Regulatory Science relates the regulatory and legal requirements of biomedical product development to the scientific research needed to ensure the safety and efficacy of those products. It is an emerging profession experiencing tremendous growth. The rapid expansion of the biomedical industry has resulted in a particularly large and unmet demand for regulatory professionals. The Master of Science in Regulatory Science is an intensive, interdisciplinary program within the school designed to produce graduates whose backgrounds in biological, pharmaceutical, and biomedical sciences are enhanced by the knowledge and skills needed to manage regulated biomedical products. You can also read an FDA article “Why You Should Care About Regulatory Science.”
Our programs are uniquely designed to produce graduates who can meet the growing need for a new generation of regulatory scientists working in the pharmaceutical, medical device and food safety industries. Job tracks include: quality systems and good manufacturing practices, regulatory affairs, risk management, clinical trials, preclinical science and more. Please review articles at Science and Nature.
Our curriculum provides a unique combination of in-class training and industry experience. The program offers six Graduate Certificate programs (12 units each), three Master’s degrees (32-36 units), and the Doctor of Regulatory Science degree (64 units). Core courses cover six areas: regulation of foods and medical products, quality assurance, clinical research, statistics, law, and business. Students are able to transfer credits from graduate work that they have done in the past towards their degree. Other credits can be taken from a list of our optional courses or from any area of interest relevant to regulatory science; these alternative courses must be approved.
USC Regulatory Science and Drug Development graduates are in great demand among top industry employers. Our graduates are now employed in industry, government, consulting and academia. Our alumni are now leaders in a profession designed to meet industry and governmental challenges in speeding up the delivery of medical advances to the people who need them, while ensuring that safety standards are met. The biomedical industry has grown rapidly, and this has fueled a large—and largely unmet—demand for regulatory professionals, both nationally and internationally. Our programs are uniquely designed to produce graduates who can meet this growing need for a new generation of regulatory scientists, formulation engineers, GMP experts and reimbursement specialists.
The Regulatory Science program is designed for participants with strong science or industry backgrounds. Preference will be given to candidates who have completed previous graduate study in science, engineering or business, although students with particularly strong undergraduate transcripts and leadership qualities will also be considered for admission.
Master’s and Graduate Certificate Programs: When applying to our program, applicants have the option to choose between three terms: fall, spring, or summer. To ensure consideration, applications must be submitted by the deadlines specified in the Admissions section for the program of interest. It is highly recommended that international students submit their application by the first deadline for each term.Doctorate Program: We admit students every two years, and the next admission cycle will be for the fall 2024 semester. We invite you to take advantage of the application period to research the program and its potential, along with how you think the program will benefit you and your professional goals.
The majority of our students work either part-time, full-time or as an intern. Our program offers students a professional advantage by having courses primarily on Fridays, Saturdays, and/or Sundays; occasionally courses will be held on the weekdays. Each course usually meets for a total of five days from 9:00am-5:00pm; the schedule varies from term to term. With this distinctive course set-up, most of our students are able to work and earn their degree simultaneously.
The time period to earn a degree depends on the individual and the degree program. The Regulatory Science program works to accommodate students within reason given the university’s administrative requirements.
- Graduate Certificate: The 12 unit program can easily be completed in two to four semesters.
- Master of Science: On average, most students obtain their degree within a year or two of enrollment, but three years may be needed if you take a single course each term. For participants without industry experience, the full-time MS program has four terms: three terms of coursework and one term of internship in industry or government. Part-time studies are possible and encouraged. Talk to our counselor to develop an individualized program that meets your special needs.
- Doctorate: On average, the program can be completed in 4 to 5 years with the final year devoted to research and writing your dissertation.
Although USC does not offer a PhD in Regulatory Science, similar to the PhD, the DRSc includes a research-based dissertation and bestows the title of “Doctor” on its recipients. The key difference between the degrees is that the research for the PhD is more “lab-based” and most students who receive the PhD are interested in an academic career path of teaching and research. The benefit of the DRSc is the potential of our graduates to work in both professional (government, industry) and scholarly/academic capacities.
Those who study with us by distance attend the same classes as students onsite and participate in group projects with their fellow students. The classes can be viewed in real time or on delay. In all respects, distance students pursue the same program as those onsite. We have successfully offered our distance program to people all over the US for more than 10 years.
Please note that the distance learning option is only available to students who are physically residing in the U.S.
The school offers an innovative dual degree program for MS students currently enrolled in PharmD studies. In this dual program, twelve credits of coursework in the PharmD program are counted toward the requirements for the MS in Regulatory Science, which greatly shortens the coursework component. Students wishing to take the dual program should identify their interests early, because the program is best started at the end of the first or second year of studies. Contact the program coordinator if you are interested in the dual PharmD/MS degree.
USC Scholarship Universe
- MS in Regulatory Science
- MS in Management of Drug Development
- MS in Medical Product Quality
Yes, as long as you plan to remain in the U.S. for the summer term. In order to maintain visa status, international students must be registered full-time during the fall and spring semesters; summers are optional*. Many international students take this time to travel and/or visit their families. If international students opt to take summer courses, they must attend in-person. We are not an online program and do not offer online classes. International students who fail to meet these requirements will have their I-20 terminated.
If you are participating in RSCI 596: CPT (Curricular Practical Training) during the summer, you can do your internship out of state, though not internationally.
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Please note: Students admitted in summer are required to enroll in a full course load during their first summer session.