Clinical Trials - MSc/Diploma/Certificate

Research through clinical trials is a growing global business in academic institutions, industry, the NHS and across public health organisations. 

Clinical trials have huge societal impact, providing the best research evidence of the effectiveness of healthcare, social care and public health interventions. The conclusions of well conducted trials inform both clinical and health policy decision-making, ensuring that the most appropriate interventions are used to improve the health and quality of life of the population. 

This modular multidisciplinary programme offers a Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or a Masters in Clinical Trials and is designed to provide academic training to professionals currently working in, or who wish to work in, clinical trials. 

Please note: this programme is subject to final approval


Postgraduate Open Day - Wednesday 20 March 2019


Our Postgraduate Open Day will give you the best opportunity to hear first-hand from our current students and staff about our Masters, Diploma, Certificate and Research opportunities. 

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This Masters programme will provide you with an excellent foundation in clinical trials, covering the theoretical and practical aspects of the design, conduct, analysis and interpretation of clinical trials. 

You will gain:

  • a thorough understanding of, and the skills to put into practice, the key concepts and features in the design and analysis of clinical trials
  • the skills to critically appraise and synthesise existing research evidence
  • the ability to explore regulatory and ethical legal frameworks that govern trials
  • the ability to examine the considerations and key aspects of planning and managing a successful trial
  • an understanding of different analytical techniques and advanced trial designs
  • the skills to undertake independent research through a dissertation project

Why study this course

The University of Birmingham hosts the Birmingham Centre for Clinical Trials and is one of the leading centres in the UK for designing and implementing high quality clinical trials across a wide range of diseases and clinical settings.

You will be taught by experienced staff, based within the Centre, who have an established record of training, their teaching informed by their own applied and methodological research. 

The programme will: 

  • produce skilled specialist trials staff in the existing workforce and expert trial Chief Investigators of the future;
  • encourage new graduates and professionals into the Clinical Trials environment; and
  • engage clinicians in research methodology

The development of a more skilled research and clinical workforce will lead to exceptional and more efficient trials, less research waste and the promotion of evidence-based clinical decision making. This will ultimately improve lives locally, nationally and internationally.


Masters students will complete seven core modules, totaling 120 credits and will undertake a 60 credit dissertation. Postgradute Diploma students will take the 120 credits from the taught core modules as per the Masters programme, but will not complete the dissertation. Those seeking a Postgraduate Certificate will take 60 credits from the taught modules.

You can transfer from the Certificate to Diploma and from Diploma to the Masters based on appropriate performance.

Please note: as this programme is subject to final approval the module titles may change.

Masters Programme

You will take the following core modules:

  • Rationale for Clinical Trials, Key Concepts and Features* (20 credits)
  • Selection, Collection and Reporting of Clinical Trial Outcomes* (10 credits)
  • Further Trial Designs and their Delivery* (20 credits)
  • Analyses of Clinical Trials, Interpretation and Communication of Trial Findings* (20 credits)
  • Preparation and Set-up for a Clinical Trial* (20 credits)
  • Delivery and Management of Clinical Trials* (20 credits)
  • Early-phase studies* (10 credits)
  • Dissertation (60 credits)

Postgraduate Diploma
You will take the 120 credits from taught modules as per the Masters choices but will not complete the dissertation.

Postgraduate Certificate
You will take 60 credits from the taught modules.

*These modules are available on a stand-alone basis. For more details contact the programme team at

Related staff

Fees and funding


MSc: £9,250 FT, £4,625 PT
PGDip: £6,167 FT, £3,083 PT
PGCert: £3,083 FT, £1,542 PT

MSc: £23,220 FT
PGDip: £15,480 FT
PGCert: £7740 FT

Postgraduate Loans for Masters students

You can apply for a government loan for postgraduate Masters study. This is a contribution towards the costs of study and whether the loan is used towards fees, maintenance or other costs will be at the discretion of the student. Find out more about the Postgraduate Loan.


Global Scholarships for Excellence

The College of Medical and Dental Sciences is offering a number of Global Scholarships for Excellence for outstanding students on our postgraduate taught programmes. The value of each award is £2,000 to be off-set against tuition fees, is tenable for one year only and cannot be deferred to a later year. 

Overseas Research Scholarships

International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government. Visit our website for information about scholarships for international students.

For information about all Home/EU and International funding opportunities please visit the Postgraduate Funding Database.

Entry requirements

  • 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject.
  • An interest in evidence-based healthcare

On a case-by-case basis, we will also consider other classes of degree and/or relevant qualifications and experience of working within clinical trials.


International students:

English language requirement
You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways: 

English to IELTS 6.5 (with no less than 6.0 in any band). 

If you need help with your English language skills then support is available. 

The English for Academic Purposes Presessional course is for international students who have a conditional offer to study at the University, but who do not currently meet the English language requirements. The course is tailored to your level of English and allows you to meet the English language requirements for your programme without retaking IELTS. The EAP programme runs throughout the year and offers different programme lengths ranging from 42 weeks to 6 weeks. The length of course you need depends on your future course, your existing IELTS score and the English level you need for your university degree.

Find out more about the English for Academic Purposes Presessional course.

How to apply

This programme is currently subject to final approval. Please email if you would like to receive an email once the proramme is open for application. 

As a Birmingham student, you will be joining the academic elite and will have the privilege of learning from world-leading experts, as well as your peers. From the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner. We want you to be challenged and will encourage you to think for yourself. 

Teaching is likely to take place in one or two-week blocks, and you will participate in a range of teaching styles such as lectures, small group tutorials, presentations, peer group learning, self-study etc.

You will have access to a comprehensive support system that will assist and encourage you, including personal tutors who can help with both academic and welfare issues.

Assessment methods

Assessment is via a mixture of examination and assignment. If a module is assessed by assignment you will usually have 4-5 weeks to complete it after the module has finished. If a module is assessed by examination it will take place after a period to allow for revision after the taught part of the module has finished.

Masters students complete their degree by also undertaking a research project and writing a dissertation. This provides them with an opportunity to pursue a specific research question in depth, and to demonstrate the knowledge and skills acquired during the taught part of the programme.

Prizes are presented to the best students on the programme.

There are many exciting career opportunities in both academic institutions and industry within this growing field. Staff working on trials include a wide range of healthcare professionals, statisticians, economists, qualitative researchers, programmers, data managers, quality assurance officers, trial co-ordinators/project managers and trial administrators.

The programme provides a robust foundation for a transition to clinical trials research from other health-related research or a methodological background or as a new graduate wishing to launch your career in clinical trials. For those already working in clinical trials the programme develops further skills to augment progression in your current or next position.

The programme would also provide an excellent basis for a future study towards a PhD.

Careers Support for Postgraduate Students

We recognise that as a postgraduate student you are likely to have specific requirements when it comes to planning for your next career step. Employers expect postgraduates to have a range of skills that exceed their subject knowledge. Careers Network offers a range of events and support services that are designed for all students, including postgraduates looking to find their niche in the job market. The Careers Network also have subject specific careers consultants and advisers for each College so you can be assured the information you receive will be relevant to your subject area. For more information visit the Careers Network website

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Living in Birmingham

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