What are the entry requirements for the STP?

Find out about the skills, knowledge and research experience that is required to apply to the Scientist Training Programme.


General entry requirements

The degree

To apply to the STP you must have a 1st or 2:1 in either an undergraduate honours degree or an integrated master’s degree.  Both options must be in a pure or applied science subject relevant to the specialism for which you are applying. Medical degrees are only accepted for Life and Physiological Science specialisms.

However, if you have a higher degree in a relevant subject for the specialism you wish to apply for, and 2:2 honours degree in any subject, you may submit an application.

Applicants for reconstructive science posts (maxillofacial prosthetics) must hold current registration as a dental technician with the General Dental Council.

What should I do if I don’t have my degree results?

If you haven’t yet received your degree results, please provide us with your predicted results. Your predicted results must still be a 1st or 2:1 as per the entry requirements. If your final results do not meet the entry requirements any offers made may be withdrawn. When you receive your final degree result, email us to confirm your grade within 5 days of being notified by your university.

Any postgraduate qualifications included in your application must have been successfully awarded by the start of the programme. Higher Education Institutes state that applicants must not be enrolled on two academic programmes at the start of the STP.

Skills and knowledge

Review the job description and person specification to make sure that you have the relevant skills and knowledge required. Add any work experience, including voluntary work, to the supporting information section of your application.

Research experience

Evidence of any research experience is also desirable. This can be in the form of a higher degree or equivalent evidence of a scientific/academic basis. Postgraduate diplomas and certificates are not accepted. The UK Quality Code for Higher Education, includes a definition of what is a higher degree. See the table on page 17 under level 7.

resources text

Relevant degrees

Due to the extensive variation in degrees it is not possible for us to provide a definitive list of relevant degrees but the most commonly accepted degrees are below. If you successfully get through the initial application stages, the national shortlisting panels will judge which applicants closely match the person specification.

Life Sciences
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Biology
  • Clinical Bioinformatics Genomics
    • Genetics
    • Biology
    • Computer Science
  • Clinical Microbiology
  • Genetics

Genomic Counselling

One of the biological or equivalent sciences, Nursing, Midwifery or Psychology.

If your degree did not include a genetics module, we would advise you to demonstrate that you have a grounding in genetics.

In order to understand the specialty, relevant experience in a care or counselling role is extremely advantageous and candidates are less likely to be shortlisted without this. This may be gained through previous professional work (e.g. nursing/social work) or in a related voluntary capacity (e.g. a patient support group or telephone counselling service). Your application will be strengthened if you use the supporting information section of the application form to describe the extent of your experience. You should also reflect on the insights it has given you, which are relevant to genomic counselling.

Awareness of, or basic training in, counselling skills may also be advantageous. Outcome research consistently supports the importance of the counselling relationship in delivering complex information. Having some introductory experience and insight can be hugely beneficial for applicants understanding too that the pathway is quite different from other related pathways such as genomics and bioinformatics.

Physical Sciences

Medical Physics or Clinical Engineering

If you are applying for either the Medical Physics or Clinical Engineering specialisms and are a successful applicant, you may be allocated to a post which may have a predetermined relevant specialism or one in which the specialism will be decided after the first year of training.

Clinical Informatics (formerly known as Clinical Bioinformatics – Health Informatics)

  • Clinical Bioinformatics (Health Informatics)
  • Genetics
  • Biology
  • Computer Science
  • Health Informatics (degree courses with significant IT content or equivalent)

Clinical Scientific Computing (formerly known as Clinical Bioinformatics – Physical Sciences)

  • Computer Science
  • Scientific Engineering
  • Mathematics (that contains a significant level of mathematical and computer programming knowledge and skills)

Pharmaceutical Sciences

  • Chemistry
  • Life/Biological Sciences which are Chemistry related (e.g. Biochemistry or Pharmacology)
  • Pharmaceutical Sciences or Pharmacy

Applicants do not require a Pharmacy degree but this specialism is open to those with a Pharmacy qualification.

Clinical Engineering

  • Pure or Applied Physics
  • Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics

A relevant engineering degree is one whose content would satisfy the majority of the Engineering Council’s requirements as stated in their guidelines under ’The Accreditation of Higher Education Programmes: UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence’.

Medical Physics

A degree that contains a high level of physics and whose content would satisfy the majority of the Institute of Physics requirements as stated in their guidelines. The Institute also publishes a register of accredited courses.

Reconstructive Science

A relevant dental technology qualification that enables dental technician registration with the General Dental Council. Applicants must have the registration by the start date of the programme.

Physiological Sciences
  • Physiology
  • Pure or Applied Physics
  • Engineering
  • Biology or Human Biology
  • Sports Science (if significant scientific content)

Requirements when applying from outside the UK

Before you start your application visit the UK Visas and Immigration Service  to check whether or not you are eligible to apply. Make sure that you have established your right to work in the UK for all three years of the programme and this must be in place before you start.

If you require a Skilled Worker visa to work and train in the UK as a healthcare scientist visit the Home Office website for the latest guidance on visas. Should you be successful and receive an offer, you must meet the minimum of 70 points under the new Points Based system.


International qualifications

If you hold an international qualification and get through to the interview stage, you will need to provide a UK ENIC Statement of Comparability.


What level of English competency is required?

You must have the required level of communication skills to enable you to undertake the role effectively and deliver safe care to patients. You must also be able to demonstrate that you can achieve the standards set for clinical scientists by the  Health and Care Professions Council.

The following will help you demonstrate you meet these standards:

  • being a national of a majority English speaking country or have worked in an organisation/institution where English was the primary language
  • pursued as part of your education in the UK
  • hold a degree or relevant educational qualification that was taught in English by a recognised institution abroad
  • pass an English language competency test
  • if you have obtained a Skilled Worker visa to apply to the programme, you will have already demonstrated your English language skills as part of the visa application process; provide evidence that you passed the test set by the  Home Office

If English is not your first language, you will also have to demonstrate to the Higher Education Institution (HEI) that you have the necessary knowledge of English to meet the entry requirements and enrol on the MSc course.


Last updated on 13th January 2022