Coursework and Registration

The clinical and translational science track in the Ph.D. Program can be designed to emphasize one of three focus areas:

  • Laboratory-based translational science.
  • Patient-based translational science.
  • Population-based translational science.

Required coursework

All doctoral students in the clinical and translational science track have a common core curriculum that includes the following courses:

  • CORE 6000: Responsible Conduct of Research.
  • CORE 6050: Critical Thinking and Scientific Writing.
  • CORE 6010: Scientific Writing II.
  • CORE 6100: Chemical Principles of Biological Systems.
  • CORE 6150: Genome Biology.
  • CTSC 5020: Regulatory Issues in Clinical Research.
  • CTSC 5100: Academic Publishing.
  • CTSC 5370: Introduction to Epidemiology.
  • CTSC 5600: Introduction to Statistics in Clinical and Translational Research.
  • CTSC 5602 (or 5601): Introduction to Utilizing Statistical Software in Clinical and Translational Research.
  • CTSC 5720: Clinical Trials — Design and Conduct.
  • CTSC 6100: Molecular Mechanisms of Human Disease.
  • CTSC 6110: CTS Works in Progress.
  • CTSC 6120: Case Studies in Translation.
  • CTSC 6130: CTS Journal Club.

Advanced and elective coursework

To graduate from the Ph.D. Program, you must earn 68 credits. In addition to the core, track and rotation requirements, you will have advanced and elective courses, which should be selected after consulting with your thesis adviser and the CCaTS predoctoral programs director.

Depending on your area of concentration (laboratory-based, patient-based or population-based translational science), you may select additional advanced courses from either clinical and translational science track courses (CTSC prefix) or graduate school core courses (CORE prefix) in the basic science disciplines.

M.D.-Ph.D. students are required to take the core coursework above and two additional courses:

  • MDPD 5100: Bioinformatics Selective.
  • MDPD 5150: Medical Scientist Survival Skills.

Research and laboratory rotations

Ph.D. students in the clinical and translational science track are required to complete 3 to 5 two-month research or laboratory rotations. The purpose of these rotations is to familiarize you with research activities in your area of interest and enable you to make informed decisions in choosing a thesis adviser.

Your first lab rotation is chosen with input from the CCaTS predoctoral programs director, while the remaining 2 to 4 rotations are chosen by you. You are allowed to rotate only once in any given lab and are encouraged to complete a minimum of one rotation each in:

  • Laboratory-based translational research (wet bench).
  • Patient-based translational research (human studies or clinical research unit-based).
  • Population-based translational research (epidemiology, statistics or health outcomes).

M.D.-Ph.D. students complete three one-month full-time rotations. The recommended timeline is:

  • First rotation completed before entering medical school.
  • Second rotation completed between your first and second years of medical school.
  • Third rotation completed between medical school and graduate school, after United States Medical Licensing Examination Step 1.

Research and laboratory rotations may be completed with Mayo Clinic faculty members who hold full faculty privileges in any track in Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. If you are interested in completing rotations with faculty who do not hold full faculty privileges, you may request a review of the faculty member's qualifications for these privileges. This request must be submitted in writing to the CCaTS predoctoral programs coordinator at least four weeks prior to the start of the requested rotation.

Rotations at Mayo Clinic's campuses in Arizona or Florida

Students interested in completing research or laboratory rotations at Mayo Clinic's campuses in Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona, or Jacksonville, Florida, must submit a request in writing to the CCaTS predoctoral programs coordinator at least three months prior to the start of the requested rotation.


At the end of each rotation, you'll receive a formal, written evaluation of your performance during that rotation.


All students enrolled in CCaTS predoctoral programs are full-time students. Full-time enrollment each quarter may include any combination of coursework, laboratory rotations or research. Students who have completed all coursework and are engaged in full-time thesis research must register for research each quarter. You'll retain full-time enrollment status and will be graded satisfactory or not satisfactory. No credit hours will be assigned, and research is not calculated in your GPA. You are not precluded from registering for research before coursework is completed.

For detailed information on registration, announcements, and annual and quarterly course schedules, log in to the Mayo Clinic network and visit the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Courses and Catalog webpage.