The mentored clinical research experience is key to the Postdoctoral Master's Degree Program in clinical and translational science. As a master's scholar, you are required to develop a research protocol as described below. Protocols are due approximately four months after you begin the program. For scholars admitted via the Sept. 1 deadline, the protocol is due Jan. 1. For scholars admitted via the March 1 deadline, the protocol is due July 1.
Your research protocol submission must include not only the protocol itself, but also several supporting items. All materials should be submitted in one packet to:
Postdoctoral Programs Coordinator
CTSA Education Resources
Plummer Building, Third Floor
Components of a complete research protocol are:
- The protocol. Research protocols, which should follow this research protocol format, must be approved by both the CTSA Postdoctoral Programs Committee and Mayo Graduate School. To assist reviewers in evaluating your protocol, you are encouraged to construct your specific aims in a way that clearly defines the two or three publications that will result from the protocol.
- A cover letter. This should be signed by both you and your mentor and describe:
- Your specific role in the design, conduct and reporting of the research project.
- The number and general nature of the publications that you expect will be generated from the research project. Your role should be sufficient to justify being the first author on the primary publication(s) arising from the project. As a reminder, your project is expected to generate at least two or three original articles, which together will form the basis for your master's thesis.
- The current status of the project (for example, "X percent of the data are collected and data collection will be completed in Y months" or "X percent of the patients are recruited and patient recruitment will be completed in Y months").
- Mentoring agreement. The agreement form, Detailed Agreement — Expectations for the CTSA Scholar Mentoring Relationship, must be completed. (As you progress through the program, you must review and update this form each year with input from your mentor.)
- Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC) form. Complete the Master's Thesis Advisory Committee form. Read more about the Thesis Advisory Committee.
Recommended Action on Thesis Protocol form. Each of your TAC members must complete a copy of the Recommended Action on Thesis Protocol for Master's Degree form.
Among other responsibilities, the members of your TAC are required to provide scientific peer review and approval of your protocol before you submit it to the CTSA Postdoctoral Programs Committee. Each member of your TAC must read and approve the protocol when agreeing to participate on your committee.
The TAC review also should take place prior to the departmental or divisional research committee and Mayo Clinic Institutional Review Board (IRB) reviews. Documentation of this is recorded on the Recommended Action on Thesis Protocol for Master's Degree form. Each member of the TAC must sign a form and indicate any recommendations.
- Master's Degree Program form (course plan). Complete the Master's Degree Program form. List all courses you will take to meet the 24-credit didactic requirement, as well as the two required workshops. Put "clinical and translational science" in the "Specialization Area" box.
Minute excerpt from your department or division research committee. This minute excerpt must document that peer review of the protocol has taken place, as well as that the proposed work is clinically important and has scientific merit.
If the project is a retrospective chart review, deemed nontherapeutic and minimal risk, and not a part of a larger project, the protocol will need to be assessed for feasibility and sample size by the research committee — even though this may not be required by the IRB.
If the protocol is part of a larger project, you must provide a copy of the abstract and documentation of scientific peer review of the larger project, such as a minute excerpt from the appropriate research committee or funding agency. You are strongly encouraged to submit this excerpt with your protocol, but may submit it as soon as possible after submitting your protocol.
- Minute excerpt from the IRB. This minute excerpt must document that IRB review of your protocol has taken place and that approval has been granted for the project. You are strongly encouraged to submit this excerpt with your protocol, but may submit it as soon as possible after submitting your protocol.
Your protocol will be reviewed by the CTSA Postdoctoral Programs Committee using these protocol review criteria. The committee will consider whether the thesis that will result from the protocol has the potential to meet the prescribed thesis standards.
The thesis is the most important document that you will prepare during your time in the Postdoctoral Master's Degree Program. Read more about thesis requirements.