Clinical Research


Banner image - researching with laptops

This masters programme is designed to equip graduates with the knowledge and skills to pursue a career in clinical research. It is well suited to healthcare professionals with an interest in clinical research.

Information on this page relates to the full time version of the masters programme.

You can also study the programme part time. Contact us for more information.

An alternative route is available for Academic Clinical Fellows in Medicine and Dentistry.

About the course

Key information
Programme starts September 2020
  • Intro week: 21- 25 September
  • Teaching starts: 28 September
Modes and duration
  • The course is taught face-to-face.
  • Full time: 1 year
  • Part time: PG certificate only 1 year
  • Check the current programme fee on our fee calculator.
  • Fees are charged pro-rata for postgraduate diploma and postgraduate certificate.
    Part-time programme fees are normally the equivalent of the full-time fee, split over the first two years of study. A charge may be made for inflation in the second year. Contact us for more details.
Entry requirements - standard route
  • 2:1 honours degree
  • English language requirements: IELTS minimum of 6.5 overall with minimum 6.0 in each component (or equivalent)
Entry requirements - NIHR route for Academic Clinical Fellows in Medicine and Dentistry
  • Applications are only accepted from doctors and dental practitioners enrolled as Academic Clinical Fellows in the local NHS Deanery.
Taking modules via the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) route
  • It is possible to complete standalone Clinical Research modules via our Continuing Professional Development programme, and then apply to transfer to one of our Clinical Research qualifications. Any time spent on the CPD route counts toward the time-limit a student has to complete their chosen qualification. Please contact the CPD administrator ( for further information.
Disabled applicants

The MSc in Clinical Research aims to provide students with an in-depth understanding of the processes and techniques involved in clinical research. In addition this MSc will equip students with the required skills to undertake high quality, independent research in a clinical setting.

This course specifically aims to:

  • Equip students with the knowledge and skills required to initiate and complete high quality, methodologically sound and ethical clinical research;
  • Enable students to review and critically appraise the methods and results of existing research, and understand the implications for clinical practice.
Course structure

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.

Details below refer to the 2019/20 full time Masters programme.

Core modules - compulsory

Code Title Semester Credits
HAR6030 Introduction to Research Methods Semester One (Autumn) 15
HAR6035 Introduction to Statistics and Critical Appraisal Semester One (Autumn) 15
HAR674 Randomised Controlled Trials Semester Two (Spring) 15
Practical Aspects of Clinical Research Semester One and Semester Two (Autumn and Spring) 30
Dissertation Year long (Sept-Sept) 60

Optional modules - choose a total of 45 credits

Code Title Semester Credits
HAR6041 Health Needs Assessment, Planning and Evaluation Semester One (Autumn) 15
HAR6064 Knowledge Mobilisation in Healthcare Semester One (Autumn) 15
HAR619 Epidemiology Semester One (Autumn) 15

Systematic Review and Critical Appraisal

Students who choose this module can not also choose HAR6029

Semester Two (Spring) 15
HAR6029 Systematically Reviewing the Research Literature (online) Semester One (Autumn) 15
HAR6531 Qualitative Research Design and Analysis Semester Two (Spring) 15
HAR655 Public Health Informatics Semester Two (Spring) 15
HAR687 Economic Evaluation and Healthcare Financing
Semester Two (Spring) 15

Further Statistics for Health Science Researchers

Students must pass HAR6035 before taking this module

Semester Two (Spring) 15

Evaluation Methods for Complex Settings

**Module will not run in Spring 2019**

Not Available  15
HAR6016 Sociology of Health and Illness
Semester Two (Spring) 15
HAR680 Contemporary Health Psychology and Behaviour Change Semester Two (Spring) 15

Course team

This course is taught by senior staff, all of whom are actively engaged in clinical research and teaching. The academic, teaching, technical and administrative support is provided by University of Sheffield members of staff together with contributions, where appropriate, from other experts in particular fields.

The main contacts for this course are:

Core Staff

Liz Croot (Course director and Practical Aspects of Clinical Research Module leader)

I am the course director for the MSc in Clinical Research and am module leader for 'Practical Aspects of Clinical Research'. I joined the School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR) at the University of Sheffield as a research fellow in 2001 and completed a qualitative PhD about the experiences of Pakistani parents living in Sheffield and caring for children with high support needs in 2005. This was funded by an NHS Executive (Trent) Health Services Research Training Fellowship. Prior to this I worked as a paediatric physiotherapist specialising in work with children with learning disabilities for 12 years. During this time I worked in a number of different countries including Bangladesh and the USA.

I am currently leading a study funded by the South Yorkshire Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC-SY) exploring factors that patients consider to be associated with successful secondary prevention of stroke.

More information

Sally Ohlsen (Introduction to Research Methods Acting Module Lead)

Cindy Cooper (Module leader Randomised Controlled Trials)

I am currently Director of the Clinical Trials Research Unit (CTRU) at ScHARR. After graduating in Pharmacology and Physiology from the University of Manchester and completing my PhD in neuropharmacology at the University of Nottingham, I worked at Sheffield and West Yorkshire Health Authorities in clinical audit and health needs assessment. I joined ScHARR in 1996 to establish the North Trent Research Office, to provide support to local NHS organisations in developing research strategy and obtaining research funding. The remit of the CTRU is to support the design and implementation of clinical trials of complex health interventions. I am also Chair of the Yorkshire & Humber Regional Funding Committee for Research for Patient Benefit.
I am based in the Design, Trials & Statistics Section.
More information

Sarah Crede

I joined ScHARR in September 2013 working as a University Teacher in Health Services research. I am the course tutor for the MSc Clinical Research and am involved in the teaching of the Introduction to Statistics module. I have a background in Epidemiology and physiotherapy and have worked clinically in South Africa and in the UK. I have been involved in various research projects in South Africa and Africa which have covered various areas of interest namely: women's health, foetal alcohol syndrome and the impact healthcare technologies have on low-resource settings. Prior to joining ScHARR I was the research manager for a non-profit organization based in Cape Town.

Nasrin Nasr

I am a physiotherapist by background. I was awarded my PhD in patient-reported outcome measures from Sheffield Hallam University in 2007. I joined the Centre for Health and Social Care Research at Hallam University in 2008 and seconded to the ScHARR in 2009. I started a substantive position as research associate in the ScHARR and within the Rehabilitation and Assistive Technology group in January 2012.

More information

Steven Ariss

I have a BA in Sociology, a PhD in Health Studies from the University of York and a PgCert in Learning and Teaching. I previously coordinated an NHS Research Network for Older People´s Mental Health and came to ScHARR from the Bradford Dementia Group (University of Bradford) in January 2009.

I am a health services researcher with an interest in qualitative, quantitative and mixed-methods, and complex programme evaluation (including Realist and Developmental Evaluation). I was the Lead Evaluator for the CLAHRC-South Yorkshire programme and am leading the evaluation of new technologies in the combined Yorkshire and Humber CLAHRC. I also have a diverse ongoing programme of research, development, evaluation and service redesign in the use of technology for healthcare, including automated data collection, electronic care records and online dashboard development. I also have an interest in using Patient Reported Experience Measures (PREMS) for service improvement, and carry out qualitative data analysis for the National Audit for Intermediate Care.

More information

Administrative support

Current students can contact the course administrator at

External Examiner

The external examiner for the course is Doctor Mary Halter, Senior Research Fellow, at the Kingston University & St. Georges', University of London.

How the course is taught

The MSc can be studied full time over 1 year or part time over 2 years for the National Institute Health Research (NIHR) routes and for the standard route the course can be completed in 2-5 years.

To complete the MSc clinical research a total of 180 credits need to be achieved. 135 of these credits are made up of core modules and the final dissertation. The remaining 45 credits can be chosen from optional modules to suit the clinical research needs of the individual student.

Depending on the course route taken the core and optional modules available differ slightly. See the individual routes for details.

The MSc Clinical Research is a taught degree, written by leaders in the field of clinical research in the School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR). Each module will provide opportunities for students to work with staff from ScHARR and as a student group.

Materials will be delivered in a variety of formats which are designed to enhance the learning experience. These include formal lectures, tutorials, small group discussions, online screencasts, videos and podcasts, alongside guided reading and case studies. Some of the modules are available in a distance learning format and all of them are supplemented by online material.

We recommend that students on this course spend approximately 150 hours of study, over the course of the semester, for each 15 credit module. This is equivalent to about 1.5 days study time per week and includes lectures, tutorials, self-study and assessments.

You will use the University's My Online Learning Environment (MOLE) in addition to your face-to-face teaching. MOLE enables you to access all of the course materials, to interact and collaborate with fellow students and tutors outside of the class room setting and to complete and submit formative and summative exercises and assessments.

Our campus and how we use it

We timetable teaching across the whole of our campus, the details of which can be found on our campus map. Teaching may take place in a student’s home department, but may also be timetabled to take place within other departments or central teaching space.

Why study at ScHARR?

ScHARR was confirmed as the most powerful UK university department for health services research and health technology assessment in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise. The School has the largest concentration of world-class and international researchers, above other leading universities such as the London School of Hygiene, York and Manchester. Within ScHARR you will be taught by some of the world's leading scholars in these fields, and benefit from an environment in which teaching and research go hand-in-hand.

The course is co-ordinated and taught by module leaders and tutors with an established track record in health-related research, and mentors based in clinical research teams and clinical research facilities. ScHARR's MSc in Clinical Research features core and optional modules that cover a wide range of relevant topics from which the student can choose the most appropriate for their specific needs.

During the taught component, students will study alongside those taking a range of other health research programmes. This enables students to benefit from a range of options, and enhance their experiences by participation in a large multi-disciplinary student body.

Your career

Career opportunities

Our students are seeking to develop key skills to enhance their careers within clinical research, both in the UK and globally and typically already work in the following areas:

  • Nurses, midwives and allied health professionals working in the NHS and other healthcare settings
  • Academic clinical fellows in Medicine and Dentistry
  • Non-health professionals who wish to work in healthcare

Our students typically go on to work in the following areas:

  • Research positions in the NHS and other healthcare settings
  • Higher research training – PhD
  • PhD fellowships through NIHR

Who will benefit from studying this course?

This MSc is suited to all those working, or aspiring to work, in the field of clinical research nationally or internationally, whether for the National Health Service, or an equivalent public or private organisation.

For those aspiring to work in the field, the course will provide the comprehensive training needed to gain a position on a clinical research team, to undertake independent clinical research and to critically evaluate clinical research undertaken by others and its clinical implications.

Student testimonials

image of natalie jonesThe masters in clinical research has been a golden standard experience. The course brings together health professionals from a variety of backgrounds with an interest in research, it provides rich opportunities for shared learning and and builds links with health research teams based in ScHARR. The teaching staff provide an environment for debate, challenge and inspiration to develop research ideas for your dissertation. Being a student in ScHARR you feel part of the team and have opportunities to contribute to innovative health related research.

Natalie Jones (Clinical Research graduate)

image of mark jayesThe MClinRes provided a springboard for me to pursue a career in clinical research. I received excellent training in a range of research methods, a great introduction to local and national research infrastructure and a brilliant opportunity to carry out my own original research project which has since been published. Completing the MClinRes was instrumental to my securing a secondment to the NIHR CLAHRC to gain more skills and experience and definitely helped me when I successfully applied for an NIHR / HEE Clinical Doctoral Research fellowship to complete my PhD.

Mark Jayes (Clinical Research graduate)

Graduate destinations

(3 years, all ScHARR courses, response rate 58.5%) data available in full at
(choose MSc/Clinical Research in the course dropdown menu)

NHS (LBR) Funding Opportunities

Contact us


t: +44 (0)114 222 5454