Online Master’s in Clinical Research Administration


The world depends on clinical research administrators. Research administrators are crucial to the advancement of medical knowledge, and they do so by studying the effectiveness of clinical trials in improving healthcare outcomes. 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, where they work closely with research participants over an extended period. The goal of clinical trials is to evaluate the effectiveness of a medication, behavioral intervention, or holistic treatment method. Participants in a clinical trial often aim to improve their health via experimental research that might in turn help thousands of other people improve theirs.

The National Institutes of Health maintains a database of all active clinical trials. It is not uncommon to have nearly 300,000 going on at the same time across the country, which means the demand for clinical research administrators is high. While the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not keep a specific page on clinical research administration, it does predict an 18 percent increase in openings across the U.S. for health services managers between 2018 and 2028.

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

Check out what to expect from an online master’s program in clinical research administration (CRA), including the expected tuition, curriculum, and program length.

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Featured Clinical Research Administration Programs
Wake Forest University MS in Clinical Research Management View Full Profile
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Arizona State University Clinical Research Management - Regulatory Science (MS) View Full Profile
The George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences MSHS in Clinical & Translational Research View Full Profile
The George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences MSHS in Clinical Operations and Healthcare Management View Full Profile
The George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences MSHS in Clinical Research Administration View Full Profile

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Professors to Know in Online Graduate Programs in Clinical Research Administration

  • William Pickard - Campbell University

    William Pickard is an associate professor of clinical research and chairman of the department at Campbell University's College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. He completed his master’s degree in pharmacy practice and his bachelor’s degree in pharmacy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also completed a clinical pharmacy residency at Duke University Medical Center and is a certified immunization pharmacist. He currently teaches medical ethics, bioterrorism, and physical assessment courses at Campbell University. Previously, he worked in the infectious diseases division at Duke University where he completed hundreds of clinical trials. While at Duke, his primary focus was in the immunocompromised host cancer population and he developed the first two AZT trials for AIDS in the world.

  • 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, as well as the University of Alabama. In 2016, Dr. Woods traveled to Australia to participate in the International Network of Research Management Societies. Some of 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.