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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 part-time 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 clinical research in practice. 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, and with support from your employer, can fit around your work and life commitments. You will study part-time and online, with most of your study being asynchronous (not scheduled for a specific time or date). This allows you to work through online material at a time and pace that is convenient for you. The online course structure means you will benefit from high-quality teaching and support wherever you are, alongside your clinical practice.

    Our course also allows you to be flexible with the time you spend studying with us. You can choose to study for one year to obtain a PG Certificate; two years to obtain a PG Diploma or stay for the full three years to obtain a full masters qualification. If you start on one route and decide you want to shorten or lengthen your study time this can also be supported. 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 must be employed by an organisation where clinical research is delivered and have access to local research delivery training. 

    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: this MSc in Health and Clinical Research Delivery (HCRD), which is delivered remotely and a Masters in Clinical Research (MClinRes), delivered on campus. 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 Masters in Clinical Research (MClinRes) course:


    All our HCRD 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-AoMRC 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 worked with partner organisations from the healthcare sector to develop the course and tailor it to your needs.


    A selection of modules is available each year - some examples are below. There may be changes before you start your course. From May of the year of entry, formal programme regulations will be available in our Programme Regulations Finder.

    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 and 'top up' their qualification on our PG Diploma or MSc through Recognition of Previous Learning.

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

    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
    Research Practice Experience 1

    The module aims to enable students to develop and utilise their skills and knowledge of the research process and networked research to learn experientially through direct involvement in one or several research studies. At the start and end of the module students will undertake a Training Needs Analysis (TNA). During the module students will develop a comprehensive e-portfolio of evidence (1,500 words or equivalent) which will allow them to demonstrate proficiency in a range of practice based core research leadership skills and knowledge.  For this module, students will work alongside an experienced clinical/ practice based supervisor who is currently leading or involved in a research study in a field of practice of interest to the student.  In addition they will be allocated an academic supervisor who will contribute to the supervision process. Students will meet with their supervisory team regularly throughout the module to review, develop and assess learning and development. Students will receive additional formative feedback within regular tutorial meetings with the module lead, peer review activities and group discussions. The module will be delivered using a mix of online videos, audio podcasts, written materials, and online discussion, which students can complete in their own time during the module. It will be undertaken over the spring semester and will be delivered via The University of Sheffield's online teaching platform. 

    15 credits
    Doing Health and Clinical Research Well

    This module will cover 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. 

    This will include consideration of research planning, project management, research governance, patient recruitment and retention, ethical and legal frameworks for research, good clinical practice, patient and public involvement, cultural competence, delivery of the project and dissemination and impact. 

    The module will be delivered using a mix of synchronous online tutorials (recorded for asynchronous availability), online videos, online written materials and associated tasks, and online ('text chat') discussion, which students can complete in their own time during the module.

    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.

    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 (with no RPL top-up): 2 years

    PGDip (via RPL top-up): 1 year

    PGCert: 1 year


    Extensive support is available for students returning to academia after a break from formal study. You will get help with study techniques, academic writing, time management and other essential skills for success.

    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 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.

    Student profiles

    Arvin's Postgraduate Journey

    Arvin Fernando talks about his experience on the course.

    Entry requirements

    Minimum 2:1 undergraduate honours degree in a clinical subject or equivalent qualification or an equivalent professional qualification or relevant work experience. If you have a lower degree classification or a degree in an unrelated subject, your application may be considered if you can demonstrate significant relevant work experience, or offer a related graduate qualification.

    If you have any questions about entry requirements or the course in general, contact the department.

    Alternatively, you can book an online one-to-one chat with Claire Beecroft, the deputy program lead, by clicking the link below.

    Book a chat with Deputy Programme Director Claire Beecroft

    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

    Health and Clinical Research Delivery (HCRD) Bursaries

    The application form for Regulated Health and Care Professionals* bursaries is now live. You need to hold an offer of a place on one of the courses to apply for a bursary.

    Apply for a Regulated Health and Care Professionals bursary

    Get more guidance on the eligibility criteria and how to complete the application form.

    The deadline for bursary applications is 11.59am BST on 1 August 2024.

    *The adopted definition of regulated health and care professionals are those regulated healthcare professionals, excluding doctors and dentists, who are currently registered with one of the national regulatory bodies, including the Nursing and Midwifery Council, Health and Care Professions Council, General Dental Council, General Medical Council, General Optical Council, General Osteopathic Council, General Chiropractic Council, General Pharmaceutical Council, and the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland.

    Regulated Health and Care Professionals can apply for one to three years of funding to complete a Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or Master’s Degree starting in the academic year 2024/25. Funding cannot be deferred to a future academic year and funding for any subsequent years will be conditional upon meeting the requirements to complete the next stage. No funding will be available to retake any component of the course.

    MSc fee per year

    PG Diploma fee per year


    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.