Guidance for applicants and employers on applying via the STP in-service route

Important information for existing NHS staff, working in a recognised scientific specialty, who wish to apply to the STP.



The STP is a three-year integrated post-graduate programme including a commissioned master’s degree in clinical science, and completion of a work-based training portfolio plus a synoptic final assessment.  On completion, the learner can apply to the Health and Care Professions Council for registration as a Clinical Scientist.

Existing NHS staff working in a recognised scientific specialty can enter the STP and complete the training in their current workplace.  They are referred to as ‘in-service’ trainees. They can also apply for a ‘direct entry’ training post but would need to resign from their current post if successful.

Admission to the in-service route is administered by the National School of Healthcare Science (NSHCS).


Entry requirements

To be eligible for the STP, the in-service applicant must meet the following educational requirements:

  • 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 they are applying. Science degrees related to medicine may also be considered suitable for some of the specialisms.

Or they can have:

  • A 2:2 honours degree in any subject plus a higher degree in a subject that is relevant to the specialism they wish to apply for.

They must also match the person specification for the role, which is available below.


Check the equivalence of any Non-UK qualifications

Applicants relying on non-UK qualifications will need to provide a UK ENIC statement of comparability. Click on the link below for further information.


Get support to apply from your employer

As an in-service applicant you will need the support of your employer in consideration of current and future workforce needs. You will not have any choice of post location or specialty, as you will only apply for the training place that your current employer is sponsoring. The employer will provide confirmation of support and we will give your employer an in-service application code to pass onto you.  You must enter this code when applying for the post.

In-service trainees remain in full-time employment in their department for the duration of the training.  Salary support is provided by Health Education England (HEE).  There are some regional differences in the level of support provided, so employers should ensure they have full details from their regional HEE commissioner before deciding whether to sponsor a training post. Further contact details can be found on the HEE website.

An in-service applicant:

  • must hold a current contract of employment in the NHS specialism for which they are applying
  • will enter the STP through the NSHCS recruitment process outlined in this guidance
  • will be employed and salaried by their employer throughout the programme
  • will follow the whole programme and must be released from service duties, as appropriate, to undertake their education and training

You must also send copies of your academic qualifications to the School.


The University and the master's degree

The master’s degree is provided by one of the universities commissioned by HEE. Most of the specialty programmes are provided by only one university and no alternative is offered.  In a small number of cases more than one university provides a specialty and, in these cases, employers may state a preference. However, employers and trainees do not have the final choice; HEE will allocate the university place.  HEE also pays the full cost of the master’s degree.


Conditions of training/employment

An in-service applicant must:

  • be part of the planned workforce numbers required for training, and have occupied an existing NHS salaried post, within the same department as the training post, prior to training
  • have permission from their employer to undertake the required academic and work-based training requirements
  • have been selected by the employing department. The department must be satisfied that the applicant matches the person specification for the role and meets the entry requirements
  • apply and be allocated through the national recruitment process. They will not go through a shortlisting process as they are not in competition for their nominated post
  • be trained in a department accredited by the NSHCS as an STP training provider
  • be assessed using an e-portfolio and/or any other monitoring and quality assurance processes used by the NSHCS
  • sit the synoptic final assessment as set by the NSHCS
  • complete the postgraduate academic programme