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Behavioral Science






The Department’s Graduate Certificate in Medical Behavioral Science was designed for students who are enrolled in a doctoral program in a basic academic field. This program has typically admitted doctoral students from Anthropology, Communication, Educational and Counseling Psychology, Geography, Gerontology, Health and Physical Education, Nursing, Nutritional Science, Psychology, and Sociology. For more than 25 years it was a major component of the department’s NIMH T32 training grant. After the NIMH training grant was phased out and the department’s programs in Clinical and Translational Science were developed, the demand for the certificate program diminished. In 2012, the last active student in this program completed the requirements for the certificate. The department faculty voted to suspend new admissions to the certificate program in 2013.


In the Spring of 2006, the University of Kentucky established a Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CTS). The Department recognized that the research, educational, and training missions of the Department could serve the training mission of the University of Kentucky. After discussions, Departmental faculty decided to establish an academic home for the graduate educational programs in CTS and to develop an integrated clinical and translational research training program providing tiered levels of education and training (ie, Certificate in CTS, MS in CTS, PhD in CTS) with a flexible curriculum that could be tailored to individual career trajectories of professionals who have already completed or are currently completing professional training in the health sciences. An entry-level platform, a Certificate in CTS, was established to provide a common background and knowledge base to those interested in CTS, regardless of academic background or interest. Those who were committed to a career in CTS could build on this foundation and obtain advanced research training at the MS or PhD level. This educational platform was integrated with existing health-related graduate programs: students in graduate training programs were encouraged to complete entry-level competency CTS training in the Certificate program courses, whereas scholars in the CTS MS and PhD programs were encouraged to pursue courses and training opportunities offered by the integrated health-related graduate degree programs.

A core set of four competencies for clinical and translational researchers have been established: (1) communication skills, (2) professionalism, (3) critical thinking and synthesis of knowledge, and (4) leadership. Each area is applied to five broad content areas: CTS methods and technologies, scientific knowledge, measurement and statistics, research integrity, and collaboration and team building. Acquisition of these competencies served as the foundation for the curriculum for a Graduate Certificate in CTS. These competencies are required of all CTS Scholars, regardless of level of academic training or academic concentration.

In summary, Departmental faculty have established a vertically integrated program of interdisciplinary CTS research, education, and training that offers a tailored curriculum and mentored research training for the Certificate, Master of Science degree, and the Doctoral degree. This program is effectively integrated with the well established and effective health-related graduate training programs at the University of Kentucky.

The Graduate Certificate in CTS is the entry point for competency-based training in CTS, regardless of academic specialty. The Certificate curriculum integrates scholars with diverse backgrounds and training into a common training environment with group assignments and shared professional socialization experiences. The hours earned toward the Certificate may be used by students who wish to continue their study and earn an additional degree, such as the Master's degree in Medical Sciences. The key elements of this certificate are (1) a curriculum focused on core CTS research competencies, (2) mentored research training, and (3) scheduling and programmatic flexibility to support diverse constituencies. A 13-credit curriculum including core courses in the Methods and Technologies of CTS, Interdisciplinary Protocol Development, Biostatistics; and William Stoops and Ethics of Clinical Research. All Certificate scholars are required to engage in a minimum of one semester of mentored research leading to a peer-reviewed publication. Scholars are eligible to submit an application for a $5000 seed grant modeled after an NIH predoctoral training grant application, and talented scholars are encouraged to extend research initiated during the Certificate program and to pursue advanced graduate training toward an MS or PhD degree in CTS. Multiple course offerings permit scholars to complete the Certificate in 12 to 18 months. Scholars receive credit for previous training and coursework, and, importantly, all graduate course credits obtained during Certificate training are transferrable to advanced MS or PhD programs in CTS.

For further information contact: Dr. Tom Kelly, Professor

Graduate School Application
Link to Center for Clinical and Traslational Science and Program Application
*Both applications must be filled out for admission

The Master of Science in CTS is an interdisciplinary program providing rigorous mentored research training with a flexible curriculum tailored to the research interests and career goals of professional CTS scholars. The MS degree in CTS program was designed for the professional scholar interested in becoming an independent CTS investigator, as well as for those interested in providing creative contributions to CTS research. For scholars currently enrolled in professional programs, the MS in CTS serves as a dual-degree program (MD/MS, DMD/MS, PharmD/MS). The MS in CTS has been integrated into the MS in Medical Sciences program, which is jointly sponsored by all of the basic science departments of the College of Medicine. The MS in CTS includes a 24-credit curriculum consisting of 12 credit hours of competency-based CTS training in the Certificate curriculum and 12 hours of tailored coursework from the integrated CTS graduate programs; a program of mentored research training; and a thesis defense of the scholar’s independent clinical and translational research. The principal emphasis of the MS in CTS is on mentored research training provided by a primary mentor charged with supporting the scholar’s overall career development. Two co-mentors assist the primary mentor as members of an MS Advisory Committee that is charged with overseeing the scholar’s research training and crafting the tailored portion of the curriculum. Importantly, all of the credits of the MS program can be transferred to the PhD program, thereby allowing for vertical integration of the CTS education programs (CTS Graduate Certificate à MS degree à PhD degree).

For further information contact: Dr. Joe Springer, Professor, Dept. of Physiology

Graduate School Application
Link to Center for Clinical and Traslational Science and Program Application
*Both applications must be filled out for admission

The PhD in CTS is an interdisciplinary program designed for professional scholars committed to leading interdisciplinary CTS research teams, sustaining independent research programs that promote innovation and new discovery, or both. In addition to extensive research training, PhD candidates are able to receive expanded training in the skills required for meeting career objectives: grant writing, grant management, team leadership, and personnel and laboratory management. Admission is limited to applicants with terminal professional degrees (ie, MD, DMD, DDS, PharmD, DVM, DO, DNP, DSc, or PhD) with appropriate domestic licensure for professional practice and to professional students enrolled in dual-degree programs. Like the MS program, the PhD program is CTS has as it principal emphasis mentored research training with a primary mentor and a PhD advisory committee. The mentor and the advisory committee are charged with supporting the scholar’s overall career development; they play a prominent role in coordinating the scholar’s curriculum, research training, and career development. The primary mentor or a co-mentor on each advisory committee must be a Departmental faculty member who is a full member of the graduate faculty. Other members of the PhD advisory committee are selected on the basis of their ability to support elements of scholar’s interdisciplinary research interests and career trajectory. The advisory committee conducts the qualifying and final examinations. Successful completion of the degree is contingent upon the scholar’s completion and presentation (written and oral) of well-reasoned research that yields clinically significant, publishable CTS knowledge.

For further information contact: Dr. Anita Fernander, Associate Professor, Director of Graduate Studies or Dr. Tom Kelly, Professor

Graduate School Application
Link to Center for Clinical and Traslational Science and Program Application
*Both applications must be filled out for admission

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