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UCF Offers New Research Administration Degree

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By Karen Guin

The University of Central Florida launches this week a new master's degree program in research administration that is among the first of its kind in the nation.

"UCF's program is the only one in the country to prepare students to administer grants in all disciplines of research that attract external funding," said Mary Ann Feldheim, chair of the Department of Public Administration. "The few other programs that exist focus on medical research."

Housing the program in her department is a natural fit, she added. The major components of public administration - administering and managing public services and programs - also apply to the administration of research programs in academic institutions and agencies.

Organizations such as the National Council of University Researchers have repeatedly identified a need for highly skilled, knowledgeable research administrators, shared Jo Smith, coordinator of the Master of Research Administration program and assistant professor of public administration.

"Our program is designed to give individuals already working in research administration a comprehensive understanding of the field's complexities," Smith said.

UCF designed the completely online program for working professionals in consultation with leading research administrators and researchers. Students can earn their degree in two years of part-time, year-round study.

Smith has accepted 21 students into the program. Ninety-five percent of them are currently working in research administration in areas such as proposal management, technology transfer and animal care. Most are employed by universities, including John Hopkins University, the University of Southern California and Auburn University. Others are employed by institutions, such as the National Institutes of Health and Florida Hospital.

"It should be a great cohort, with students contributing along with members of our national advisory board," Smith said. "It's a truly wonderful mix."

To learn more about UCF's new M.R.A. program, visit

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The health care informatics master's program at UCF really helped me connect with the industry, meet people at conferences and sit for the most-desired certification exams."
— Michael Neimann M.S. in health care informatics ('14)
My internship with the District 9 Medical Examiner’s Office was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I gained an excellent understanding of the medical examiner’s office and the criminal justice field in general."
— Adam Stubley B.S. in criminal justice, criminal profiling certificate ('11)
UCF provides its physical therapy students with an excellent education and prepares them to work in the most challenging of settings."
— Jamie Dyson Rehabilitation Supervisor, Orlando Regional Medical Center
UCF's program provided me the opportunity to expedite my student experience while attaining practical experience working within local health systems."
— Daniel Barr V.P. at National Children's Hospital; M.S. in health sciences, health services administration track ('04)
My master's education helped me see the big picture of the nonprofit industry. UCF showed me how to see the different fundraising tools within the Central Florida area."
— Krysti Griffith Executive Director of Growth from Grief; Master of Nonprofit Management ('12)
The course opened my eyes to grant writing ... I learned a great deal and you [Barbara Howell] are truly an excellent instructor."
— Deborah Reith Master of Public Administration student who secured a $10,000 federal grant through a course project; B.S. in criminal justice ('86)
The skills I learned during my time at UCF are what made my transition to law school so seamless."
— Jacqueline Iaquinta Touro Law Center student; B.S. in legal studies ('10)
As an inaugural graduate of the M.R.A. program at UCF, I can attest to the outstanding curriculum developed for research administrators. "
— April Heyward Post Award Services Coordinator, University of South Carolina; Master of Research Administration ('13)
It was at UCF that I first learned many of the skills that I’ve since honed, including mapping with GIS software - an ability I found invaluable to my search for internships, graduate-level coursework, and employment."
— Richard "Ben" Hagen Research and Communications Associate, New Economy Project, New York City; B.S. in public administration ('10)
I am excited to be able to give back to the program that invested so much in me. It is truly and honor and a privilege."
— Carlos Gual Instructor of Athletic Training; B.S. in athletic training ('09)
The faculty advisor [at my medical school] was amazed that I had the opportunity to truly participate in the full spectrum of research as an undergraduate. "
— Chase Cavayero, medical student at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicince, B.S. in health sciences - pre-clinical ('13) 
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