TRM4001 - Introduction to clinical trials - 2018

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Organisational Unit

Central Clinical School

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Steven Petratos


Dr Steven Petratos

Unit guides


Alfred Hospital

  • First semester 2018 (On-campus block of classes)

Monash Medical Centre

  • Second semester 2018 (On-campus block of classes)




Successful clinical research is conducted under the guise of a well-constructed study question that is feasible, interesting, novel, ethical and relevant. A study design must be conceived with appropriate measures of clinical observation and intervention. This unit will establish a fundamental knowledge in drug development, conducting Clinical Trial studies, designing a good protocol, international conference on harmonisation good clinical practice (ICH-GCP) and delegation of responsibility and co-ordination. The unit provides instruction in the development of a clinical research question and creating a concise protocol that includes literature review, study design, subject sampling and recruitment, instruments and other measurement approaches, sample size, consent form, budget and timetable. The aim of the unit is to introduce students to the processes and regulations involved in developing a therapeutic through to clinical trials. Students completing this unit should be able to construct a testable clinical research question and design a protocol that is ethical, well controlled and statistically powerful. Students should also be able to identify the roles of the sponsor, the investigator, the institutional review board/ independent ethics committee and the local regulators.


Upon successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. Design a clinically relevant question and set of experiments.
  2. Outline Good Clinical Practice as followed by the international Conference on Harmonisation.
  3. Identify and describe the key steps in conducting a Clinical Trial including different types of human research and protocols that can be implemented.
  4. Identify and describe the key steps in the drug discovery process including identification of drug targets, Australian regulatory requirements, manufacture, development of a safety profile, clinical development and marketing.
  5. Outline how to manage regulatory documents.
  6. Outline the role of the Sponsor, the investigator, the institutional review board/ independent ethics committee and the local regulators.


  • Invigilated online quizzes (9 x 5% = 45%)
  • Essay 1 (1,500 words) (25%)
  • Capstone project (20%)
  • Online test (10%)

Workload requirements

On-campus: Approximately 35 hours of face-to-face workshops delivered by ARCS Australia Pty Ltd and 35 hours of the preparation of a Capstone Project on Clinical Trial Design. The remaining 74 hours (Approximately 6 hours per week over a 12 week period) is made up of private study time completing online exercises (9 in-total), 2 major assignments (including a capstone project on Clinical Trial Design) and an end of semester online test.

See also Unit timetable information

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study