Best Online PhD Programs in Clinical Research

Are you thinking about continuing your studies? A Ph.D.  in clinical research could be a great way to go.

An advanced degree in clinical research doesn’t just open many doors for dedicated students. It creates an excellent opportunity to change the world. You could obtain many new skills, meet true professionals in the field, and conduct highly valuable research.

By choosing the online studying option, you can cut costs, gain flexibility, and still achieve your degree goals. All you have to do is find a suitable program.

Let’s explore the top programs for getting a Ph.D. in clinical research online.

Career Opportunities After Getting a Ph.D. in Clinical Research Online

If you decide to earn a Ph.D. in clinical research online, you can either continue your current career path or explore other opportunities. Here are a few options you can have after getting the degree:

Clinical Research Scientist

Clinical research scientists are demanded specialists who perform multiple tasks including:

  • Conducting and overseeing clinical trials
  • Making sure that the trial is in full compliance with regulatory guidelines
  • Monitoring ethical standards applied during the trial
  • Analyzing data
  • Interpreting results
  • Publishing articles

As a clinical research scientist, you can work in many organizations, including pharmaceutical companies, academic institutions, and research facilities.

Clinical Research Manager

If you choose to become a clinical research manager, you will be responsible for coordinating the research process from A to Z. You will be busy:

  • Managing clinical study protocols
  • Controlling budgets
  • Maintaining timelines.

In this role, you will be liable for setting up and maintaining clinical trial efficiency.

You will also collaborate work with interdisciplinary teams that may include researchers, physicians, statisticians, and regulatory experts. They can provide guidance and advice to improve clinical research outcomes.

Clinical Research Consultant

If you become a clinical research consultant, you will be providing expert advice and guidance to organizations involved in clinical research.

You will be able to assist in:

  • Study design
  • Protocol development
  • Data analysis
  • Interpretation

Clinical research consultants often work with pharmaceutical companies, contract research organizations (CROs), and academic institutions.

Clinical Research Educator

Many academic institutions seek qualified educators to teach courses in clinical research and related fields. With a Ph.D. in this discipline, you can become a professor or instructor.

In this role, you will share your knowledge with aspiring clinical researchers. You may also develop a curriculum, deliver lectures, and mentor students. During your time with the institution, you can also contribute to research initiatives.

Regulatory Affairs Specialist

Regulatory affairs specialists play a big role in ensuring compliance with regulatory guidelines throughout the clinical research process. They navigate the complex landscape of regulations, submit research proposals to regulatory bodies, and maintain documentation to demonstrate adherence to relevant standards.

While in this role, you will work closely with researchers, institutional review boards (IRBs), and regulatory agencies.

Data Analyst/Statistician

While earning your Ph.D. in clinical research online, you will develop strong quantitative and analytical skills. They can help you achieve career goals by becoming a data analyst or statistician.

Your responsibilities will involve collecting, analyzing, and interpreting clinical trial data. You will be providing valuable insights to support evidence-based decision-making. With time, you will also get an opportunity to contribute to research publications.

Medical Writer

Clinical research is often accompanied by a significant amount of written documentation. This can include research protocols, regulatory submissions, and patient information materials.

Medical writers with a Ph.D. in clinical research possess the scientific knowledge and writing skills required to communicate complex research findings to various audiences.

In this role, you may work in pharmaceutical companies or medical communication agencies. You could also pursue a career in freelance medical writing.

Research Compliance Officer

Research compliance officers monitor clinical research processes in order to make sure that they adhere to ethical guidelines, legal regulations, and institutional policies.

In this role, you will:

  • Develop and implement compliance programs
  • Conduct audits
  • Provide training to researchers and staff

As a research compliance officer, you can be responsible for maintaining the integrity and ethical conduct of clinical research.

Why You Should Get a PhD in Clinical Research Online

Earning a Ph.D.  in clinical research online isn’t easier than doing it on campus. You still have to take the same classes, participate in conferences, and defend your dissertation. However, there are many benefits of choosing the online format over everyday campus visits. They are:

Lower Costs

No, the tuition for online programs isn’t lower than the tuition for offline Ph.D.  programs. However, studying from the comfort of your own home decreases some of the associated costs. For example, you wouldn’t have to spend money on transportation to and from campus daily. Be it train fare or gas, you can save a significant amount.

Since not all the schools offer Ph.D.  programs in clinical research, many students who choose the offline format find themselves making the choice to relocate. Relocation also requires significant financial investments.

When you are earning your Ph.D.  in clinical research online, you spend the majority of your time at home. This helps you cut many associated expenses, including food and clothing.

Higher Learning Flexibility

People who decide to earn a Ph.D.  often juggle many responsibilities. Some of them work while others take care of their families. Staying on campus for several hours every day can interfere with these responsibilities and reduce their quality of life.

The key benefit of online studying is the opportunity to build your own learning structure. If you are working during the day, you can study in the evenings and vice versa. Meanwhile, you can study in the most convenient format that doesn’t involve attending lectures at set times.

It’s worth noting that while remote, some online programs arrange lectures and meetings at specific times every day. Meanwhile, others provide lecture recordings, You would need to explore the format before making a decision about the program.

Wider Choice of Schools

When it comes to offline learning, you only have a small selection of schools you are willing to go to due to their location. With online studies, this problem is irrelevant. You can apply to any number of programs you want without worrying about moving.

However, some programs may require your presence on campus at least several times a year. Find out about this requirement before applying in order to avoid unexpected surprises.

How Long Does it Take to Earn a Ph.D. in Clinical Research Online?

In most cases, it takes students around four years to earn a Ph.D. in clinical research online. However, some of them extend their studies for as long as seven years. Some factors that could influence the duration of your studies include:

Program Type

Some programs are longer than others. Some of them could require you to spend more hours to earn the required credits. It’s up to you to check this requirement before making your plans about a specific university.

Studying Pace

If you have many commitments that interfere with your dedication to earning a degree, the program could take several more years to complete. Some students mistakenly believe that they have the time and resources to study and work at the same time. For many of them, this turns into a stretched-out studying journey.

Many universities warn students that if they don’t complete the program within a certain number of years, they will have to leave it.

Research Project

The nature of your research project has a direct effect on the duration of your studies. Since you would have to conduct original research, it could take a significant amount of time. You would have to be careful about choosing the project to make sure it’s not too complex for your current needs.

Admissions Requirements

While admission requirements differ from university to university, some of them are the same for the majority of the Ph.D. programs. They include:

  • Master’s degree in a relevant field
  • Minimum GPA requirement (usually 3.0 or higher)
  • Official transcripts from previous educational institutions
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose or personal statement
  • Resume or curriculum vitae (CV)
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores (sometimes optional)
  • Proof of English language proficiency (for international students)
  • Writing samples or research papers
  • Interview (in some cases)
  • Relevant coursework or degrees in related fields (e.g., biology, health sciences)
  • Research experience or publications (preferred but not always required)

If you don’t meet all of the requirements listed by the school of your choice, don’t give up. Most likely, you still have a chance to get in.

Many schools are willing to make exceptions for students who could be a great fit for the program. For example, if you don’t have a sufficient GPA, you could demonstrate excellent experience in the field instead. Your goal is to demonstrate your true value and passion for the program.

Top Programs for Getting an Online Ph.D. in Clinical Research

This list of online Ph.D. programs is a great start for someone who is researching their options. Each one of them is hand-picked for its multiple benefits. Let’s take a closer look at what these schools have to offer.

University of Jamestown

University of Jamestown has an excellent fully online program that allows you to earn a Ph.D. in clinical research. While in this program, you will gain the skills you need to analyze research and conduct clinical trials. You will also learn how to ensure the safety of products and medication.

After earning a degree, you will be able to pursue careers in education, healthcare, government, and other fields.

Admissions requirements:

  • 42 credits of post-bachelor work in an accredited educational institution
  • Official transcripts from all previous places of studies
  • Two essays

The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


EUCLID Is an intergovernmental university that offers a great opportunity to earn an online Ph.D. in Academic and Research Medicine. While in this program, you will get an opportunity to prepare for a successful career in clinical research and teaching on both international and local levels.

Admissions requirements:

  • Master’s degree from an institution that’s listed in the UNESCO-IAU handbook/database
  • Fluency in English

Please contact the admissions committee to get an extensive list of requirements for international students.

The school is listed in the UNESCO IAU WHED database.

Texila American University

Texila American University offers a unique opportunity to get a Ph.D. in clinical research fully online. The goal of this program is to prepare students for top positions in organizations across multiple industries around the world.

Please contact the admissions committee to get an extensive list of requirements for international students.

The school is accredited by the National Accreditation Council of Guyana.

Getting Your Ph.D. in Clinical Research Online

While not too many universities offer an opportunity to earn a Ph.D. in clinical research online, you can still find a school that suits your needs.

If your goal is to get a Ph.D. without changing your life or relocating, you can discover interesting online and hybrid programs that are available around the world. Pay attention to the nuances of the hybrid format that may require you to attend the campus several times each semester.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it worth earning an online Ph.D. in clinical research?

It’s worth earning an online Ph.D.  in clinical research because it can help you achieve many professional and personal goals. While the journey can be long and complicated, with the right approach, it’s likely to pay off.

How important is accreditation for a Ph.D. in clinical research?

Accreditation of the university you choose is important because it reflects the quality of the education you’ve received. If you plan a career in academia, you must choose a school with proper accreditation.