May 23, 2024  
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog [Working Draft] 
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog [Working Draft]

Clinical Research Administration [M.S.]

Location(s): In-person/hybrid

Eastern Michigan University’s Clinical Research Administration MS Program is a two-year graduate program with 34-35 credit hours that aims to facilitate the acquisition of knowledge, skills, attitudes, and abilities necessary to join and progress in clinical research administration. 

There has been tremendous growth in pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device research and development in recent years. In addition, collaborative initiatives between industry, academia, and the clinical research community have significantly expanded the opportunities for individuals to participate in the clinical research enterprise. To conduct the growing number of clinical research studies, an extended and better-qualified workforce with the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and abilities necessary to coordinate and monitor clinical trials and manage data interfacing with the global regulatory agencies must be extended. Eastern Michigan University developed one of the first academic programs designed to produce individuals credentialed to function in Clinical Research Administration and is now a national leader.

The mission of EMU’s Clinical Research Administration Program is twofold:

  • to provide an academic experience that includes both didactic information and optional hands-on preceptorships to provide qualified new personnel to the clinical research enterprise and
  • to provide an opportunity for professionals currently participating in clinical research and the drug/biologic/device development process to increase their knowledge base and research/creative skills and provide a pathway towards upward mobility in their professional careers.

This is a STEM-designated program (see OPT Extension).

Courses include the drug, biologic, vaccine, and device development process, good clinical practice (GCP), Federal regulations and guidelines (United States and international), clinical research protocol development and implementation, study start-up, management and close-out, study monitoring, research ethics, and research project or thesis.

Courses are offered in a hybrid (face-to-face and online) format to accommodate the nontraditional student and allow the student in full-time employment to complete classes while continuing to work.

EMU’s clinical research administration program is fortunate to have the support and collaboration of the following organizations: Henry Ford Health SystemKarmanos Cancer Center, St. Joseph Mercy HospitalUniversity of Michigan HospitalMichigan Institute for Clinical and Health ResearchMcLaren HealthcareAstraZeneca

Program Admission

Admit Terms and Deadlines

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis; students may start the program in the Fall. See Application Deadlines.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

For full admission, applicants must have 1) Earned a four-year baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or an equivalent degree from a non-U.S. institution, 2) a minimum cumulative undergraduate grade point average of 2.7 on a 4.0 scale, or 3.0 in the last half of the undergraduate program. Conditional admission may be available to applicants not meeting minimum admission requirements.

Program Requirements

Successful Clinical Research Administration program applicants will have demonstrated a sincere desire for a career focusing on clinical research and development. In addition, applicants must be fully aware of the differences in their career path from one in basic research, drug/biologic discovery research, or medical device invention.

Applicants must also meet the following program requirements. Requirements may be more stringent than the minimum graduate school requirements.

  • Earned a Bachelor of Science or Arts. While previous studies in the sciences, engineering, or health care are preferred, applicants may come from a wide variety of undergraduate (or post-graduate) areas of study, including, but not limited to, nursing, pre-med, biology, chemistry, mathematics, science education, pharmacy, engineering, business, computer science, psychology, social sciences, pre-law, etc. Applicants with M.A., M.S., Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. degrees are encouraged to apply.
  • Have a grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) in the last 60 semester/90 quarter units of coursework.
  • Submit two letters of support
  • Submit a statement of 500 words or more concerning career objectives.

Applicants should have excellent computer skills; prior experience in a relevant industry is highly desirable but optional.

Based on further documentation, the Program Director may waive any formal program requirements to consider other factors on a case-by-case basis. For example, work experience in a related field, life experience, fluency in multiple languages, or other cultural knowledge and prior academic performance may be considered.

International Applicants

Applicants who possess a Bachelor’s degree from a post-secondary institution in a country where English is not the principal spoken language must satisfy one of the following tests of English language proficiency:

  • TOEFL: 84 iBT
  • IELTS: 6.5
  • Pearson English Language Test (PTE): 58

Applicants who submit English Language Proficiency exam scores must also complete ESLN 565  if admitted.  

Applicants should note that a high degree of proficiency in both written and oral communication in English is a fundamental skill required to complete the degree program and succeed in the field. Applicants unsure of their skill level in either spoken or written English are advised to consult with the Program Director/Advisor.


Your application will be submitted using GradCAS, a Centralized Application Service (CAS) hosted by Liaison. After reviewing the admission requirements, please review the application instructions  and select the appropriate application.

Domestic Applicants Domestic applicants are required to submit only the transcript from the institution granting their bachelor’s degree if either of the following criteria is met: 1) Lists 30 or more credit hours with an overall GPA of 3.0 or over OR 2) Lists 60 or more credit hours with an overall GPA between 2.7 and 2.99. Within the application, follow the instructions to submit an official transcript. The University may ask applicants to submit additional transcripts after applying.

International Applicants Before applying, applicants must review the international application/process deadlines at as they may differ from general program requirements.

For additional information regarding the application process, please see Graduate Admissions or International Admissions.


School Information

Health Sciences 313 Marshall, 734.487.4096

Colleen Croxall, PhD, Director 

Advisor Information

Michael Switzer, PhD, 311 Marshall, 734.487.4096

Foundation Course in Statistics

For students entering the program without adequate knowledge of statistics, demonstrated by a grade of B or better in an acceptable undergraduate or graduate statistics course, a 3-credit 500-level (or above) course in statistics approved by the Program Director must be taken. Graduate Courses (500-level and above) taken as a deficiency course may count towards the student’s graduate degree as an elective. Undergraduate courses may not count towards a student’s graduate degree and will not appear on the student’s graduate transcript.

Degree Requirements: 34-35 hours

Thesis or Project: 3-4 hours

Choose one option from the following

Typical Student Course Progression

Year One

Fall CLRA 510  and CLRA 520  (if required, ESLN 565 )

Winter CLRA 530 , CLRA 540 , and CLRA 581   

Year Two

Summer Electives

Fall CLRA 601  and electives

Winter CLRA 575 , (CLRA 692  or 695 ), and electives


Note Students can take a maximum of 15 credit hours a semester

Critical Graduation Information

Each graduate student is responsible for fulfilling the requirements or equivalents of the Eastern Michigan University catalog in force at the time of their initial registration or a subsequent catalog, including the one in effect at the time of their graduation.

Master’s degree requirements must be completed within six (6) years of first enrollment in the master’s degree program.

In the event a student does not complete the master’s degree requirements within six years of the date of their original registration, the student may be required to have their credits re-evaluated by the academic department(s) of their degree in keeping with catalog requirements in force during the year of their graduation.

The following are minimum requirements for all master’s degrees awarded by Eastern Michigan University. Some programs require more than the minimum in one or more areas below.

  • A master’s degree must require a minimum of 30 credit hours.
  • No more than six credits of independent study courses and no more than 12 credit hours of special topics and independent study courses combined may be applied to a graduate degree.  
  • Residency Requirement:
    • For students admitted to master’s degree programs of 36 or fewer required hours, at least 24 new graduate hours beginning the semester of acceptance and enrollment into the degree program must be earned at EMU. The remaining program requirement hours may be met through transfer or prior degree credit (EMU or elsewhere). 
    • For students admitted to master’s degree programs of 37 or more required hours, at least 30 new graduate hours beginning the semester of acceptance and enrollment into the degree program must be earned at EMU. Minimum degree hours must still be met for graduation. The remaining program requirement hours may be met through transfer or prior degree credit (EMU or elsewhere).
    • Residency and enrollment in multiple programs: Students enrolled in multiple master’s/specialist degree programs must have 24 unique credit hours in each degree program.
  • Only credits from one completed graduate certificate may be applied to a master’s or specialist degree in a relevant field of study, as determined by the Graduate School and with the approval of the degree-granting academic department, and be included in the residency hours above.
  • Students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA in all graduate-level courses taken at EMU and in their program of study to remain in good academic standing and be eligible for graduation. Students do not need to be registered for classes during the semester of graduation.
  • The Graduate School does not permit the use of undergraduate courses (499 and below) to meet degree requirements on graduate programs of study.
  • Some master’s programs require a thesis; others require a special project or internship; others require students to pass a final exam. See the Graduate School website for Thesis and Dissertation Manuals, all forms, and information about research and human subject approval. Every completed thesis or dissertation must be submitted to Digital Commons. Any form of graduate student work submitted to Digital Commons must first be approved by a faculty advisor and the Graduate School.