Clinical Scientist Training Program (CSTP)

Program Details

Read more about the components of the Clinical Scientist Training Program below.

All CSTP students complete the core curriculum during the CSTP research year.

Core Curriculum in Clinical Research
Course number
Course title
Term offered
CLRES 2005
every Summer
CLRES 2010
every Summer
CLRES 2020
every Summer
CLRES 2040
every Summer
MEDEDU 2140*
every Fall and Spring
NROSCI 2014*
NROSCI 2410*

* NROSCI 2014 "Speaking of Science" (3 credits) or NROSCI 2410
"Translating Science" (3 credits) may substitute for MEDEDU 2140


Students completing the dual MD/Certificate register for 18 units during their CSTP research year (9 units in Summer, 4.5 units in Fall, and 4.5 units in Spring). These credits include the 11-credit core curriculum and 7 credits of elective credits.


Students completing the dual MD/MS degree receive 3 credits from pre-clinical courses in the MD curriculum (MED 5180, MED 5181, & MED 5265) toward the 30-credit MS degree. Students register for the remaining 27 credits during their CSTP research year (9 credits in Summer, 9-10 credits in Fall, and 9-10 credits in Spring). These credits include the 11-credit core curriculum, 6 credits of thesis research, and 10 track-specific required and elective credits.

General Information

Financing for the CSTP is provided by the Office of the Dean, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. On a case-by-case basis, students may be co-funded by an institutional training grant to the University of Pittsburgh (e.g., T32 or R25 grant).


The fellowship provides students with a 12-month stipend, set at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) predoctoral and postdoctoral level.

The fellowship is paid as a monthly stipend and is subject to federal but not state tax. Although no taxes are withheld, fellows are expected to file quarterly estimated taxes.

The interpretation and implementation of tax laws is the domain of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the courts. For further information, contact the IRS or a tax professional.

Tuition, Health Insurance, and Research-Related Travel

The fellowship covers the cost of tuition for a Certificate in clinical research. It also covers health insurance and support for research-related travel. Students pursuing the MS are responsible for paying for the additional credits.

Scholarship Toward the Fourth Year of Medical School

Students who successfully complete their research year are eligible for a $25,000 scholarship to cover part of the cost of their fourth year of medical school.

A central element of the CSTP is participation in mentored clinical research.


CSTP students are expected to have identified and worked with their clinical research mentor as part of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine scholarly project. Students must work with tenured or tenure-track faculty from the School of Medicine or any of the other five schools of the health sciences (the Graduate School of Public Health, the School of Dental Medicine, the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, the School of Nursing, and the School of Pharmacy). Mentors must conduct clinical research and have a track record of funding by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or other major agencies (e.g., Veterans Administration or Department of Defense).


An optimal mentored clinical research experience will be characterized by at least three features:

  • The valued input of an experienced and responsive mentor.
  • Involvement in an interesting research project that the student can own.
  • The opportunity to work as part of a multidisciplinary team that provides exposure to all phases of research: conception, design, grant writing, recruitment and consent, data collection and analysis, and dissemination of results.

To maximize the mentor-mentee relationship, all CSTP students will participate in a structured, interactive mentoring workshop. Throughout the student’s research experience, the Director will monitor the mentor-mentee relationship to ensure that the learning needs of each student are met.

Web Resources

Below are some Web resources to help in the search for potential mentors at the University of Pittsburgh.

*The database, maintained by the Office of Extramural Research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), includes projects funded by the NIH, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health (OASH). Although investigators funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs or the Department of Defense also are eligible to be program mentors, these investigators are not searchable in the database.

Clinical Scientist Training Program (CSTP) Handbook

A comprehensive record of information relevant to the CSTP.

Institute for Clinical Research Education
200 Meyran Avenue, Suite 300
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

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