Online Master’s in Clinical Research Administration Programs

The world depends on clinical research administrators. Research administrators are crucial to advancing medical knowledge. They do so by studying people directly or collecting and analyzing body tissues, blood, and other samples. Those who pursue a career as a clinical research scientist or administrator are at the forefront of healthcare research and play an instrumental role in improving public health.

Clinical researchers are frequently involved with clinical trials, working closely with research participants over an extended period. Clinical trials aim to evaluate the effectiveness of a medication, behavioral intervention, or holistic treatment method on health outcomes. In 2020, the world waited for clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines to prove the safety and efficacy of new vaccines to combat a global pandemic. Participants in clinical trials aim to improve their health and advance experimental research. Clinical trial volunteers help thousands of other people to achieve better health outcomes.

The National Institutes of Health maintains a database of all active clinical trials. It is not uncommon to have nearly 300,000 going on simultaneously across the country, which means the demand for clinical research administrators is high. While the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2022) does not keep a specific page on clinical health administration, it does predict a 28 percent increase in openings across the U.S. for medical and health services managers in the decade preceding 2031.

People already working in healthcare with a strong research interest typically excel in this career path. Since most employers require at least a graduate degree for an entry-level position, enrolling in a distance-based program is one convenient way to secure the necessary education.

Check out what to expect from an online master’s program in clinical research administration, including the tuition rates, curriculum, and profiles of three outstanding educators.

Featured Clinical Research Administration Programs
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Professors to Know in Online Graduate Programs in Clinical Research Administration

  • Kathleen Thoma, EdD - George Washington University

    With more than 20 years of experience in health services, educational, and clinical research, Dr. Kathleen Thoma is a full-time faculty member in the Department of Clinical Research and Leadership at George Washington University. Before joining GWU, she was the research director and a clinical research specialist at the University of Florida. She is currently the Interim Program Director for CRA programs and an assistant clinical research and leadership professor.

    In addition to clinical research, Dr. Thoma’s interests include health literacy, HIV/AIDS, the psycho-social determinants of health and health behavior, patient-centered outcomes research, and health disparities. She completed her EdD from the University of North Florida, and MA and BA degrees from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Moreover, she is a Certified Clinical Research Professional (CCRP) through the Society of Clinical Research Associates (SOCRA) and holds the Certified in Public Health (CPH) credential from the National Board of Public Health Examiners.

  • Melissa Holland - Campbell University

    Dr. Melissa Holland is an associate professor of clinical research & vice chair of curriculum & education development at Campbell University’s College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences. She joined Campbell University in May 2009 and currently teaches in both the graduate and undergraduate clinical research programs.

    Dr. Holland has been involved in research studies in the therapeutic areas of anticoagulation, diabetes, infectious diseases, geriatrics, and hyperlipidemia. Other areas of interest include medication adherence, transitional care, and cardiovascular diseases. She completed her PharmD and master’s degree in clinical research from Campbell University School of Pharmacy, and her BS degree from Penn State University.

  • Marianne Woods, PhD - Johns Hopkins University

    Dr. Marianne Woods is the faculty and program director of the research administration master's program. She has been in her current role since November 2013. Before that, she worked as the associate vice president of research at the University of Texas at Arlington and San Antonio and the University of Alabama.

    2016 Dr. Woods traveled to Australia to participate in the International Network of Research Management Societies. Dr. Woods’s research interests include research integrity, research support, research compliance, data management, export controls, classified research, industrial and contract agreements, and technology innovation and transfer. She has worked with the FBI on its citizen board of directors and currently holds membership in the National Council of University Research Administrators. Dr. Woods earned her doctorate in policy studies and evaluation from Claremont Graduate University and her JD from Concord University School of Law.

Rachel Drummond, MEd
Rachel Drummond, MEd

As a contributor on MHAOnline, Rachel Drummond has brought her expertise in education and mindfulness to the healthcare management field since 2019. She writes about integrating innovation into healthcare administration, emphasizing the importance of mental and physical well-being for effective leadership and decision-making in the fast-paced world of healthcare management.

Rachel is a writer, educator, and coach from Oregon. She has a master’s degree in education (MEd) and has over 15 years of experience teaching English, public speaking, and mindfulness to international audiences in the United States, Japan, and Spain. She writes about the mind-body benefits of contemplative movement practices like yoga on her blog, inviting people to prioritize their unique version of well-being and empowering everyone to live healthier and more balanced lives.