CLEMSON, South Carolina — High-performing college students interested in health-related professions soon will be able to apply for graduate school through two innovative initiatives offered by Clemson University and the Medical University of South Carolina. Starting in fall 2017, the collaboration will reduce student debt and increase the number of highly skilled, highly trained professionals entering South Carolina’s workforce.

MUSC President Dr. David Cole shakes hands with Clemson University President Dr. James P. Clements

MUSC President Dr. David Cole and Clemson President James P. Clements forged initiatives to decrease student debt and increase the knowledge-based economy.

Through one initiative, Clemson undergraduate students can apply for admission to nine health-related graduate programs at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), including medicine, dentistry, physical therapy and public health, and effectively shave a year off of their studies.

Another initiative is a new joint doctoral program aimed at increasing the workforce in the rapidly growing field of biomedical data science and informatics, a discipline that manages and innovates the use of health-related data that lead to more informed and efficient research, clinical care and health care management. In the joint program, students will take classes at both MUSC and Clemson, and diplomas will have each school’s seal.

“Clemson and MUSC each play vital roles in providing greater opportunities for top students in South Carolina and in improving the health outcomes in the state. These groundbreaking agreements address both issues,” said Clemson President James P. Clements. “Clemson is proud to be the first university in the state to partner with MUSC on so many accelerated degrees and a joint Ph.D. program that is on the leading edge of health care innovation and informatics.”

The new partnership between MUSC and Clemson sends a clear signal across the state and the country: These two universities are dedicated to building the economy and improving health care in South Carolina, and they are on the forefront of changes in health-related graduate-level degree programs taking place across the country.

“The Medical University of South Carolina is incredibly excited to launch this concept with Clemson, a longtime collaborator in our research and education mission,” said MUSC President David J. Cole, M.D. “I see the launch of these opportunities as part of a new paradigm for higher education in our state. Our hope is that this partnership and its projected benefits will establish a model for more collaborative endeavors that reduce students’ debt, energize our health care workforce and the knowledge-based economy, and improve access to health care for the citizens of South Carolina.”

The programs offered through this new partnership include:

  • Joint Ph.D. in Biomedical Data Science and Informatics
  • Accelerated Pathway to the Master of Science in Cardiovascular Perfusion
  • Accelerated Pathway to Medical School
  • Accelerated Pathway to Dental School
  • Accelerated Pathway to Master in Health Administration
  • Accelerated Pathway to the Doctor of Pharmacy
  • Accelerated Pathway to the Doctor of Physical Therapy
  • Accelerated Pathway to the Master of Public Health in
    • Biostatistics
    • Epidemiology
    • Health Behavior and Health Promotion

“Not only are these accelerated degree programs significantly reducing total student debt, which is a priority for all academic health science centers, but they also align perfectly with MUSC’s strategic pillar to foster innovative education,” said MUSC Provost Lisa Saladin. “This partnership represents just one example of how we are transforming education.”

Estimated time and cost savings for students in the accelerated pathway programs could be significant. In the Master of Public Health degree programs, Clemson students will take 12 credit hours as undergraduates that count toward their MUSC graduate degrees. The other accelerated pathway programs could shorten by a year a student’s time as an undergraduate, saving them thousands of dollars in tuition and living expenses and potentially reducing their student debt significantly.

“Some of the greatest challenges of our time are related to health care,” said Robert Jones, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Clemson. “South Carolina and the United States need more highly qualified health professionals to reduce obesity, reduce health care costs, increase access to care and discover the next generation of pharmaceuticals and other therapies.

“With these joint initiatives, students get the highest-quality education possible through two world-class universities. In the long run, everyone will benefit from this exciting collaboration,” Jones said.

Current Clemson students can apply and find more information about the accelerated pathways program at http://www.clemson.edu/academics/programs/musc/ and the joint Ph.D. program at https://www.cs.clemson.edu/bdsi/. Enrollment capacity, deadlines and admission processes may vary by program.

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