college of science


Course Description

Core Disciplines

Clinical Development Seminars I and II

Clinical Development Seminars I and II are evening symposia taught and managed by the program director utilizing industry experts discussing the defining and distinguishing features of the invention/discovery, non-clinical development, manufacturing development, and clinical development (clinical trials) of medical products.

These seminars address the major classes of products whose design, development, manufacture and performance characteristics are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products include small molecule drugs, large molecule biopharmaceuticals and biologicals, medical diagnostics (blood tests, biomarkers, genetic screens, disease markers, home test kits and automated laboratory tests), and medical/surgical devices such as cardiac stents, implants, and prosthetic devices, to list a few.

The scientific and technical principles underlying each of the major classes of medical products will be introduced through independent reading assignments and supported with presentations on current practices by expert guest lecturers. At the end of each ten-week course, the students will give oral presentations and submit papers to satisfy the graduate writing requirement. At the conclusion of these core symposia, the students will have a comprehensive knowledge of medical products and a foundational overview of the development processes involved for each. Such knowledge will form the framework upon which in-depth instruction in the methodologies and processes of clinical trials is given in the remainder of the program.

Clinical Trials Seminar I and II, offered in the second year of the program are weekly evening symposia which will include expert speakers, panel presentations, open discussions of current issues and advanced topics critical to clinical trial management. Topics will include in-depth discussions of the various phases of clinical studies, clinical issues in the design of clinical trials, ethical and social issues, safety surveillance/risk analysis and management, among others.

This final symposium session is the capstone of the program challenging the student to demonstrate a professional manner and technical proficiency in clinical trial management. By the end of this symposium, students will have gained a clear understanding of the profession of clinical trial management and the issues related to the field, and will have developed tools to deal with controversial issues that arise during medical product development.

Management Track

Successful management requires knowledge of human behavior and organizational processes. This course provides an overview of the challenges that arise for managers in organizational settings, and introduces the key concepts and theories needed to be successful managers and leaders. Good interpersonal and leadership skills are an essential ingredient in the complex activity of medical product development.

This course offers a comprehensive overview of the skills needed, tools required, and challenges faced in managing complex projects and programs. In the multidisciplinary clinical biomedical product development process, a project or program manager must deliver project results within a limited time and with possible resource constraints. A poorly managed development project, despite the technical skills of all involved, can result in large cost overruns, lack of approval by the regulatory authority, or late delivery to market, resulting in lost revenue. As this skill is crucial in so many different industries, Fortune magazine named project management the #1 career choice for the coming decade.

This course is offered in the last semester of the program and is intended to bring the management principles above into alignment with the variety of FDA-regulated medical product development processes to which the student has previously been exposed. The material treats medical product development as a cross-functional business process involving value chain management. It examines the key concepts and management challenges involved in structuring clinical development and in strategically managing a portfolio of projects. The course delves into relevant cases and examines industry practices with the intent of identifying best practices to cover the wide variety of medical products.

Supporting Disciplines

This online course introduces the laws and regulations governing the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and biologics industry. Discussions cover the organization, product development, and commercialization-associated activities. Course material includes, drug discovery, chemical synthesis, quality assurance, regulatory affairs, manufacturing, control, and marketing.

This online course introduces the laws and regulations governing medical devices and diagnostic products. Discussions cover the Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act, the U.S. Public Health Service Act, Title 21 Code of Federal Regulations, and their various amendments, Quality Control, and GxPs.

This course encompasses an overview of experimental designs, statistical analyses, and clinical-scientific-regulatory issues common to clinical trials research. Coursework includes understanding the elements of a statistical analysis plan, conducting statistical analyses that meet the constraints of regulatory agencies, reporting results, and data monitoring. Prerequisites: Satisfactory completion of a college-level introductory course in statistics and probability.

This course discusses the application of information technology, processes, and standards, as applied to the conduct of data management of clinical trials in the medical product industry. Special emphasis is given to data collection, patient-reported outcomes, electronic data capture, and clinical data management processes. Regulatory requirements for electronic records will also be addressed.

Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement

At SJSU, students must pass the Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR).
SMPD 281A will satisfy the graduation writing requirement for MPDM.


Georgena Hontalas, Class of 2013

"I’ve recommended this program to a lot of my colleagues at work. You know, a lot of people where I currently work are very interested in pursuing their Master’s. A lot of people don’t know what they want to do."

Michael Morad, Class of 2010

"I think the people that should consider this program are people that are thinking about getting into medical device, biologics, or pharma, or if you’re in the industry, and you want to broaden your skill sets."

Welcome to San Jose State University

San Jose State University is located on 154 acres, the main campus has more than 50 major buildings (23 academic buildings, 7 residence halls) on 19 city blocks in downtown San Jose.

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