MSc in Clinical Research (Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions)

A student in Regent Court

Start date: September 2014
Duration and mode of study: One year full-time; 2 years part-time
Closing Date for applications: Wednesday 26th March 2014

**Registered pharmacists are now eligible to apply for NIHR bursaries**

Why study the MSc in Clinical Research?

The MSc in Clinical Research is one of seven courses in the UK recognised by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and the Chief Nursing Officer for England to deliver the Clinical Academic Training Pathway for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals. The courses are intended for practitioners who wish to develop a research career while at the same time progressing their clinical career. More information on the scheme is available on the NIHR website.

The programme provides high quality education and training in the range of analytical techniques and practical skills required to plan and undertake clinical, health services or biomedical research. It is based on proven teaching units developed in the School of Health and Related Research, combined with a clinical research practice unit comprising a placement and generic research training, delivered by the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

This Masters course provides a firm grounding in the range of skills and disciplines that are essential to good clinical research, including study design, statistics and randomised trials methodology. A range of options is also available including qualitative analysis, economic evaluation and systematic reviews.

The course is co-ordinated and taught by tutors with an established track record of clinical and health-related research, and mentors based in clinical research teams, clinical research facilities and biomedical research units in the local NHS hospital Trust.

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

Support after graduation

To support NIHR bursary students after graduation students will be given the opportunity to attend study days in ScHARR after graduation. The study days will be free of charge for NIHR graduates and will occur in the autumn and spring each year. The focus of the study days will be on developing your research career and will include topics such as writing or publication, applying for funding and applying PhDs.

Who Should Apply?

The MSc in Clinical Research is suitable for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals on the relevant UK professional register who have at least one year´s experience of clinical practice since graduating and are currently employed by the NHS or other Health Care organisation commissioned to provide services by the NHS.

NIHR bursaries are available per year to eligible nurses, midwives and allied health professionals who work in England ( see the NIHR website for details of eligibility). The funding will pay full course fees, full salary replacement costs to employers. In order to be considered for a bursary, applicants must demonstrate excellent potential to contribute to the future development of high quality clinical research in the NHS after completion of the course. They must also have the written support of their employer to be seconded to undertake the course.

Application Process

In addition to completing the on-line application form ( applicants should submit the following information in electronic format:

  • Evidence of current professional registration with the appropriate body
  • A letter of support from a line manager confirming study leave to undertake the programme, subject to a bursary being awarded
  • An outline proposal for a small scale research study on a topic of relevance to the applicant's professional role.  (Maximum word length - two pages)

In addition, candidates who do not hold a relevant honours degree (first class or 2.1) should submit a short essay in which they critique a published research article of their choice and discuss its relevance to their practice. (Maximum word length 1500 words)

Shortlisted applicants will be invited for interview in April 2014.

Course outline Aims and objectives
The programme has been designed to enable developmental understanding of the research process, and progressive gain of the skills required to perform successfully as an independent clinical researcher.

The core units (3 x 15 credits) impart the fundamentals of the research process, and introduce the main building blocks in clinical research: study design, statistics, and clinical trials methodology.

The optional units (3 x 15 credits) build on these foundations, enabling students to focus on a specific area of interest. Options include qualitative methods, economic evaluation, systematic reviews, epidemiology, using secondary data and evidence-based practice.

The clinical research practice unit (30 credits) links practical experiences of research with generic skills training, and provides opportunities for students to identify a topic for their own research during the dissertation.

The dissertation (60 credits)provides the final step towards gaining the knowledge and practical skills to become an independent researcher. Students will develop a professional development plan to support their future research career.

The MSc in Clinical Research aims to provide students with in-depth understanding of the process and techniques of clinical research, and provide the skills to undertake high quality independent research in a clinical setting.

Specifically it 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;.
  • Give students experience of working as part of a team in clinical and biomedical research settings.


Assessment is by means of a range of written assignments and formal examination, including essays, short answers and more structured assessments.

Contact details
Clinical Research Administrator
Teaching Support Unit
ScHARR Regent Court
30 Regent Street
Sheffield, S1 4DA
Tel: +44 (0) 114 2225454
Course Director
Professor Kate Gerrish
Professor of Nursing
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
2nd Floor
11 Broomfield Road
S10 2SE