Making your HSST application


Register on Oriel, the online application portal

You can register on Oriel as soon as you wish but you will not be able to apply until the application window for the vacancy opens. Click this link to view the date and time of the application window.

Once on the Oriel website click on ‘Account Registration’ and create your user account. Next click on ‘Proceed to Applicant Registration’ and complete the remaining details to create your account. The information you provide will be used to auto populate some parts of the application.

We use direct messaging in Oriel to contact you about applications in progress. Make sure you check your Oriel account on a regular basis to stay informed. We may also use the email address supplied to us, but your main source of information will be via Oriel.

When using Oriel do not have the programme open in more than one tab within a single browser. Doing so will cause accidental data changes to be made when a save occurs in one of the tabs. We recommend that you access Oriel using Google Chrome or you can check the browser requirements below.

Minimum browser requirements for Oriel
Browser Version
Blackberry >=6
Apple Safari >=7
Google Chrome >=30
Microsoft Internet Explorer 9, 10*, 11
Microsoft Internet Explorer Mobile 11
Microsoft Edge all
Mozilla Firefox 24 – 26*, >=27

Search for a vacancy

Once registered and logged into your Oriel account click on the vacancies tab. Search for ‘Higher Specialist Scientist Training’, select the vacancy you wish to apply for and click ‘To Apply’.

Make sure you select the correct post type as there will be two to choose from:

  • direct entry posts – this route is available to you if you are applying to the training programme from a different employer
  • in-service posts – this route is available to you if you are already employed by a Trust/Organisation providing NHS services, in the scientific specialty you are applying for. Most HSST places are through the in-service route

If you are an in-service applicant, you can apply for both types of vacancies. If successful in getting a direct entry post, you would have to resign from your current role. In-service applicants will be sent a code from their employer which will be needed to complete the application form.

Direct entry applicants do not require a code for their application and cannot apply for in-service vacancies.


Complete the application form

You can only make one application per vacancy. If you try to submit more than one application for a single vacancy, you will be removed from the recruitment process. You can save and return to your application as many times as you like, before finally submitting it. Any false declarations will invalidate your application.

In the employment history section, you will be asked to enter an end date for your current employment. If you are in current employment and will need to leave your job to join the programme, enter the date 31st August 2023.

You will also complete a series of short answer questions to demonstrate your suitability, understanding and motivation for the programme and you will choose your specialty. Add any work experience, including voluntary work, to the supporting information section.

It is very important that you complete your application form in a timely manner. The NSHCS cannot guarantee all queries will be answered during the last 48 hours of the application window.


Screening questions

The application form has initial screening questions. You must meet the minimum eligibility criteria to be able to proceed with the application. You must provide:

  • personal details
  • academic information
  • work experience information
  • general employment information
  • equality and diversity data

You may have already provided some of this data when completing the registration process. If so, this will auto-populate your application form.


Fitness to practise

The fitness to practise questions in the application form cover things such as criminal convictions. If you answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you must email further information to Please mark your email as ‘confidential’ and we must receive this no later than the closing date of the vacancy.

If you are successful at the interview stage, the information you have provided will be considered by a panel. They will use this information and decide whether you are unsuitable for the programme.


Special circumstances policy

We implement a special circumstances policy across the HSST national recruitment process. This ensures that applicants with special circumstances and a requirement to train in a particular location are treated in a fair and consistent way.

We can only apply this policy if you have ticked the box in your application form indicting that you have special circumstances. You must then complete the special circumstances request form and email it, together with supporting evidence, to This must be done after you’ve submitted your application but before the application closing date. Click the link below to access the policy and the application form.