MU Partners With University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ

The University signed an agreement with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) in March, which will allow qualifying students to enter the online Master’s program in clinical trial sciences at UMDNJ. The partnership will include four years of undergraduate education at the University followed by two to three years at UMDNJ.

In order to qualify, undergraduates must be in their senior year, have at least a 3.0 grade point average (GPA) in their major, and obtain a recommendation from either Dr. Michael Palladino, Dean of the School of Science, or the Pre-Professional Health Advisory Committee. Students can then take up to six Master’s level courses during their senior year, which will transfer over so that they can continue their Master’s education at UMDNJ. Palladino said that this track would be most useful to biology, chemistry, and mathematics majors.

The program itself is a 36-credit Master’s in clinical trial sciences, which has four different tracks that will prepare students for different roles in the pharmaceutical industry. These tracks are regulatory affairs, clinical trial management and recruitment, clinical trials informatics, and drug safety and pharmacovigiliance. It contains a nine-credit core and 27 credits of specialty courses.

Students trained in these areas can work for biotechnology companies, pharmaceutical companies, and medical device companies. According to Palladino, since many of these companies do not have large clinical trial divisions, they enter into contracts with clinical research organizations (CROs), which are companies who employ staff who specialize in running clinical trials. Often, these companies allow their employees to move about the country from project to project, which makes the field ideal for a student who enjoys travel. Also, besides human clinical trials, CROs also work on other types of clinical trials, such as the development of drugs for animals.

Palladino said, “I interact frequently with industry leaders from biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies and one of their greatest hiring needs in New Jersey is hiring people trained in clinical trials. When a company develops a medical device or drug, the product is required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to go through a series of human trials before it can ultimately be approved for sale. On average, this can take from six to ten years or more and over $1 billion.”

He continued, “All stages of clinical trial review require input from scientists, statisticians, and legal specialists. Because of increased regulatory demands by the FDA, there simply are not enough qualified people working in this field.”

While still studying clinical trial sciences, students also have the opportunity to work to design trials, recruit patients by working with hospitals, analyze results, and develop appropriate paperwork for FDA filing.

Barbara Gladson, Director of the Biopharma Educational Initiative and Curriculum Development at UMDNJ, said that this agreement is beneficial for all parties involved. “Our program is completely online and we do not require interviews since our students are from all over the country. So an application may look stellar but sometimes the student is not. So the fact that these students are recommended by MU faculty speaks volumes,” she said.

Dr. Julie O’Sullivan Maillet, interim dean of UMDNJ, said in a press release to the University, “We are excited for Monmouth students to be able to take one or two courses online with UMDNJ while undergraduates, and then possibly decide to become clinical research professionals. It is a great opportunity for both schools.”

Palladino said, “We have a good relationship and good partnerships with UMDNJ for programs such as our medical technology degree and we are working with them for future partnerships to medical school and dental school.” He also mentioned that the University is currently working on developing partnerships with several other medical schools as well.

Currently, the clinical trial sciences program is not partnered with any other schools besides MU because it is very new, however in the future, UMDNJ will be partnered with the University of Montreal. UMDNJ will be sharing two courses with them as they are developing the first Master’s in drug safety in Canada. Also, UMDNJ will be transferred to Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, effective July 1, 2013.

The School of Science offers undergraduate degree programs in biology, chemistry, mathematics, computer science, and software engineering and MS graduate programs in computer science and software engineering. For more information on the programs, contact Palladino at 732-571-3421 or visit