MSc in Clinical Research

Who is it for?

The MSc in Clinical Research has been designed, in consultation with NHS Partners, to meet the needs of practitioners and staff working in the NHS to ensure its relevance and value to NHS health professionals. The programme builds on the introduction to clinical research in the Postgraduate Certificate in Clinical Research, developing and undertaking applied clinical research within an NHS organisational context. The MSc is aimed at a range of healthcare professionals including NHS staff with interests in research (e.g. R&D staff), doctors undertaking specialty training programmes or academic attachments (F1/F2 training) in NHS Trusts, senior medical trainees (Registrars), consultants or GPs who wish to develop career roles as research leaders, nurses and allied health professionals.

What are the aims and strengths of the course?

  • To understand the complete cycle of clinical research, from identifying research questions, and designing and managing research studies, through to translating research findings into professional practice.
  • To equip health professionals to lead the development, delivery and translation of clinical research, supporting the processes of discovery and innovation at an organisational level.
  • The programme draws upon the breadth of interdisciplinary research skills and internationally-recognised research expertise housed within the Faculty of Health and Medicine, complemented by specialist knowledge and practical experience from NHS Partner organisations and research networks.

Successful completion of the course will enable professionals to:

  • Contribute to organisational development of NHS infrastructural research capability.
  • Contribute to the translation of research knowledge and skills to inform and develop the quality of evidence-based professional practice.
  • Lead research projects, innovations and new developments in order to advance local and national evidence-based clinical research practice.

Course Details

The overall programme comprises seven modules as follows:

Year1 (60 credits)

See Postgraduate Certificate in Clinical Research - 3 modules

Year 2 (60 credits)

Module 4 - Analysing Qualitative and Quantitative Data (20 credits)

Introduction to qualitative data and practical data management and analysis workshop.

  • theory and concepts
  • data exploration, management and analysis
  • reporting qualitative research findings

Introduction to principles and practice of quantitative data analysis through SPSS.

  • basic statistical concepts
  • data management
  • group tests and measures of association
  • applied SPSS-based workshops

Module 5 - Principles of Evidence-Based Practice (20 credits)

Develops critical appraisal and evaluation of skills across a range of key research designs.

  • concepts and definitions of evidence-based practice
  • explores key clinical research designs
  • understanding a range of critical appraisal tools
  • critical evaluation of recently published research studies

Module 6 - Literature Review (20 credits)

Develops applied skills in the construction and rationalisation of an evidence-based research question

  • exploring literature sources and formulating a search strategy
  • understanding literature reviews
  • synthesising evidence
  • rationalisation of a scientifically valid research question

Year 3 (60 credits)

Module 7 - Practice-based dissertation

Design, undertake and report a research project in a professional setting.

  • develop a research proposal
  • plan study management and governance
  • undertake data collection
  • interpret and contextualise research findings

Teaching modes and Qualifications

The course is delivered through blended learning with 9 face to face contact days over the first year and the remainder undertaken through distance learning. The scheme is modular, with a tiered-exit design providing Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma awards as appropriate for participants who do not complete all modules for the MSc.

During the MSc you will gain key research knowledge and skills, transferred into practical topics applied within your own professional environment, culminating in a twelve month research project, designed, delivered and submitted as a dissertation. This will prepare you for original work in your professional career and advanced level clinical research positions with the NHS, government, industry and healthcare organisations.


Assessment across the programme is varied incorporating research proposals and case reports, but there are no exams.

Entry requirements

Students are expected to have a first degree in a relevant discipline, but students with non-standard qualification will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. For all our courses we ask you to complete an application form. In addition, for our postgraduate courses we ask for a 500 word statement and recommendation from your line manager. Depending on your qualifications, we may ask you to undertake a pre-entry assessment.

If English is not your first language an overall IELTS score of at least 6.5 is required (minimum element scores apply). Alternative qualifications are accepted.


UK/EU: £6,750
Overseas: £13,520

For information on financial assistance to support your learning, please visit or contact 0800 100 900.

Course Dates

Nov 2014.

Further Information

For further information, please contact Dr Sally Spencer at

How to Apply?

Our aim is to make the application process as simple and efficient as possible for you. With this in mind, we would encourage you to apply online.


Contact LMS

Lancaster Medical School
Furness College
Lancaster University
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1524 594547

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