Major in Clinical and Translational Sciences

Translational science includes each stage of research along the path from the biological basis of health and disease to clinical and public health interventions that improve the health of individuals and populations. The development, approval and implementation of clinical interventions that improve human health faces several challenges, and requires translational research that will accelerate the process of basic scientific discoveries to the development of impactful interventions. To facilitate this process, the clinical and translational science workforce will need to be familiar with the specific methods associated with patient-oriented translational research, as well as training in biomedical research ethics and regulations.

The clinical and translational sciences (CTS) major provides students with in-depth instruction in the fundamental skills, methodology, and principles of clinical and translational research. It is designed to equip students with the ability to formulate meaningful hypotheses, design and conduct interpretable experiments, analyze results critically, understand and communicate the broad significance of research findings, and uphold the highest ethical standards in research.

Students will attain these skills through in-depth instruction, formal laboratory experiences, and specific ongoing guidance on the process of translational science and emerging developments in the field.

The program will expose students to the concept of multidisciplinary research, preparing them to see team science as the expectation, rather than exception—leveraging resources and expertise across the University to prepare students to become leaders and members of clinical and translational research teams. Students will gain knowledge of a range of scientific disciplines allowing them to effectively communicate and collaborate across multidisciplinary teams.

After completion of this program, students should be able to:

  • Understand the philosophy and approach of translational science
  • Understand the public health context of clinical and translational research and its societal implications
  • Understand and apply the fundamental principles of clinical research methodology involved in clinical and translational research
  • Understand and apply the biological and physiological principles that form the foundation for clinical and translational sciences
  • Describe the principles of team science and their significance to clinical and translational research
  • Compare the role of basic and clinical sciences in clinical research and population health

Major Requirements

This major has eight full-credit required courses (the CTSC 299 research seminar course spans two semesters and is equivalent to two courses), one 1-credit lab, and four electives. Students who complete this major will receive a bachelor of science degree that satisfies the natural science requirement of the Rochester Curriculum.

Students must have completed at least three of the following courses: PHLT 103, STAT 212, CHEM 203, BIOL 198 (or BIOL 190), BIOL 204 to be eligible to declare the CTSC major.  Students must also have a average major GPA of at least a 2.0 to be able to declare a CTSC major.

Foundational Courses

These courses are not formally part of major but prerequisites to required courses:

  • BIOL 110: Principles of Biology I or BIOL 112: Perspectives in Biology I (Prerequisite: CHEM 131)
  • BIOL 111: Principles of Biology II or BIOL 113: Perspectives in Biology II (Prerequisite: BIOL 110 or BIOL 112)
  • CHEM 131: Chemical Concepts, Systems, and Practices I
  • CHEM 132: Chemical Concepts, Systems, and Practices II (Prerequisite: CHEM 131)

Core Requirements

Eight courses including the CTSC two-semester research seminar and one 1-credit lab:

  • PHLT 103: Concepts of Epidemiology
  • STAT 212: Applied Statistics I (valid until spring 2024) or STAT 180: Introduction to Applied Statistical Methodology (valid beginning fall 2024)
  • PHIL 225: Medical Ethics or PHIL 228: Public Health Ethics (instructor permission required)
  • CHEM 203: Organic Chemistry I or CHEM 171: First-Year Organic Chemistry I*
  • CHEM 207: Organic Chemistry I: Lab (1 credit) or First-Year Organic Chemistry Lab I (1 credit)*
  • BIOL 198: Principles of Genetics or BIO 190: Genetics and the Human Genome*
  • BIOL 204: Principles of Human Physiology*
  • CTSC 299W: Research Seminar in Translational Sciences (CTS juniors or seniors only)*
  • CTSC 299: Research Seminar in Translational Sciences (CTS juniors or seniors only)*

*Requires prerequisite from either the foundational courses or other core requirement courses.


Students must take four of the following, three of which must come from Biomedical Sciences and Clinical Research Methods (at least one course required from clinical research methods) and one must come from Population Sciences.

Biomedical Sciences and Clinical Research Methods (Three Courses)

Clinical research methods (at least one from this group):

  • STAT 276: Statistical Computing in R or BIOL 208: Intro to Programming for BIO (Prerequisite: STAT 211, 212, 213 or equivalent; or BIOL 190 or BIOL 198 conc.)
  • DSCC 201: Tools for Data Science or BIOL 253: Computational Biology (H) (Prerequisite: CSC 161 or CSC 171 or BIOL 208)
  • DSCC 210: Digital Imaging: Transforming Real into Virtual
  • PM 415U: Principles of Epidemiology (Prerequisite: PHLT 103)
  • PM 488 (H): Experimental Therapeutics (CTS juniors or seniors only)
  • BST 465: Design of Clinical Trials (Prerequisite: BST 463 or equivalent)

Biomedical sciences:

  • CHEM 204: Organic Chemistry II or CHEM 172: First-Year Organic Chemistry II (Prerequisites: CHEM 203, 207)*
  • BIOL 202: Molecular Biology (Prerequisites: BIOL 198 or BIOL 190 and BIOL 250)
  • BIOL 210: Cell Biology (Prerequisites: BIOL 110 or BIOL 111, BIOL 112 or BIOL 113)
  • BIOL 222: Biology of Aging (Prerequisite: BIOL 198)
  • BIOL 226: Developmental Biology (Prerequisite: BIOL 198)
  • BIOL 250 (H): Introduction to Biochemistry (Prerequisites: BIOL 110 or BIOL 112, BIOL 190 or BIOL 198, CHEM 203, CHEM 204 conc.)
  • MBI 220: Introduction to Microbiology (Prerequisites: BIOL 110, BIOL 111, BIOL 198, CHEM 203)
  • MBI 221W: Microbiology Lab (Prerequisites: BIOL 110, BIOL 111, BIOL 198, CHEM 203)

*Pre-health students should take this course as their biomedical sciences elective.

Population Sciences (One Course)

  • PHLT 116: Introduction to U.S. Health System
  • PHLT 236: Health Care and Law
  • PHLT 216: Peer Health Advocacy (valid until spring 2022)
  • HIST 383W: Disease and Society
  • PM 412U: Survey Research (Prerequisite: PM 415)
  • PM 414U: History of Epidemiology (Prerequisite: PHLT 103)
  • PM 418U or PM 418W: Cardiovascular Epidemiology (Prerequisite: PHLT 103)
  • PM 424U or PM 424W: Chronic Disease Epidemiology (Prerequisite: PHLT 103)
  •  PM 451U or PM 451W: Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases (Prerequisite: PHLT 103 or PM 415 & BST 463, or PM 401, or STAT 216 or equivalent)
  • PM 489U or PM 489W: Injury Epidemiology and Emergency Care Methods (Prerequisite: PHLT 103)
  • PHLT 394E: Emergency Medicine Internship

Upper-Level Writing Requirement

Students will be required to register for two upper-level writing courses within this major, one of which is CTSC 299W: Research Seminar in Translational Sciences.

Courses designated with (W) have writing requirements that will satisfy the Rochester Curriculum’s upper-level writing requirement. Students would register for the “W” section. Registration in any “W” BIO course requires permission of the instructor. For each PM (W) course there will be a cap of five students registering for the writing component.

Overlapping Major Courses

Students majoring in CTS are permitted to use up to three courses between a CTS major and another major. The introductory STAT course (STAT 212 or STAT 180) is not included in course overlaps.

Transfer Credit

Students are permitted (with the approval of the CTS faculty advisor) to use up to three transfer courses towards a CTS major.

Honors Program

Students will be invited by the Multidisciplinary Studies Center to apply to the honors program. Invitations are based on a 3.7 grade-point average in the core requirements (all core courses need to have been completed by the end of fall of senior year) and on progress toward finishing requirements for the major.

Students who receive an invitation will need to formally apply to the Multidisciplinary Studies Center to enroll in the honors program. To graduate with honors in clinical and translation sciences, students must:

  • Complete the major
  • Complete at least one advanced course designated with (H)
  • Complete four credit hours of independent study over and above the credits required for the major (CTS 393H for fall or spring semester of senior year)
  • Have a cumulative grade-point average of at least a 3.7 in the major
  • Complete a distinguished research paper (thesis) under the direction of a faculty advisor*

*The thesis must be of at least A- quality. Students will not receive honors for a thesis that does not meet this minimum standard.

Distinction Program

This major will offer a distinction program in which the terms “distinction”, “high distinction”, and “highest distinction” will reflect the quality of performance. A GPA of at least 3.40 will qualify for “distinction”; a GPA of at least 3.60 will qualify for “high distinction”; and a GPA of at least 3.80 will qualify for “highest distinction”.