DMD/Master's in Clinical Research (MCRT)

Program Director
Portrait of Dr. Suchitra Nelson

 Dr. Suchitra Nelson is Professor of Community Dentistry and Director of the DMD-MCRT program. She has been at the School of Dental Medicine since 1991 and has extensive experience studying the oral health of children and adolescents from disparate populations. Her research activities have been funded through the NIH, HRSA, and other foundations and include investigating the causes of dental caries in pre-term and full-term children and clinical trials aimed at reducing dental caries in poor inner-city elementary school children. She received her Bachelor's in Madras, India, and her Master's and Ph.D. in Epidemiology from Case Western Reserve University. In 2008, Dr. Nelson received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) selected by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. This award is one of the nation’s highest honors a scientist or engineer in the early stages of their career can receive.

Welcome, new and returning students! Yet another school year is starting and it is going to be a productive and exciting time for all. Since its inception three years ago, the DMD-MCRT dual-degree training program has successfully graduated one student this year. We have enrolled students this year and several more interested in the program for future years. The DMD-MCRT program is one of a handful of training programs funded by the NIH and we are very proud of this honor. Our dual-degree training prepares the dentist of the future in utilizing evidence-based methods in the practice of dentistry and for a career in academics and/or the private/public sector. I encourage all students to consider this dual-degree training to enhance your future career.


The objective for the five-year joint DMD and Master's in Clinical Research Training (DMD-MCRT) at Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine is to train dentist scholars for an academic career, bringing scientific advances to solving clinical problems. Part of this goal is the training in clinical research, so that the dental graduate may promote progress in biomedical research and develop innovative and effective strategies to address the oral health needs of the population.

Description of the Curriculum

The dual degree curriculum is for five years. The DMD curriculum requires 141.5 credit hours that include didactic, laboratory, and clinical work. The overall DMD curriculum will not change as part of this joint program. Some components of the dental curriculum are equivalent to clinical research material that is taught in graduate MS programs. Thus a total of 6 credits of the DMD curriculum (Epidemiology for Dentistry, Cariology, and Outreach Preventive Dentistry) will be used as graded credits towards the Master’s portion of the combined DMD/MS program.

For the MS curriculum, the student will earn the type A (thesis option) administered by the Clinical Research Scholars Program (CRSP) of the School of Medicine and the School of Graduate Studies. This is a 36-credit Masters in Clinical Research. The proposed program will consist of:

  • Core curriculum (15 graded hours)
  • DMD coursework (6 graded credits)
  • At least one elective (3-6 graded credits)
  • Research work culminating in a thesis project (9-12 non-graded credits)
  • Participation in a seminar series

A full year of research is a requirement. Students may complete their full year of research after completion of their DMD degree or choose to take one year off between the 2nd and 3rd DMD year for fulfillment of the Master’s program. The core curriculum should be completed between the 1st and 4th year of the DMD curriculum. Graduation from the program requires completion of the DMD curriculum and the proposed Master's curriculum described above. A successful passing of the oral defense of the Master’s research thesis is required.

Admissions Process

Students who wish to join the DMD/MS program may contact Dr. Suchitra Nelson, PhD, Director of the Training Program, by email at or by phone at 216.368.4721. Please visit the Educational Programs in Clinical Research website for additional information pertaining to the Master’s in Clinical Research Scholars Program.

Tuition and Stipend support for the Program

Students will receive one year of tuition support (approximately $21,000), stipend support ($20,772), and health insurance during the MCRT dedicated year. Students will also receive travel funding to attend a national conference where they will present their research.

More information

For more information about the MCRT program, please visit the Educational Programs in Clinical Research website. You can also download an informational printable brochure here.