Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Clinical Research Admission Process, Eligibility, Syllabus, Top Colleges, Entrance Exams, Scope and Salary

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Sounak Banerjee

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What is PhD Clinical Research? 

PhD in clinical research is a 3 - year doctoral-level course dealing in the research of clinical components. The programme is designed in a way so as to help students prepare a career in clinical or translational research. 

This programme attracts various meritorious students of diverse health professions from various corners of the country in order to provide them with strong knowledge along with mentored clinical research experience leading them to obtain a doctoral degree in clinical research.

In order to be an eligible candidate for the course, the aspiring students must have obtained a Master’s degree in any of either field of Dentistry, Life Sciences, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, Microbiology, Medicine,etc.with a minimum of 55% and above from any recognised college or university. 

The admission process is entirely based on merit wherein the students are required to qualify the entrance examination held for the programme which is then followed by group discussions and personal interview sessions by the respective colleges. 

Applicants who have a work experience of minimum 5 years have an extra benefit during the admissions. The various entrance examinations conducted for the course include GPAT,GATE, NET, PET, etc.

Some of the top colleges who offer the program of Ph.D. in Clinical Research are as follows:

The most demanding branch of Medical Science, a PhD in clinical research allows the deserving candidates to be a part and parcel of research centres for drugs and cures. 

The demand for the subject increased when the Government of India stated its desire about presenting each medicine in the market only after a proper clinical research which would give information about its safety for public use. In the programme of PhD in clinical research, the students are introduced to various clinical researches which ultimately guides them in preparing a thesis for the same. 

The students are provided with the important tools and techniques that are necessary for them to carry out various experiments for the research methodologies and make new discoveries to the field of study. The students are given proper guidance so as to improve their verbal as well as writing skills which would be helpful in the preparation of the thesis and they are also trained for working under the guidance and mentorship of the experts of the field. 

The desiring candidates must possess a basic understanding of the field and its various parts beforehand so that they are at a benefit after the admission and may face fewer difficulties in understanding the subject matter.

See Also: Top PhD Clinical Research Colleges in India

In India, the programme for obtaining a PhD degree in Clinical Research from a recognised institute generally costs between INR 1 - 5 lacs for a period of 3 - 5 years. After getting a doctorate degree, the students have a well-designed career in areas like healthcare, research and development, etc. The average initial salary of fresh doctorates usually ranges between INR 5 - 15 lacs.

PhD Clinical Research Course Highlights 

Course Level Doctorate
Full-Form Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Clinical Research
Duration 3 - 5 years
Examination Type Semester based
Eligibility To be an eligible candidate the applicant must qualify the Master’s degree in fields like Biotechnology, Life Sciences, Pharmacy,etc.with a minimum of 55% marks from any recognised college or university.
Admission Process Entrance and Merit-based
Course Fee INR 1 - 5 lacs
Average Salary Offered INR 4 - 12 lacs
Top Recruiters Fortis Hospital, TMC, ICMR, Pfizer
Job Positions Clinical Researchers, Medical Writers, etc.
PhD Clinical Research Eligibility

PhD Clinical Research Eligibility

Eligibility is the primary need for getting admitted into a course. The minimum eligibility criteria for the course has been listed below:

  • Candidates must have a masters degree in clinical research or an equivalent degree from a recognised college or university.
  • The students must have obtained a certain minimum percentage in their postgraduate level.
  • They are needed to clear the cut off marks set up by the entrance exam. Please note, the cut off lists may vary in different colleges.
  • The candidates must prepare well in the personal interview sessions which are meant to test their knowledge of the subject. This usually takes place after the results are out for the entrance exams.

The above listed criteria is almost the same in every college and university across the country that provides this course in the country.

PhD Clinical Research Admission Process

PhD Clinical Research Admission Process 

  • Admission to the course of PhD Clinical Research is both entrance based as well as merit based selection which depends upon the marks scored by the candidate in their master's degree. However, the procedure may tend to vary among different colleges.
  • Admission forms for the respective course are released between March and June which can be filled by the students either through an online or offline mode.
  • The students will be allowed in the entrance exams and admission process of the college only if they fulfil the eligibility criteria of the same.

Step 1: Apply for a national/state Exam

Step 2: Once the results are.

Step 3: Personal Interview 

Step 4: Enrollment 

Below mentioned are some steps of the admission process:

  • The eligible candidates are needed to register themselves on the official website wherein they are required to provide their email id, contact number and password.
  • Fill in the online application form provided in there.
  • The candidates need to appear for the examination only on the prescribed date. It must be noted that the admit cards are released before two weeks of the actual commencement of the examination.
  • Results are announced as per the marks obtained by the student in the exam along with the cutoffs of the institute and the seats available. Later, the seats are allocated accordingly.
  • The candidates who manage to qualify the entrance exam are then tested upon their knowledge of the subject through a personal interview conducted by the respective college.
PhD Clinical Research Entrance Exams

PhD Clinical Research Entrance Exams 

August every year. Due to the ongoing Covid - 19 crisis, this year most exams have either been cancelled or postponed. Some of the major entrance exams conducted in the country are as follows:

  1. NET: It is a national level exam conducted for admissions to PhD or M.Phil exams.

  2. GPAT: A national level exam for admissions to masters programs.However, the scores so obtained are useful in PhD programs too.

  3. ICMR: It is a national level examination held for Junior Research Fellowship, the marks of which are considered in admissions to PhD programmes too.

  4. GATE: It a national level exam conducted every year for admission to various prestigious institutes. These scores are applicable in many other areas too.

These are some of the most important exams conducted for the admission to the course. However, there are many more examinations conducted which have been listed below:

Exam Name Exam Dates
NET September 16 - 18, 2020 (Tentative)
GPAT January 28, 2020
ICMR July 12, 2020(Tentative)
PET May 16, 2020(Tentative)
GATE February 01-09, 2020 (Tentative)
DET July 05, 2020(Tentative)

How Prepare for PhD Clinical Research Entrance Exam?

If an aspiring student wishes to clear the cut off marks set for the entrance exams, they must be really well prepared before sitting for an exam. Below mentioned are certain important steps to successfully clear the exams:

  1. You should be aware of the latest exam pattern if you want to clear the exams with really good marks.
  2. The candidates must be well aware of the syllabus for the exam which is available on the official websites.
  3. If the exam pattern is in MCQ form then you must be really prepared yourselves well to face such questions. Do not impose any guesswork especially if there is negative marking.
  4. Make newspaper reading a daily habit which keeps you updates about the current affairs that may come in the written exams or in the personal interviews.
  5. You must go in for a mock exam which will give you an idea of how the exam takes place.
  6. Finally, you must revise all the prepared topics continuously and do not go in for new topics before a day of the examination.

How to Get Admission in a Top Notch PhD Clinical Research College?

If a student aspires to get into a top reputed college providing PhD Clinical Research course, then they must work hard enough to achieve that. Given below are certain tips for the same:

  • The admission to any good and reputed college entirely depends on the academic background and the marks obtained in the postgraduate level  by the candidate aspiring to opt for the course.
  • The students must prepare themselves very well before appearing for the exam since students from every corner of the country. So, one should never be overconfident until the final commencement of exam.
  • It is advisable to start preparing for the exam at least a year before the actual exam.
  • After the qualification of the entrance exam, the students are then tested upon their knowledge of the subject via personal interviews conducted by the college. You must be really well prepared for this round.
  • You should find out if  the college desired by you is worth for you or not. You should also look for the course curriculum offered by the college.
  • Do check if the college provides placements or not which is an important need these days.
PhD Clinical Research Syllabus

PhD Clinical Research Syllabus

The curriculum of the  3 - 5-year program of PhD in Clinical Research is divided into semesters throughout the span of the entire program. It lays focus on the important operational aspects of the respective field and improves the students’ knowledge of scientific aspects of the field to bring about new methodologies and researches that are included in clinical research. The syllabus so far followed by almost all the universities has been listed further:

  • Bioethics and Data Compilation of Clinical research
  • Research Methodology and Techniques
  • Fundamentals of Clinical Operations
  • Case Studies
  • Lab Works
  • Thesis
  • Project Work

However, it must be noted that the syllabus may tend to vary in some colleges and universities.

PhD in Clinical Research Books 

The PhD Clinical Research books that are important to students are mentioned below:

Name of the Book Name of the Author
Fundamentals of Clinical Trials Lawrence M. Friedman, Curt D. Furberg and David Demets
Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Project Management in a Changing Global Environment Scott D. Babler
Designing Clinical Research Dr.Stephen B. Hulley, Steven R. Cummings and Warren S. Browner
Publishing and Presenting Clinical Research Warren S. Browner
Practical Guide to Clinical Data Management Susanne Proksch

These are some of the books that provide a wide knowledge of the subject to the students during their studies and are beneficial even after the completion of studies as the knowledge obtained from these books can be used by the students in various legal issues that they might have to deal with in the future. However, these are only a few of them, students can find many such books related to the course which will further enhance their understanding and knowledge about clinical research.

PhD Clinical Research Top Colleges

PhD Clinical Research Top Colleges 

Area of Location Eligibility Average Course Fees Average Salary
Symbiosis International University  Pune INR 80,000 - 1.5 lacs INR 5-7 lacs (approx.)
Centre Drug Research Institute – CSIR Uttar Pradesh INR 2- 4 lacs (approx) INR 2-11 lacs (approx.)
Delhi Institute of Pharmaceutical Science and Research New Delhi INR 1 lacs INR 4-8 lacs (approx.)
Apheta Institute of Clinical Research  Allahabad INR 20,000 - 1.5 lacs (approx.) INR 5-10 lacs (approx.)
Indian Institute of Public Health – IIPH Delhi INR 2 - 3 lacs (approx) INR 6-12 lacs (approx.)

College Comparison

The comparison between top colleges where PhD Clinical Research is available are mentioned in the table below:

Comparison Parameters Delhi Institute of Pharmaceutical Science and Research Centre Drug Research Institute – CSIR Indian Institute of Public Health - IIPH
Overview Delhi Institute of Pharmaceutical Science and Research, originally established as Department of Pharmacy at Kashmiri Gate in 1964. From the College of Pharmacy, it was upgraded and is now known as Delhi Institute of Pharmaceutical Science and Research. Centre Drug Research Institute – CSIR, one of the first laboratories to be established in India after Independence. The research institute was inaugurated on 17th February 1951 by Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Prime Minister. Indian Institute of Public Health - IIPH, established under Public Health Foundation of India in 2008, it aims at providing value based education for various courses at UG, PG and PhD levels.
Average Fees INR 35,000 - 50,000 (approx.) INR 50,000 - 1 lacs INR 1.5 - 2 lacs (approx.)
Top Recruiters Abbott, SBL Herbal, Ranbaxy Labs Ltd. IPCA Pharma, Johnson & Johnson, Cipla Ranbaxy, Cipla, Johnson & Johnson
Number of seats allotted 8 5 50

The above comparison has been done between the most chosen and desired universities by the students. Also, a comparison between a central government-owned university and a state government-owned university would be helpful for the students so as to decide which would be more feasible for them in terms of all the factors that have been mentioned in the above comparison table. The course is being provided by many other reputed colleges and universities that have already been listed above.

Why Study PhD Clinical Research

Why Study PhD Clinical Research? 

There are various reasons for aspirants to opt for a course of PhD in Clinical Research in order to specialize in the field of clinical research. Students usually prefer to specialize in this course due to the following advantages:

  1. It equips the students with specialized knowledge in the field of clinical research which deals with the research of clinical components.
  2. It provides an in-depth study with practical as well as theoretical knowledge of the field of study.
  3. The doctorates of the course are eligible for an average salary of INR 4 - 12 lacs with additional perks which increase gradually with their increased experience and expertise in the field.
  4. This knowledgeable training provided to the students opens up various career prospects to choose after receiving the doctorate degree and the employment areas which are available for the students thereafter include pharmacy, life sciences, microbiology, etc. 
  5. The programme prepares the students so as to help them to build themselves as researchers and scientists in the fields of clinical research.
PhD Clinical Research Course Comparison

PhD Clinical Research Course Comparison 

The comparison between PhD in Clinical Research and PhD in Biochemistry are mentioned on the basis of various factors:

Comparison Parameters  PhD in Clinical Research PhD in Biochemistry
Overview It is a doctoral degree in the field of clinical research designed for a span of 3 years which deals with the research of clinical components. This is a research-based course that mainly deals with living organisms and involves an in-depth study of biomolecules.
Average Fees INR 1 - 4 lacs INR INR 50,000 - 5 lacs
Job Positions Clinical Research Manager, Medical Writer, etc. Clinical Biochemist, Research Scientist
Average Salary INR 4 - 12 lacs INR 5 - 20 lacs
Top Recruiters Fortis Hospital, Pfizer, ICMR, etc. Cancer Research Institutes, Research Departments, etc.

The above comparison has been done between the most chosen and desired courses by the students aspiring to opt for PhD courses. Also, a comparison between two closely related courses would be helpful for the students so as to decide which would be more feasible for them in terms of all the factors that have been mentioned in the above comparison table. The courses so far are being provided by many reputed colleges and universities that have already been listed above.

PhD Clinical Research Distance Education

PhD Clinical Research Distance Education 

Individuals who decide to continue with their further studies in order to enhance their academic qualifications but unable to do the same due to the other priorities or a busy life can attempt for distance education programmes that are being offered these days by reputed and recognised universities and colleges. Distance Learning Educations take place under the guidelines of the UGC and the degrees provided are fully recognised. 

There are often many assumptions made that the distance learning methods are less beneficial to the students compared to classroom learning methods, however, these assumptions are constantly being faded away nowadays as new technologies emerge day by day to make distance learning an efficient way of providing higher-level education to students. In order to ensure that distance learning is made equal to classroom education, new techniques are being introduced and used to provide equal knowledge and expertise to the students who opt for distance education. 

  • Distance education provides the students with the chance to study as per their own pace and time schedules.
  • It offers wide flexibility and convenience to the students since they do not have any kind of limitations of time or any other factor, and are able to maintain the other priorities of their life.
  • The students are provided study materials for the subject in the form of soft copies which makes it easy for them to access and study as well.
  • The study materials include reference notes on various topics as well as question papers which help them prepare well before the examinations.
  • They are often provided interactions with the instructors via videoconferencing which are entirely organised by the institute itself.

In order to be an eligible candidate for the course, the aspiring students must have obtained a Masters degree in any of either field of Dentistry, Life Sciences, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, Microbiology, Medicine,etc.with a minimum of 55% and above from any recognised college or university. Individuals who are already practising in the respective field can also apply for a PhD degree course through distance learning without taking a break from their jobs.

Name of the Institute Overview Average Course Fees
BITS Pilani The distance school body of BITS Pilani is accredited Distance Education Council (DEC) that is considered one of the top institutes providing PhD degrees through distance education mode. INR 20,000 - 25,000 (approx.)
Lovely Professional University It offers a degree of PhD in Clinical Research through distance learning methods. The 5-year doctorate programme in clinical research is one of the famous courses offered by the university.  INR 75,000 - 1 lacs (approx.)
Apheta Institute of Clinical Research Offering a PhD in Clinical research through distance learning mode, it is one of the most famous institutes that provides the advantages of distance education effectively. INR 25,000
PhD Clinical Research Scope

PhD Clinical Research Scope 

The field of clinical research has grown at an unprecedented rate since the past few years which makes it a land of opportunities for the doctorates to use their precious knowledge and expertise in the field. A specialist in this specific field usually are experts and do the research related to the various drugs, medicines, medical equipment, etc.

The doctorates after completion of their studies are given various job roles at different stages which are diverse in nature. They usually obtain career stability within 2 - 3 years of employment in the job choices made by them. The field of Clinical Research in India is growing at a fast pace and the need for the doctorates with specialised knowledge in the respective field is also increasing with every passing day. 

Apart from the jobs opportunities available in the public sector, the students can also opt for the jobs available in the private sector. Hence, this period of time is appropriate for the students to choose a career in clinical research because, in the long run, the demand for these candidates will substantially increase day by day. The students can find lucrative job positions as Clinical Researchers, Biostatisticians, Clinical Project Manager, Drug Development Associates, Quality Analyst, etc. 

Therefore, we can conclude by stating that choosing a career in the clinical research field will never go out of trend as it is among one of the most demanded courses in India. However, if a candidate is less willing to take up a job, then he/she can opt for further studies i.e., Post Doctoral Degree in the same field.

Related PhD Courses : 

  1. PhD Biochemistry

  2. PhD in Clinical Psychology

  3. PhD. Life Sciences 

PhD Clinical Research Jobs

PhD Clinical Research Jobs 

Doctorates with a degree of PhD in Clinical Research are offered a wide variety of choices in terms of their career and job prospects. They can choose to be Clinical Researchers, Medical Writers, Quality Analyst, etc. However, not all doctorates look for jobs as some want to continue their further studies. Students who are willing to opt for higher studies can do so in fields such as Post Doctoral programmes. 

The program trains the students in such a way that they inculcate the necessary skills through various techniques and methodologies. It presents before the candidates’ many worthy opportunities for implementing the knowledge they have obtained so far in areas like Nursing, Pharmacy, Medicine, Physiotherapy, etc. The students are given career opportunities in job positions like Clinical Researchers, Biostatisticians, Clinical Project Manager, Drug Development Associates, Quality Analyst, etc.

Some of the most sorted and chosen career options by the candidates have been listed below:

Job Profile  Job Description Average Salary
Clinical Researchers They conduct various trials in order to provide specific information about drugs and medicines. It usually generates information on the safe and efficient usage of these drugs like vaccines. INR 4 - 6 lacs
Clinical Project Managers They plan, direct or organise the various clinical research projects. They may even analyze clinical data. INR 10 - 15 lacs
Biostatisticians They collect and analyze the data of living organisms through medical research which is further used to form conclusions and predictions. INR 7 - 11 lacs
Drug Development Associates Their aim is to research and check the quality of drugs for public health. INR 4 - 6 lac

The above-listed job profiles are the most famous amongst many others. However, the field of the study has many other suitable job positions that are being offered to the doctorates in order to help them make good and efficient usage of their knowledge and expertise. 

PhD Clinical Research FAQs

PhD Clinical Research FAQ 

Ques: Is PhD Clinical Research a good course to opt for?

Ans. PhD Clinical Research is a top course in India that is especially aimed at preparing the aspiring students for performing various researches and studies based on different kinds of drugs, medicines and medical instruments.

Ques: What is the eligibility criteria for admission to the course?

Ans. In order to be an eligible candidate for the course, the aspiring students must have obtained a Master’s degree in any of either field of Dentistry, Life Sciences, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, Microbiology, Medicine,etc.with a minimum of 55% and above from any recognised college or university.

Ques: What is the syllabus offered by various colleges for the program?

Ans.  The syllabus so far followed by almost all the universities has been listed further:

>Bioethics and Data Compilation of Clinical research

>Research Methodology and Techniques

>Fundamentals of Clinical Operations

>Case Studies

>Lab Works


>Project Work

Ques: What is the average course fee charged for the program?

Ans. The average course fee ranges between INR 1 - 5 lacs.

Ques: Can the PhD degree be pursued via distance learning?

Ans. Yes, the course can surely be pursued through distance learning methods which have already been listed in the article above.

Ques: What would be the average salary offered?

Ans. The average salary offered to the specialists of the field ranges between INR 4 - 15 lacs. However, the amount of salary offered entirely depends on the nature of the job performed by them.

Ques: Which entrance examinations are conducted for admissions to the course in the country?

Ans. GATE, NET, PET, GPAT, DET are some of the entrance examinations that are conducted on a yearly basis for admissions to the course.

Ques: How is a PhD in Clinical Research different from a PhD in Biochemistry?

Ans. A PhD in Clinical Research deals with the research of clinical components while a PhD in Biochemistry deals with living organisms and involves an in-depth study of biomolecules.

Ques: Does Delhi University offer this course?

Ans. Delhi University so far is not offering this course presently. However, a separate institute has been set up in Delhi which is offering the course i.e., Delhi Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research.

Ques: What can we do after a PhD degree if we are not willing to take up jobs?

Ans. Students who are not willing to take up jobs in the field can further continue their studies in the field of clinical research via Post Doctoral Degree programs.

Ph.D. (Clinical Research) Fee Structure in India

2.40 L (Minimum Fee)PUBLIC COLLEGES3.60 L  (Maximum Fee)
3.13 L (Average Fee)
41 K (Minimum Fee)Private COLLEGES3 L (Maximum Fee)
2.18 L (Average Fee)


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Admission :

For applying the basic eligibility is Masters in Science oriented field with at least 55% marks secured. After which the university had held an entrance test for which I had to register by paying 41,000 rupees. After clearing the test, I got the admission.

Course Curriculum Overview :

There are many areas of research to choose from. After which the student has to develop a synopsis and a thesis to work on for three years. The thesis requires dedication by the student in developing and presenting it to the committee for approval.

Loan/ Scholarship Provisions :

Students can apply for scholarship on the basis of academic excellence. Educational loans are also facilitated by the college administration. The students can apply for loans at their local bank and get it approved by the college board easily.

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