What are the entry requirements for the STP?

Last Updated: 5th February 2021

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

General entry requirements

The degree

To apply to the programme you must have a 1st or 2:1 in either an undergraduate honours degree or an integrated master’s degree, in a pure or applied science subject. The degree subject must be relevant to the specialism for which you are applying. Science degrees related to medicine may also be considered suitable for some of the specialisms.

However you may also apply if you have a 2:2 honours degree in any subject and you also have a higher degree in a subject that is relevant to the specialism you wish to apply for.

If you haven’t yet received your degree results when making your application, you will need to provide us with your predicted results. Your predicted results must still be a 1st or 2:1 otherwise your application will not be considered. If your final results do not meet these requirements any offers made will be withdrawn. When you have received your final degree result, please email us to confirm your grade within 5 days of being notified by your university.

Any postgraduate qualifications that have been included in your application must have been successfully awarded by the start of the programme.

Skills and knowledge

Review the job description and person specification below to make sure that you have the skills and knowledge required for the specialism you wish to apply for. Make sure you add any work experience, including voluntary work, to the supporting information section of the 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 postgraduate certificates are not accepted. The UK Quality Code for Higher Education document below, has a definition of what is a higher degree in the table on page 17 under level 7.

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 shown 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
  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Biology
  • Microbiology
  • Genetics
  • Biochemistry
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.

Clinical Bioinformatics
  • Mathematics (at least A level standard)
Clinical Bioinformatics (Genomics)
  • Genetics
  • Biology
  • Computer Science
  • Health Informatics (degree courses with significant IT content or equivalent)
Clinical Bioinformatics (Health Informatics)
  • Genetics
  • Biology
  • Computer Science
  • Health Informatics (degree courses with significant IT content or equivalent)
Clinical Bioinformatics (Physical Sciences)
  • Computer Science
  • Scientific Engineering
  • Mathematics (that contains a significant level of mathematical and computer programming knowledge and skills)
Clinical Pharmaceutical Science
  • 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.

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

International applicants

Qualifications

If you hold an international qualification and get through to the interview stage, you will need to provide UK NARIC equivalence. Visit the GOV.UK  website for further information on degree equivalence from NARIC and the Overseas Degree Equivalency section.

Applying to the programme from outside the UK

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

If you require a Skilled Worker visa (currently known as Tier 2 and changing from January 2021) to work and train in the UK as a healthcare scientist, HEE will provide sponsorship for successful applicants however, please visit the Home Office website for the latest guidance.

Should you be successful and receive an offer, you must meet the minimum of 70 points under the new Points Based system, click below for further information.

Information for applicants from the EU in relation to the UK leaving Europe

The UK is in the process of leaving the European Union. This means that freedom of movement will be affected. However, the NHS will continue to welcome trainees from across Europe.

  • If you are an EU citizen some points to be considered are:
  • If an agreement is reached with the EU, you will continue to be able to move to the UK to work and study until June 2021, with the same rights as is current today.
  • If you already live in the UK, you will be eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.
  • If you have continuously lived in the UK for more than five years, you will be eligible for ‘settled status’ (equivalent to indefinite leave to remain).
  • If you have lived in the UK for less than five years you will be eligible for ‘pre-settled status’ and can upgrade to ‘settled status’ when you have been here for five years.

For more information on how to apply for the EU Settlement scheme, please visit here: EU Settlement Scheme

Successful EU Citizens will either need to provide evidence of pre-settled or settled status in the UK or another immigration category (including the Skilled).

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.

Ways to demonstrate you meet these standards include:

  • 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 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.

If you require a Tier 2 visa to apply to the programme, you will have already needed to demonstrate your English language skills as part of the visa application process. Therefore all you need to do is provide evidence that you passed this test set by the  Home Office.