Degree Programs

Graduate Program in Clinical Investigation

The ICTR Graduate Program in Clinical Investigation includes a PhD program in Clinical Investigation (PhD CI),  an MS in Clinical Investigation, and a PhD minor in Clinical Investigations also known as a PhD with a Clinical and Translational Science focus (PhDCTS). All students share a common didactic foundation encompassing biostatistics, epidemiology, clinical study design, clinical trials conduct, and the ethical and responsible conduct of research.

The PhD CI is an applied degree in which trainees focus on the creation of novel methodologies and tools for translational science within the context of a specific biomedical discipline.

The PhDCTS leverages the core curriculum to give trainees in other degree programs the skills and tools necessary to move their biomedical research along the translational pathway.

Program Overview Brochure (PDF)

Online Application for MS and PhD in Clinical Investigation

For questions, please contact

New: Clinical & Health Informatics MS degree program is now taking applications.

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Student Handbook

The Graduate Program in Clinical Investigation admitted its first MS and PhD students in 2009. The program was made possible by the 2007 funding for UW ICTR from a National Institutes of Health Clinical and Translational Science Award.

Graduate Program in Clinical Investigation Academic Policies and Procedures Handbook (PDF)

Program Faculty Advisors

  • Sanjay Asthana, MD
    Title/Dept: Professor, Medicine (Geriatrics); Director ADRC; Director GRECC; Associate Director, WI Alzheimer’s Institute
    Research: Alzheimer’s, aging
  • Bruce Barrett, MD, PhD
    Professor, Family Medicine, Population Health & Anthropology
    Research: Primary care, especially for special populations
  • Christian Capitini, MD
    Title/Dept: Associate Professor, Pediatrics
    Research: Preclinical models of allogeneic blood and marrow transplant to cure pediatric cancers
  • Melisa Carrasco, MD, PhD
    Title/Dept: Assistant Professor, Neurology, Director Neonatal Neurology
    Research: Perinatal brain injuries, cognitive development
  • Richard Chappell, PhD
    Professor, Statistics & Biostatistics and Medical Informatics
    Research: Analysis and design of clinical trials, link estimation in generalized linear models, survival analysis, models in radiobiology
  • Robert Dempsey, MD
    Title/Dept: Professor, Neurology; Chair, Surgery
    Research: Cerebral ischemia, injured brain repair
  • Doerte Doepfer, DVM
    Title/Dept: Professor, Veterinary Medicine (Food Animal Production Medicine)
    Research: Veterinary epidemiology, food safety, global health
  • Marina Emborg, MD, PhD
    Title/Dept: Professor, Medical Physics
    Research: Neurodegenerative disorders
  • Amy Fowler, MD, PhD
    Title/Dept: Associate Professor, Radiology
    Research: Molecular imaging biomarkers to assess early therapeutic response for breast cancer in preclinical and translational clinical studies
  • Ronald Gangnon, PhD
    Title/Dept: Professor, Biostatistics and Medical Informatics
    Research: Model selection,  measurement reliability, survival analysis, interim monitoring
  • James Gern, MD
    Title/Dept: Professor, Medicine & Pediatrics
    Research: Asthma, interaction between host and viral factors affecting respiratory illness severity
  • Bernadette Gillick, PhD, MSPT, PT
    Title/Department: Associate Professor, Pediatrics; Director, Waisman Pediatric Neuromodulation Laboratory; Director, ICTR Research Design
    Research: Infant Stroke and Brain Bleeds, Cerebral Palsy
  • Andrea Gilmore-Bykovskyi, PhD, RN
    Title/Dept: Associate Professor & Vice Chair for Research, Emergency Medicine; Deputy Director, UW Center for Health Disparities Research
    Research: Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, health services research, qualitative/mixed methods
  • Jenny Gumperz, PhD
    Title/Dept: Professor, Medical Microbiology and Immunology
    Research: Immunology
  • Bryan Heiderscheit, PT, PhD
    Professor, Orthopedics and Rehabilitation
    Research: Human movement
  • Hrissanthi (Chris) Ikonomidou, MD, PhD
    Title/Dept: Professor, Pediatric Neurology
    Research: Brain development
  • Bermans Iskandar, MD
    Title/Dept: Professor, Neurosurgery; Director Pediatric Neurosurgery Program
    Research: Craniofacial repair, brachial plexus reconstruction, endoscopic surgery
  • Daniel Jackson, MD
    Title/Dept: Professor, Pediatrics
    Research:  Pediatric allergy, asthma, immunology
  • Nizar Jarjour, MD
    Title/Dept: Professor, Medicine (Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Pulmonary and Critical Care)
    Research: Pulmonary and critical care medicine
  • Robert Jeraj, PhD
    Title/Dept: Professor, Medical Physics and Human Oncology
    Research: Disease heterogeneity, treatment response assessment, imaging biomarkers
  • Kyung Mann Kim, PhD
    Title/Dept: Professor, Biostatistics and Medical Informatics
    Research: Sequential methods of statistical analysis
  • Randall Kimple, MD, PhD, MBA
    Title/Dept: Associate Professor, Human Oncology
    Research: Translational research focused on radiosensitization, cancer biology, and cellular therapy to treat cancer treatment side effects
  • Amy Kind, MD, PhD
    Title/Dept: Professor, Medicine (Geriatrics)
    Research: Health disparities, geoanalytics, Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Lingjun Li, PhD
    Title/Dept: Professor, Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Sciences and Chemistry
    Research: Peptide hormones, neurotransmitters
  • Wan Ju Li, PhD
    Title/Dept: Associate Professor, Orthopedics and Rehabilitation
    Research: Musculoskeletal tissue engineering, stem cell-based regenerative medicine, nanostructural biomaterial
  • Glenn Liu, MD
    Title/Dept: Professor, Medicine (Hematology)
    Research: Genitourinary oncology, experimental therapeutics
  • Michael Lucey, MD
    Title/Dept: Professor, Gastroenterology & Hepatology, Director, Liver Transplant Program
    Research: Digestive tract, liver, pancreatic diseases
  • Sameer Mathur, MD, PhD
    Title/Dept: Associate Professor, Medicine (Allergy & Clinical Immunology)
    Research: Human peripheral blood eosinophils and epithelial cells
  • Freya Mowat, BVSc, PhD
    Title/Dept: Assistant Professor, Surgical Sciences (School of Veterinary Medicine), Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences (School of Medicine and Public Health)
    Research: Alzheimer’s disease, animal models, aging, sensory organs and brain, environmental risk factors
  • Muhammed Murtaza, MBBS, PhD
    Title/Dept: Associate Professor, Surgery (Surgical Oncology); Associate Director, Center for Human Genomics and Precision Medicine
    Research: Cancer genomics, biomarker development, liquid biopsy
  • David O’Connor, PhD
    Title/Dept: Professor, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine & WI Primate Research Center
    Research: HIV/AIDS pathogenesis
  • Robert Pearce, MD, PhD
    Title/Dept: Professor, Anesthesiology
    Research: Anesthetics and other drugs’ control of memory and consciousness
  • J. Carter Ralphe, MD
    Title/Dept: Professor, Pediatrics, Chief, Pediatric Cardiology
    Research: Pediatric cardiology, genetics
  • Amish Raval, MD
    Title/Dept: Professor, Cardiovascular Medicine
    Research: Interventional image guidance for complex catheter-based procedures
  • Scott Reeder, MD, PhD
    Title/Dept: Professor, Radiology
    Research: Liver diseases, new MRI methods
  • Nasia Safdar, MD, PhD
    Title/Dept: Professor, Infectious Disease
    Research: Healthcare Associated Infections
  • Nader Sheibani, PhD
    Title/Dept: Professor, Ophthalmology & Pharmacology
    Research: Diabetic retinopathy, retinopathy of prematurity
  • Maureen Smith, MD, MPH
    Title/Dept: Professor, Population Health, Family Medicine and Community Health & Surgery
    Research: Short/long-term health outcomes in patients with diabetes
  • Paul Sondel, MD, PhD
    Title/Dept: Professor, Pediatrics
    Research: Graft-versus-leukemia reactions, activation of anti-tumor immune destruction
  • Christine Sorkness, PharmD
    Title/Dept: Professor, Pharmacy Practice
    Research: Efficacy and safety of therapeutic agents for asthma and allergic diseases
  • Andrea M. Spiker, MD
    Title/Dept: Assistant Professor, Orthopedics and Rehabilitation; Director, UW Hip Preservation Program; Fellowship Director, UW Orthopedic Sport Medicine Fellowship
    Research: Femoroacetabular impingement, sports medicine, musculoskeletal system, hip preservation, orthopaedic surgery
  • M Suresh, DVM, PhD
    Title/Dept: Professor, Pathobiological Sciences
    Research: T cell memory, CD8+ T cell responses in chronic viral infections
  • Susan Thibeault, PhD
    Title/Dept: Professor, Surgery (Otolaryngology), Communication Sciences and Disorders
    Research: Molecular and genetic factors as basis of normal vocal fold tissue and its vibration
  • Giulio Tononi, MD, PhD
    Title/Dept: Professor, Psychiatry
    Research: Sleep and consciousness, the synaptic homeostatis hypothesis
  • Amy Trentham Dietz, PhD
    Professor, Population Health Sciences
    Research: Breast cancer prevention, early detection, and outcomes
  • Arnold Wald, MD
    Title/Dept: Professor, Medicine (Gastroenterology)
    Research: Constipation, incontinence
  • Ryan Westergaard, MD, PhD, MPH
    Title/Dept: Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases
    Research: Communicable disease prevention and treatment, substance use disorders, public health

Required Program Application Materials

  • Secure a faculty advisor prior to applying for admission. The faculty member must hold a tenure track faculty appointment and not a Clinical Health Sciences (CHS) track appointment. The previous section of this webpage contains the list of potential Program Faculty Advisors.
  • Apply through the Graduate School. Indicate intended Major Field of Study from drop-down menu: “Clinical Investigation, PhD” or “Clinical Investigation, MS”.
  • Upload unofficial transcript(s) from EACH post-secondary institution attended (undergraduate and graduate), even if no degree was received
    • If accepted to the program, a hard copy of the official transcript will be required by the Graduate School.
    • Note: International academic records must be in the original language accompanied by an official English translation.
  • Upload statement by answering “How has your background and life experiences, including cultural, geographical, financial, educational, or other opportunities or challenges motivated your decision to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison?” (no more than 2 pages, single spaced, PDF).
  • Upload current CV/Resume (PDF).
  • Supplementary application materials (PDF).
    • NIH Biosketch
    • A 300-word essay describing your clinical or translational research project, faculty advisor, and your relationship with your faculty advisor.
  • List names and emails of THREE references who will submit electronic letters of recommendation. Using this option, references will automatically receive an email prompt to submit a letter of recommendation electronically. Be sure to check the box to send the email requests for EACH program that you apply to at UW-Madison. One of the reference letters must be submitted by your prospective Graduate Program in Clinical Investigation (GPCI) faculty advisor agreeing to mentor you as a student throughout your studies in the GPCI program.
  • Submit $75.00 non-refundable application fee, payable by credit card (Mastercard or Visa).
    • The UW-Madison Graduate School offers a limited number of application fee grants to eligible students.
  • Submit OFFICIAL TOEFL Scores, if applicable, from ETS.
    • TOEFL scores are sent electronically from the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to the Graduate School at UW-Madison.
    • Institution code: 1846, no department code required.
    • TOEFL scores are not accepted if more than 2 years old.
    • See the ETS website for more information to obtain additional TOEFL score reports.
    • International applicants are exempt from the TOEFL requirement if: the official language of instruction at the undergraduate institution is exclusively English; they have completed two full-time semesters of work in a U.S. institution; or if they have a degree from an accredited U.S. institution. Visit the Graduate School website for more information.



Graduate Program in Clinical Investigation (GPCI) students tend to be full-time health professionals who are earning their MS or PhD degree part-time. No funding for graduate study is provided to students by the GPCI. Students without faculty appointments usually earn salary and benefits including tuition through graduate assistantships (teaching assistant, research assistant, and other graduate student appointments) through the major advisor’s home department.

ICTR has an NIH-funded TL1 training grant with a few positions open each year on a highly competitive basis. Eligible students are US citizens or permanent residents earning a PhD in Clinical Investigation full-time or earning a PhD Minor in Clinical Investigation while pursuing a PhD in other UW-Madison programs.

The following information is from the Graduate School:

Finding Funding Without Guaranteed Appointment: For students who do not have an appointment and are looking for funding to support graduate studies, the Graduate School provides a list of steps to follow, at

Stipend Levels and Paychecks: Monthly stipend rates for graduate assistantships are set by the University.

Tuition Remission and Payment of Segregated Fees: Refer to:

Health Insurance Benefits: TAs, PAs, RA, and Lecturers (Student Assistants) with appointments of 33.3% or higher (approximately 13 hrs/week) for at least the length of a semester are eligible to enroll in a health insurance program. Information about health insurance options can be found at Current monthly premiums can be found at

Maximum Appointment Levels: The Graduate School sets the maximum levels of graduate assistantship appointments. International students should be especially aware of maximum levels of employment. For more information on these policies, please visit

Enrollment Requirements for Graduate Assistants: Students with graduate assistantships must be enrolled appropriately. Detailed information about enrollment requirements can be found in the Graduate School’s academic policies at

Fellowships: There are many different kinds of fellowships on campus. Some are awarded by a program, some are awarded by the school/college, and still others are awarded by the Graduate School. In addition, a number of students have applied for and won fellowships from federal agencies, professional organizations, and private foundations. The terms and conditions of fellowships across campus vary widely. If you have a fellowship, make sure you understand the obligations and benefits of that fellowship, including stipend, health insurance eligibility, eligibility for tuition remission, pay schedule, etc.

Graduate School Fellowships: The Graduate School administers a number of different fellowships on campus, including: the University Fellowships, Chancellor’s Fellowships, Mellon-Wisconsin Fellowships, Dickie Fellowships, and a variety of external fellowships. If you have any questions about fellowships, please contact the Office of Fellowships and Funding Resources:

Also refer to the Grants Information Collections (GIC) on the 2nd Floor of Memorial Library:

MS in Clinical Investigation

Learning Outcomes

  • Lead to translation of research among the laboratory, clinic and population through technological or systems innovations, including but not limited to drug therapies, medical devices, biological materials, clinical processes, and/or behavioral interventions.
  • Are appropriately patient-oriented.
  • Draw on the expertise of collaborators in multiple disciplines.
  • Integrate clinical and translational science across multiple departments, schools and colleges, clinical and research institutes, and healthcare delivery organizations.
  • Determine when it is appropriate to use a patient-oriented research design to investigate a translational clinical problem.
  • Understand the principles of multidisciplinary patient-oriented clinical research protocols.
  • Analyze, interpret and report research findings of clinical studies through peer-reviewed scientific channels and to a lay audience.
  • Apply and foster professional, ethical and responsible conduct of clinical research.

The major requires 30 credits.

Please refer to the guide for Clinical Investigation, MS, for further degree program information.

PhD in Clinical Investigation

Learning Outcomes

  1. Learning Lead to translation of research among the laboratory, clinic and population through technological or systems innovations, including but not limited to drug therapies, medical devices, biological materials, clinical processes, and/or behavioral interventions.
  2. Are appropriately patient-oriented.
  3. Draw on the expertise of collaborators in multiple disciplines.
  4. Integrate clinical and translational science across multiple departments, schools and colleges, clinical and research institutes, and healthcare delivery organizations.
  5. Determine when it is appropriate to use a patient-oriented research design to investigate a translational clinical problem.
  6. Analyze, interpret and report research findings of clinical studies through peer-reviewed scientific channels and to a lay audience.
  7. Disseminate knowledge through teaching and mentoring students/trainees.
  8. Apply and foster professional, ethical and responsible conduct of clinical research.

The major requires 51 credits.

Please refer to the guide for Clinical Investigation, PhD, for further degree program information.

PhD Minor in Clinical Investigation - Applications Accepted Year Round

Learning Objectives

Doctoral students in Engineering, Nursing, Veterinary Medicine, and other disciplines can declare a PhD minor with a focus in Clinical and Translation Science to learn about applications of research to clinical disciplines. This provides students with a general education in interdisciplinary clinical research, while emphasizing a scientific area of graduate study. The PhD Minor in Clinical Investigation is also known as the PhDCTS.

The minor requires 9 credits.

Reference Materials:
Form to declare CTS focus (PDF)

[Updated July 2023]