Clinical Doctorates

University of Stirling

Program Description

Clinical Doctorates

University of Stirling

Our Clinical Doctorate is the only one of its kind in Scotland, tailored to the needs of Nurses, Midwives and Allied Health Professionals, of all varieties. The programme is practice-focused and has been designed to prepare future leaders of practice, education and leadership. Students will join other professionals from a range of disciplines for on-campus and online study, to benefit not only from the extensive knowledge delivered by the Clinical Doctorate team, but from each others experiences and expertise.

The Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport is well placed to deliver a clinically focused programme such as this. We are a multi-award winning institution, led by a group of world-leading academics, with strong and established research records, real nursing experience and a wealth of world-class publications.

Who is the Doctorate for?

The ‘Clinical Doctorate’ programme is designed for experienced clinicians who wish to attain the highest goal of becoming ‘clinical academic’. This is the ideal qualification for those who retain a clinical focus with commitment to the improvement of patient care.

Health care professionals on the Programme may include: nurses; midwives; dieticians; genetic counsellors; occupational therapists; paramedicine; physiotherapists; speech and language therapists; sport and exercise psychologists and podiatrists.

1st for Research

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF2014) the Faculty of Health Sciences came top for health research in Scotland and was ranked 12th in the UK overall, showcasing our commitment to producing world-leading research which improves the health of people in Scotland and reduces health inequalities through impact on policy and practice.

Top Reasons To Study With Us

  1. You will join a programme that is unique in Scotland in its clinical focus and differs greatly from all similar programmes in the UK.
  2. You will be supported by a dedicated team of academic staff and the Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions Research Unit (NMAHP RU), both renowned for their expertise in world-leading research that permeates the programme.
  3. The blended teaching approach allows you to relate everything you learn, including assignments, directly to what you do in practice and realise the impact this has on your day-to-day work.
  4. You will join other learners from a range of clinical backgrounds, learn from one another, and have the opportunity to discuss within a critical space.
  5. As a qualified Doctor of Nursing, Midwifery or Professional Health Studies, you will have attained the highest level of academic qualification within your specialism, placing yourself at the forefront of your profession as a recognised, and highly employable expert

Course objectives

The programme aims to develop you as a clinically focussed senior Nurse, Midwife or Allied Health Professional who will be at the cutting edge of clinical research and practice in your field.

Working autonomously, you will be able to design and execute research to deal with problems and issues in practice and apply constant and integrated approaches to critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis of new and complex ideas, information and issues.

In summary, the programme is about:

  • Tackling complex ideas and challenging established modes of thinking;
  • Developing research and scholarship skills harnessed imaginatively to the field of clinical practice;
  • Preparing to be at the cutting edge of clinical and research practice for your area of ‘expertness’;
  • Familiarity with leading-edge research, an ability to redesign the clinical environment and understanding of the research process.

What makes us different?

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

Candidates should normally hold a good Honours degree and/or a Master’s degree or equivalent of a university or college recognised by the University of Stirling; hold an appropriate nursing, midwifery or allied health professional registration; and normally at least five years’ post-registration experience. Selection follows consideration of written application and statement.

*Please note that due to the nature of this programme we can only accept applications from EU based students. Applicants from outwith the EU are advised to contact for a discussion on your suitability to joining the programme.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS: 6.5 with 6.0 minimum in each skill
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade B
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): 60 with 56 in each component
  • IBT TOEFL: 90 with no subtest less than 20

If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard.

Structure and content

The programme is designed to challenge and change the way you think. Throughout the programme, your endeavours focus on your own field of practice. You can expect to make a significant difference to your clinical environment right from the very start.

The programme can be studied over three years full-time or, more commonly, over four and eight years on a part-time basis. It consists of three taught modules, an expert practice module and an empirical thesis. Taught components are clustered into two three-day sessions over the first three semesters.

Each taught module is studied over one semester.

  • The first module brings you up to date with the latest ideas, findings and methods – taken from across the spectrum of academic research and harnessed imaginatively to your field of practice.
  • The second module builds on the first but looks at clinically-applied problem solving to design evidence into fields of practice and organisations. The potential of the research and its impact is part of that design process.
  • In the third module we work together to promote a generic knowledge of research methods whilst keeping the clinical relevance of your research in our sights at all times. You also start to more fully develop your research ideas.
  • The fourth module is about assessment of your expert practice including its currency and engagement with others. You are also supported to develop your research proposal further.

Following two years of taught modules, you progress to the empirical research stage and ultimately construct a thesis on a topic that will enhance the knowledge base in your field of practice.

Delivery and assessment

Taught modules

  • Contemporary Health Care Theory and Research (NURPD01) - SCQF 40 credits / level 11
  • Project Management in Health Care Organisations (NURPD02) - SCQF 40 credits / level 11
  • Research Design for Clinical Practice (NURPD03) - SCQF 40 credits / level 11
  • Expert Practice (NURPD04) - SCQF 80 credits / level 12

Research module

  • Practice Based Empirical Project & Thesis (NUPRD05) - SCQF 340 credits / level 12

Each taught module and Thesis module (NURPD05) is organised and supported by a module coordinator. They will offer you any advice and guidance required during each module and offer you support with your endeavours.

The main method of assessment for each module is coursework, with one practice based examination.

Students must successfully complete all taught modules before commencing the research stage (NURPD05).

Students are well supported through regular face-to-face contact, video conferencing, skype, email and phone. There is tutorial time in preparation for each assignment, and detailed feedback afterward.

'Succeed' is available to all students via the University portal. Each taught module is supported by a bespoke set of web pages where information, teaching materials and learning resources are deposited by the module coordinator.

Study method

Part-time and Full-time routes of study are available using blended learning. Taught components are clustered into two three-day sessions over the first three semesters.


Research in the Faculty focuses on clinically and socially relevant research about the quality and delivery of health and social care; the development and evaluation of health interventions; health behaviour change and social marketing.‌

The Institute of Social Marketing (ISM) conducts research in three key areas: the development and evaluation of behaviour change interventions based on social marketing principles; the impact of public policy on health and social welfare and the impact of commercial marketing on the health and behaviour of individuals and of society more generally.

The Faculty hosts the Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions Research Unit (NMAHPRU) funded by the Scottish Government's Health Directorates, Chief Scientist Office. NMAHP-RU has two programmes of research: interventions and quality and delivery of care.

Colleagues from across the Faculty, NMAHP-RU and ISM are committed to sharing their expertise with students on the programme.

Career opportunities

Students find a difference in their thinking right from the start and take that different thinking into practice. Within the current body of students, ten have advanced their careers by achieving a promotion during their time on the programme.


Professional Doctorates are recognised internationally as a qualification granted to those who have reached the peak of professional and academic achievement in their field of expertise.

‌Increasingly within the National Health Service (NHS) a Professional Doctorate is seen as an essential academic qualification for progressing to higher level posts within the NHS Agenda for Change career framework.

Graduates have reported benefits of studying a Clinical Doctorate as being: gaining the confidence to see themselves as an expert in their field; the personal fulfilment of achieving the highest academic qualification; enhanced critical and analytical thinking; confidence within specialist areas; the opening of new and advanced career opportunities.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Cost & Fees

From 2016/7 onwards, the fees for all taught postgraduate courses are to be held at the level set upon entry.

Please note there is an additional charge for the conferral of your degree. This will be charged at the rate applicable when you complete your studies.


Start date:

Students usually begin the programme at the start of a new academic year, in September.

Last updated January 16, 2017
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2018
3 - 8 years
Part time
Full time
United Kingdom - Stirling, Scotland
Start date: Sept. 2018
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Sept. 2018
United Kingdom - Stirling, Scotland
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info