UJ launching all-online PhD in Clinical Research

Feb 11, 2023
By Natalie McKenna

Campus Clips

  • Campus Clips

University of Jamestown announced that it has launched its first-ever PhD program. Following its launch, UJ became one of the only universities in the world to offer an accredited, all-online PhD in Clinical Research.


“After considerable exploration and collaboration with national partners, we are incredibly proud to be announcing a program of this quality developed by and for healthcare professionals to meet the growing need for credentialed faculty and researchers around the world,” said Dr. Polly Peterson, UJ President.


Dr. Kristin Lefebvre, Director of the PhD in Clinical Research program, said initial discussions about creating the new program came about when the University examined its own needs.


“We know firsthand how hard it is to find faculty members who are PhD-trained physical therapists,” said Dr. Lefebvre. “University of Jamestown offers a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree, and for accreditation purposes, at least 50% of the program’s faculty must have a terminal degree.”


After performing a market analysis, the University found that there was considerable interest in the creation of an all-online PhD in Clinical Research program.


“We discovered that, like UJ, other institutions struggle to find PhD-trained faculty members, especially in light of the proliferation of online healthcare programs,” said Dr. Lefebvre. “As faculty members retire and new programs come about, there just aren’t enough people to teach.”


The University likewise found that potential students, especially those working in the medical field, were highly interested in a research-based program that is both rigorous and flexible.


“To a lot of younger people who already have a master’s degree or a professional doctorate in a field like medicine, Physical Therapy, or Occupational Therapy, the idea of obtaining an additional advanced degree often seems unattainable,” said Dr. Lefebvre. “It’s a huge financial and time commitment. Asking them to quit their jobs and uproot their lives to move to campus just seemed unrealistic to us. They have to finish those last 48 credits and complete the dissertation process.”


Seeing the need in the field, as well as demand, University of Jamestown assembled an esteemed advisory board with members located across the country to guide the creation of the program.


“I’m incredibly proud of the program that Dr. Lefebvre and the rest of our faculty have created,” said Dr. Paul Olson, Provost. “Because this program equips students with the skills necessary to conduct clinical trials, analyze research, and ensure the safety and efficacy of products, medication and information provided to the global society, it has the potential to impact both our students’ lives, and the lives of people their research will touch around the world.”


To allow for increased flexibility and specialization, Dr. Lefebvre said the University designed the program to be all-online.


“With most traditional, on-campus PhD programs, if a student wants to specialize in a field, they must either move to work with a specific advisor or they are restricted to working with someone outside of their area of interest,” she said. “Our Dissertation Coordinator can help connect students with any advisor, anywhere in the world, and no one needs to relocate.”


Dr. Lefebvre is quick to point out that even though the program is offered online, there are still numerous opportunities for students to collaborate.


“We specifically designed the program to blend synchronous and asynchronous learning,” she explained. “This way, our students can maintain a flexible schedule, while simultaneously having opportunities to connect with experienced and esteemed faculty and classmates from all over the globe.”


Dr. Peterson, credits UJ’s small, collegial environment as an added benefit that will help students receive individualized attention and support from faculty and their PhD advisor.


“For 140 years, UJ has been known for putting its students first. We recognize that learning does not have to be confined by place, space, or pace,” said Dr. Peterson. “We built this program to accommodate a diverse background of learners in a setting that is practical, accessible, achievable, and affordable.”


The University is currently accepting students for the Fall semester of 2023. Those interested in learning more about the program, as well as how to apply, can visit UJ.edu/Clinical-Research.

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