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    MSc PG Certificate PG Diploma
    2024 start September 

    Health and Clinical Research Delivery

    School of Medicine and Population Health, Faculty of Health

    Develop the skills and knowledge to deliver and lead on clinical research in your field. This online course is designed for healthcare practitioners and clinicians.
    Student nurse talking to a patient

    Course description

    This online programme offers a practical look into the world of health and clinical research for aspiring researchers and research leaders.

    The course is aimed at healthcare practitioners – such as doctors, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, healthcare scientists and allied health professionals – whether you are new to research or are already championing research in healthcare.

    You will learn to plan, analyse and evaluate clinical research, and reflect on the challenges, impact and ethical implications of existing research. Everything you study will be applied back to your field of expertise so you can leave the course with the confidence to lead your own clinical research. The course will prepare you for future roles as a Collaborator, Co-investigator or Principal Investigator (PI) within your organisation.

    Flexible study 

    The programme has been designed to be as flexible as possible, to fit around you and your work and life commitments. To succeed in the programme you will need to ensure that you can meet the following expectations:

    • You need to be confident that you have sufficient time to complete the coursework (approximately 20 hours per week).
    • You will be expected to observe or participate in practice-based research delivery activities during the working week (an average of approximately 3 hours per week).
    • You will need to identify someone who could act as your work-based supervisor for your Research Practice experience module.
    • You will need the support of your organisation and line manager to study the programme.
    • If you do not work in England, you need to be employed by an organisation where clinical research is delivered and have access to local research delivery training. 

    The online course structure means you will be able to benefit from high-quality teaching and support wherever you are, alongside your clinical practice.

    Applying for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

    You can apply to use previous study or experiential learning to count towards your Health & Clinical Research Delivery qualification.

    For more information on RPL read the University of Sheffield's Recognition of Prior Learning policy.

    To make an application you must complete the RPL application form and email it to population-health-clinres@sheffield.ac.uk.

    If you are applying for RPL based on experiential learning, you should refer to the HCRD RPL Guidance carefully to ensure that you include all of the relevant information. 

    You will also need to submit a Postgraduate Online Application Form to be considered for entry.  Approval of your RPL application does not guarantee you a place on the course.

    Clinical Research vs Health and Clinical Research Delivery

    We offer two different courses in the field of health research: the Masters in Clinical Research (MClinRes), delivered on campus, and the MSc in Health and Clinical Research Delivery, which is delivered remotely. If you're not sure which course to take, use the table below to help you. 

    Which course should I take?

    Consideration MClinRes (Campus) HCRD (online)
    I want to study part-time. Yes Yes
    I want to study full-time. Yes No
    I want to study remotely with maximum flexibility around my working commitments. No Yes
    I would like some in-person contact with tutors and other students. Yes No
    I want to be involved in delivering NIHR portfolio studies (recruiting to studies I did not design, engaging service users, and involvement in site set-up roles like R&D) Yes Yes
    I want to be a local principal investigator (responsible for study delivery) in my NHS trust, health or care organisation. Yes Yes
    I want to design my own research and lead national funding applications. Yes No
    I want to be a co-applicant on national research funding applications or lead local funding bids. Yes Yes
    I am interested in leading the embedding of research into my local NHS trust, health or care organisation and increasing its research activity. Yes Yes
    I am interested in becoming an independent academic/clinical academic and wish to pursue PhD study. Yes Yes
    I would like to follow a standardised masters programme. No Yes
    I would like to tailor my masters programme by selecting modules most relevant to my learning needs and research interests. Yes No
    I would like the opportunity to observe how research is delivered in practice through a placement No Yes

    Use the link below to view the MClinRes course:


    The PGDip and MSc qualifications are accredited by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC).

    This programme has been developed in line with the new NIHR-AoMR Clinician Researcher Credentials Framework. This framework was designed by both the NIHR and the AoMRC to bridge the research skills gap within the NHS and other healthcare services. We have also worked with partners in the healthcare sector to develop the course and tailor it to your needs.

    If you have a NIHR-AoMRC accredited PGCert qualification from the University of Exeter or the University of Newcastle, you can top this up to an accredited PGDip or MSc qualification at the University of Sheffield through Recognition of Previous Learning. The University of Sheffield PGCert qualification is not accredited, but it can also be topped up to an accredited PGDip or MSc qualification at this or another institution.


    Students with a PG Certificate (60 credits) from the University of Exeter or Newcastle University can transfer their 60 credits to the University of Sheffield to continue on our PG Diploma or MSc.

    Students completing the PG Certificate at the University of Sheffield will take the following core modules:

    Practical Aspects of Clinical Research

    This unit is intended to run alongside the clinical research portfolio that is a part of the Masters course for NIHR Academic Clinical Fellows. It is also offered as one of the Core Modules for UK and overseas students on the generic MSc in Clinical Research. The course covers many of the practical and regulatory issues associated with carrying out clinical or health related research within a variety of national and international settings including the NHS. Face-to-face and web- based learning packages cover a variety of issues around research planning, project management, research governance, ethical and legal frameworks for research, good clinical practice, patient and public involvement, cultural competence, and dissemination and impact. The module runs across both semesters and students need to register for the Autumn semester and then continue into the Spring semester. There is no option to start in Spring and continue to the following Autumn semester.

    30 credits
    Introduction to Research Methods Online

    This module, which is delivered via online learning, provides students with an introduction to quantitative and qualitative research methods and to the types of skills necessary for the planning, data gathering and dissemination stages of health-related research. Topics covered include: -Research Design; -Methods of Data Collection; -Approaches to Analysing Data and Writing a Research Proposal. The course provides a foundation for further learning in specific research methods. It is primarily designed for new students beginning Masters courses in the Division of Population Health and there is an emphasis on research techniques used in public health and health services research (HSR).

    15 credits
    Leading and Managing Health Services Online

    This module integrates the principles of managing health care services and leading on rapid changes and advances in regional, national and international contexts. Principles of health management will be demonstrated through case-based teaching, in order to enable students to understand how to solve common management problems. Cases will be used to illustrate the complexity of the operating environment for health systems and health services. Students will be supported in developing critical thinking about the relative effectiveness of different approaches to management by analysing their own health care services within a broader cultural, political and policy context.

    15 credits

    The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

    Open days

    An open day gives you the best opportunity to hear first-hand from our current students and staff about our courses.

    Find out what makes us special at our next online open day on Wednesday 17 April 2024.

    You may also be able to pre-book a department visit as part of a campus tour.Open days and campus tours


    MSc (with no RPL top-up): 3 years

    MSc (via RPL top-up): 2 years

    PGDip and PGCert: 1 year


    All of your teaching will take place online. You will learn through presentations, video and audio content, screencasts, tutorials, group work and independent study. There are optional live webinars that offer more opportunities to interact with your tutors and peers.


    You will be assessed through peer and tutor feedback on short videos, written assignments, essays and reports, a practice-based placement e-portfolio and, if you do the MSc programme, a dissertation.

    Your career

    As a graduate, you will be able to use the knowledge you have gained to introduce or develop clinical research in your current workplace, working as a Collaborator, Co-investigator or Principal Investigator (PI).

    Alternatively, you may wish to progress your career within a research-intensive healthcare environment or in clinical academic research – for example, as a research nurse, clinical trial coordinator or data analyst. The course is also great preparation for a PhD or research fellowship.

    Entry requirements

    Minimum 2:1 undergraduate honours degree in a clinical subject or equivalent qualification or an equivalent professional qualification or relevant work experience.

    All applicants must complete the Health and Clinical Research Practice Experience form and submit this in the supporting documents section of their application.

    Download the Health and Clinical Research Practice Experience form (Word doc, 15KB)

    We also consider a wide range of international qualifications:

    Entry requirements for international students

    IELTS 6.5 (with no less than 6.0 in each component).

    If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.

    Fees and funding

    MSc fee per year

    PG Diploma fee per year

    Health and Clinical Research Delivery (HCRD) Postgraduate Diploma Bursary

    We hope to have a number of Health and Clinical Research Delivery (HCRD) Postgraduate Diploma bursaries available. These will cover tuition fees, funded by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). For availability, check the eligibility page below.

    See if you're eligible for an HCRD PGDip Bursary

    PG Certificate fee


    You can apply now using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.

    Apply now


    +44 114 222 5454

    Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

    Our student protection plan

    Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.