Clinical Research MSc

Clinical Research MSc

School of Sport and Health Sciences


Post- graduate





Contact UCLan

Course Enquiries
University of Central Lancashire
Preston, PR1 2HE, UK.

Tel: +44 (0)1772 892400

  • Duration:

    Full-time: one year; Part-time: two years (can be studied between 2 and 5 years)

  • Level:


  • Mode:


  • Delivery:

    Campus, Full-time and Part-time

  • Campus:


  • Start Date:


  • Award Type:


Why study this programme?

Our MSc Clinical Research course is the only MClinRes available in the UK North West Coast and the only campus-based programme in the North West of England. Designed to equip health and social care practitioners with the skills to design and lead high quality clinical research, you’ll be taught by a team of internationally renowned researchers with over 15 years’ experience of successful delivery of Masters in Research programmes. Join a vibrant community of clinicians at different stages on the NIHR funded clinical academic pathway - interns, doctoral and postdoctoral students and career development fellows. Including clinical research experience, you’ll experience supported development and implementation of a strategy for developing an application for an NIHR Doctoral Training Fellowship.



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Entry Requirements

Entry criteria:

  • An Honours first degree (normally 2.1 or above) in a relevant subject from an approved HEI;
  • GCSE grade ‘C’ or equivalent in Mathematics;
  • International English Language Testing System grade 7 or above with no sub-score lower than 6.5 (if applicable).

Desirable characteristics include the ability to:

  • Demonstrate engagement with research;
  • Demonstrate commitment to using research evidence to improve clinical practice; 
  • Articulate the anticipated benefit to their future career from completing this Masters programme.

Applicants will be considered on a case by case basis and will be interviewed by a panel including senior researchers, senior clinicians, NHS Managers and Patient, Public and Carer representatives to determine their suitability for the course and (if applicable) NIHR CLAHRC NWC funding.

Programme at a Glance

Full-time, 12 months

Semester 1

  • Introduction to postgraduate research
  • Statistics for health
  • Design and interpretation of clinical trials
  • Optional module

Semester 2

  • Advanced research methods
  • Optional module
  • Dissertation

Semester 3

  • Dissertation (continued)

Part-time, 2 years

Year 1

Semester 1

  • Introduction to postgraduate research
  • Statistics for health

Semester 2 and 3

  • Design and interpretation of clinical trials
  • Advanced research methods
  • Optional module

Year 2

Semester 1

  • Optional module

Semester 2 and 3

  • Dissertation

*Can be studied between 2 and 5 years

Optional Modules

  • Improving clinical care through implementation science
  • Principles and methods of systematic review to inform clinical practice
  • Writing and presentation skills
  • Research, ethics and governance
  • Epidemiology
  • Service user engagement
  • Professional development for research leadership

Further Information

Course Highlights

Course Highlights

  • Teaching by internationally renowned researchers and clinical academics.
  • Learning through sharing and critically reflecting on examples from ongoing “real world” research in the School.
  • Integral clinical research experience.
  • Developing networks through national and international negotiated learning contracts.
  • Supported development and implementation of a strategy for developing an application for an NIHR Doctoral Training Fellowship.
  • Joining a vibrant community of clinicians at different stages on the NIHR funded clinical academic pathway - interns, doctoral and postdoctoral students and career development fellows.


A unique feature of this MSc will be our commitment to extending your networks beyond your existing local and national links. Successful research careers are founded on sound networks and well-established working relationships: you will build these foundations and establish a presence within the global community. Across the contributing Schools, our staff have diverse and extensive clinical-research links in many different countries. Links include undertaking collaborative research projects, editorial work on international journals, social media networking and lobbying for changes in policy. We will share these links and support you in developing your own networks.

We will do this through the use of negotiated learning contracts:

  1. National focus: Every student will be required to gain insight and experience via engagement (approximately 8 hours in total) with a different setting. This will add depth and breadth of understanding of their own proposed area of research. This could involve a visit to a different clinical setting to examine practice or a visit to a setting within the University with opportunities for learning (e.g. the gait analysis laboratory).

  2. International focus: Each student will be expected to make appropriate international links. Level of engagement could range from observer status through to full engagement. For example, students could join an international research planning/steering group meeting. Other options could involve engaging in international editorial board meetings.

You will be encouraged to take full advantage of all the opportunities provided within our thriving postgraduate research community.

The School hosts frequent research seminars, including presentations from international experts as part of our Distinguished Visitor Programme. We host regular national and international conferences, both discipline specific (eg normal childbirth) and methodological (eg Health Research with Real Impact). You will be supported to present at these alongside national and international speakers.

Our Health Research Methodology and Implementation Hub (HeRMI) aims to develop research methodology and capacity across eight ‘spokes’ (including systematic review, clinical trials and health economics). You will be encouraged to join one or more ‘spokes’ and engage in relevant methodological activities.

How to Apply

Please complete the course-specific application form available from:  or

Any Questions

If you would like to discuss the entry requirements or ask any questions about the course, please contact the
Course Leader, Dr Lois Thomas on or +44 (0)1772 893643.


For detailed information about studying this course at UCLan, please see the course handbook for your year of entry:

For information on possible changes to course information, see our Important Information.


Apply now or see further information about postgraduate study and research. International students should visit our international pages.

Contact Us

Tel: +44 (0)1772 892400


Fees 2020/21

Full-time: £6,900 per year (UK/EU)
Part-time: £765 per 20 credits

A limited number of bursaries (part fees) will be available to applicants from the NIHR CLAHRC NWC partner organisations. Funding may also be available through the NHS CPD contract (Service Level Agreement).

Further information:

For 2019/20 fees please refer to our fees page.

UK Government Postgraduate Loans Scheme

If you're thinking of studying a master's or doctoral degree you could be eligible for a loan from the Government to help you study.

For additional help with financing your studies, UCLan offers a range of Postgraduate scholarships, studentships, bursaries and the Alumni loyalty discount.

View further information

DBS Checks

This course will involve you working with vulnerable groups of individuals, including children. In order to ensure that the University offers places on their programmes to suitable candidates you will all be required to obtain a satisfactory Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service clearance (formerly termed CRB). We will be able to guide you through this process once you have been offered a conditional place of study at the University of Central Lancashire.

It is important to note that should your Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check prove to be unsatisfactory for the purpose of the course you have applied to, your offer of a place for that course may be withdrawn. If you have already enrolled on a course and your DBS check subsequently discloses a criminal conviction, you may be required to withdraw from the course even if you have already started. If you are aware that your DBS check will disclose a previous conviction, please contact the course leader for advice as not all convictions may preclude you from continuing with the course.

Learning Environment and Assessment

Modes of assessment have been carefully designed to facilitate transferable skills including those identified in Vitae ( and the Researcher Development Framework (RDF), for example academic literacy and numeracy.



You’ll be allocated a clinical mentor within your organisation and will undertake a programme of clinical research work for one day per week (full-time students) or half a day per week (part-time students). You will be encouraged to research a topic relevant to your organisation’s research agenda for the dissertation component of the course, providing a springboard for conducting further research within your organisation post-qualification.


You will be supported to develop and implement a strategy for developing your application for an NIHR Doctoral Training Fellowship in line with the HEE (2014) mandate objective of “developing a workforce skilled for research and innovation”. This will include networking widely with relevant local, national and international experts in your topic to refine your ideas and relevant methodological development.

Core modules are designed to develop and assess your ability to develop research bids suitable for submission to a funding body. Practical experience of this process will give you the skills and confidence to engage with the HEE/NIHR Doctoral Research Fellowship Scheme.

One option on the dissertation module will be the production of an application for an NIHR Doctoral Research Fellowship. By choosing this option you will have a ready-made application to progress to the next stage of the ICA programme career pathway.