An overview of the STP application process


The National School of Healthcare Science (NSHCS) manages recruitment to the Scientist Training Programme (STP) in England. Health authorities in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland manage their own recruitment to the programme.

The STP is recruited through a national selection process using longlisting, shortlisting and interviews.

Recruitment takes place annually and usually opens for applications in January for trainees to start in September the same year. Once confirmed, the recruitment timeline and deadline dates are posted on the School’s website. The STP training posts are advertised once all the commissioned training places for the year have been received and confirmed by local commissioners. Posts are usually advertised on Oriel and the School’s website.

The process of allocating individual applicants to prospective employers is also managed nationally and is informed by the preferences applicants express as part of their application.

Once final allocation of successful candidates is confirmed, trainee details are forwarded to the employers to complete their employment processes and issue the trainee(s) with a contract of employment. Contact details for successful candidates are also passed to the relevant university who will contact them regarding registration for the MSc.

The application consists of:

  • an online application form in which applicants provide information about meeting the person specification for the programme, including qualifications, experience and motivation
  • an online situational judgement test (SJT) which evaluates core attributes needed for the programme

Special circumstances policy

We implement a special circumstances policy across the STP national recruitment processes, to ensure that applicants with special circumstances and a requirement to train in a particular location are treated in a fair and consistent way. Click on the policy link below for details and an example of how the policy works.


How we process an application

Applicants must score above the required threshold on the situational judgement test (SJT) at the longlisting stage for their application to be put forward for shortlisting. Once this stage has been processed, their application status is changed to longlisted, or longlist fail.

Successful longlisted applications are reviewed by shortlisters against the requirements of the person specification.  Successfully shortlisted applications are ranked using an algorithm within the Oriel system, which takes account of their scores and the applicant’s selected preference for location.  The shortlist rank is used to allocate applicants to interviews and interview reserves.

We support the interview process, working with employing organisations and notify applicants of the interview outcome.

We provide support for applicants through our email inbox


Roles and responsibilities in the recruitment process

Local health commissioners liaise with the employers in their area to scope demand.  Employers who wish to provide a training post submit their expression of interest to the commissioners.

Employers who submit an expression of interest must:

  • Nominate one or more member(s) of staff (per post) to take part in both the shortlisting and interview recruitment processes. This does not have to include the head of department. We recommend you put forward clinical scientists and Higher Specialist Scientist Training trainees to participate in the recruitment process.
  • Notify us of any changes in contact details.
  • Ensure their HR department is engaged from the beginning of the process and is aware of the national process. We recommend you forward a link to this guidance to your HR departments for information.

STP Open days

Open days organised by employers may be advertised in the events section of our website.  If you wish to do this, please send details to including dates, times, contact details and any other relevant information. The NSHCS does not organise or hold open days.