues in Clinical Research 1
Semester Total 2

Year 1, Spring

ETH 705 Key Ethical Concepts in Clinical & Translational Investigation 1
ETH 789 Advanced Ethical Issues in Clinical Research 2
Semester Total 2
Curriculum Total 5

Year 1, Fall

ETH 750 Ethical Issues in Clinical Research 1
Semester Total 1

Year 1, Spring

ETH 789 Advanced Ethical Issues in Clinical Research 2
Semester Total 2

Year 2, Fall

ETH 738 Clinical Research Ethics Seminar Series 1
Semester Total 1

Year 2, Spring

ETH 705 Key Ethical Concepts in Clinical & Translational Investigation 1
Semester Total 1
Curriculum Total 5

Fall semester courses run August through December. Spring semester courses run January through May. No courses are offered during the Summer semester.

Core Competencies

The Clinical & Translational Research Ethics Fellowship core competencies consist of the following.

  • Understand the fundamental principles of the protection of human subjects, the main authoritative bodies, relevant codes, and scope of enforcement;
  • Determine risk-benefit ratio of research protocols, balancing risks against potential outcomes, and critique protocols for risks to human subjects;
  • Describe the elements of informed consent, including ensuring voluntariness and decision-making capacity of participants, avoiding undue influence or coercion, and providing details of the risk-benefit calculation;
  • Apply the main regulatory precepts, rules, guidelines, codes, and professional standards in the conduct of clinical and translational research;
  • Ensure fairness in recruiting participants and in distributing the benefits and burdens of research;
  • Understand and critique special issues that arise in research with vulnerable participants and the need for additional safeguards;
  • Adhere to all institutional review board (IRB) procedures and describe the principles of research documentation, validation, and audit;
  • Ensure appropriate levels of privacy protection throughout all phases of a study;
  • Describe the basic principles and practical importance of proper study design and analytical techniques;
  • Discuss the importance of data and safety monitoring plans and boards;
  • Use bioinformatics ethically in clinical and translational research;
  • Recognize the demographic, geographic, and ethnographic features within communities and populations when designing and critiquing clinical studies
  • Sumarize the principles and practices of community-engaged research, including its ethical complexities and cultural sensitivities.
  • Describe cultural and social variation in standards of research integrity;
  • Determine authorship using relevant standards and criteria;
  • Describe the role of peer review in funding and publication;
  • Avoid irresponsible practices, such as duplicate publication, redundant publication, and copyright violation;
  • Identify and manage conflicts of interest in research, including conflicts in financial affairs, intellectual property, employment, and industry collaboration.
  • Identify and manage conflicts of interests associated with research industry collaborations.
  • Identify, investigate, and report misconduct in research — fabrication and falsification of data, and plagiarism.

Course Registration & Fees

Instructions on course registration will be provided to those accepted to the fellowship. Registration for all courses will go through the Office of Enrollment Management (OEM) with records reflected on official MUSC transcripts. Registration process and associated fees depends on the individual's status as a Degree-seeking or Non-degree seeking student, as outlined below and will be determined on a semester-by-semester basis.

If you are currently registered for any degree-granting program in any college at MUSC, whether full-time or part-time, then you are considered a degree seeking student and thus will be taking the fellowship courses above and beyond what is required for your degree. However, several of the fellowship courses have been designated as Interprofessional Education (IPE) courses and thus may count towards your IPE curriculum requirements depending on your respective program.

Full-time and part-time tuition and fees vary by each individual academic program and college.

Part-time students pay tuition by the credit hour and have additional fees as designated by their respective college/program; and thus will be required to pay tuition and fees accordingly for the additional fellowship courses not part of your college/program curriculum. Please see Schedule of Academic Charges.

Full-time status varies by semester, college, and academic level. Please review the full-time status policy for your respective program. Most programs do not require additional tuition and fees for elective courses if enrolled as a full-time student, paying full-time tuition and fees for their program.

Students, please contact your respective program administrator or OEM administrator to confirm your enrollment status and any potential tuition and fees that may apply to you for the additional fellowship courses.

***Please note that you are NOT required to complete the fellowship curriculum prior to graduating from your degree program. Once you graduate, you may transition to the non-degree seeking status for which those rules would apply for the remainder of the fellowship.

If you are NOT currently enrolled in a degree-seeking program at MUSC, then you are considered a non-degree seeking student. This includes the following:

  • All those not affiliated with MUSC
  • MUSC medical residents, fellows, and post-docs (not enrolled in a degree program)
  • MUSC faculty, staff, or alumni (not enrolled in a degree program)

***Please note: if you are enrolled in the MSCR/CCR or any other degree program then you are considered a degree seeking student and thus the degree seeking rules above would apply despite your dual role as MUSC faculty/staff/trainee. After graduation you may transition to non-degree seeking status. As well, if you begin the fellowship program as a non-degree seeking student, and later enroll in a degree program at MUSC, then you will be considered a degree seeking student for that semester, and thus the rules and fees based on your respective program would apply. Your status is determine on a semester-by-semester basis.

Currently, the Provost has agreed to waive all tuition and fees for non-degree seeking students for the fellowship courses. As noted above, you will now have an official MUSC academic transcript!

Application Process

To apply for the fellowship, health care professionals or those training in a health care profession who are interested in clinical and translational research ethics must complete an application form. Completion of a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university by the time of matriculation is required. Applications are accepted and reviewed by the CTRE Fellowship Admissions Committee on a year-round basis; however, the program matriculates only during the fall semester each year. No application fee required.

Applications should be submitted to the CTRE Fellowship Director: Dr. Andrea Boan at (843-876-1064).

Admissions Committee

  • Andrea Boan, Ph.D., MSCR, PA-C (Chair)
  • Robert Sade, M.D.
  • Daniel Lackland, DrPH
  • Habib Rizk, M.D., MSCR

Fellowship Graduate Testimonials

A challenging, informative curriculum led by an array of talented professionals with backgrounds in health policy, law, medicine, and humanities. Very beneficial, highly recommended!

For me, the highlight of being a CTRE fellow is the interdisciplinary training. As the Coordinator of my Institutional Ethics Committee and Stem Cell Research Committee, this fellowship helped me to broaden my understanding of bioethics and ethical issues. Over the course of the fellowship, I found myself excited to participate with other fellows, shared my views, suggestions, and analyses, as well as being surrounded by a group of faculty and fellows who were passionate and truly generous with their knowledge and ideas. Due to the broad-based aspect of the fellowship, I can effectively & scientifically contribute to my work.

I participated in the CTRE fellowship as a new faculty member at MUSC in veterinary medicine with no exposure to human clinical research.  I learned a lot about the ethics of clinical research and enjoyed the online format that I could flexibly schedule into my work life.  Perhaps more than the enjoyment of learning ethics, I valued meeting program faculty and fellows with interests similar to mine.  I highly recommend the CTRE fellowship.

I thoroughly enjoyed the CTRE course. Its format and delivery exceeded my expectations. Very thought-provoking content with a workload that was manageable while I worked full-time. A ‘must-do’ for anyone involved in human subject research.

The CTRE Fellowship Program provided me with outstanding training that will be extremely beneficial as I move forward in my career as a clinical scientist. The knowledge that I gained as part of this program helps me to feel more confident that I am conducting my research in an ethical manner. I am grateful for the opportunity to have participated in this fellowship program and would like to encourage others to participate as well. It is definitely worth the time and effort.

The Fellowship Program helped put in perspective situations we face every day as physicians and researchers. Discussion forums were invaluable to understand how each scientist approaches ethically challenging dilemmas.

While the Research Ethics program began as an opportunity to bolster my resume, it grew into much more throughout my coursework. It truly drew my attention to the world of clinical research and really made me evaluate my ethical values, research-related and otherwise.

I continue to use the concepts learned in CTRE in my bedside care as a pediatric intensivist. Recently I was fortunate enough to join the group of faculty working with Dr. Schenck on the ethics of CRISPR ... exciting stuff.