Applying to the HSST programme

Important information you need to know when making an application to the Higher Specialist Scientist Training programme.


Before starting your application

All application deadlines are available on our website, together with guidance, frequently asked questions, person specification, curricula, and all other necessary information. Make time to look through this information.

Plan your time and work out approximately how long it will take to complete the application form. You will, for example, need to get feedback from colleagues and that may take time. The application consists of an online form in which you provide information about how you meet the person specification for the programme, including qualifications, experience and motivation.

Have you checked the entry requirements? There are two entry routes to the HSST, either as a Clinical Scientist or a Biomedical Scientist. Click this link for further details on what is required for both routes.


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. 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. Check out the minimum 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

How to apply

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’. In-service applicants will be sent a code from their employer which will be needed to complete the application form.

Non UK applicants

Please refer to national guidance from NHS England and UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) to confirm whether you are eligible to apply. Search the NHS England website and the UK Visas and Immigration website if you need further information.

Complete the application form

The application form contains initial screening questions. You must meet and be able to evidence the minimum eligibility criteria to be able to proceed with the application. You can save and return to your application as many times as you like before completing and submitting it. Any false declarations will invalidate your application.

You must provide details for the following sections:

  • personal
  • academic
  • work experience
  • general employment
  • equality and diversity

You may have already provided some of this data when completing the full registration process. If so, this will be auto populated within your application form.

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 31 August 2024. Add any work experience (including voluntary work) to the supporting information section.

You then complete a series of short answer questions to demonstrate your suitability, understanding and motivation for the programme. You will also be asked to choose your specialty.

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.


Deferrals can only be considered for statutory reasons such as maternity. As part of the application you are asked to declare availability to start in the coming October.