What does the HSST programme involve?

The Higher Specialist Scientist Training Programme (HSST) is a five-year workplace-based training programme supported by an underpinning doctoral-level academic programme and, where appropriate, Royal College qualifications. Further information about the Royal College qualifications exam regulations, guidelines and policies is available via the Royal College of Pathologists website. The Royal College can be emailed via info@rcpath.org

Applying to the HSST programme

Applicants to the HSST programme need to be registered as a clinical scientist with the Health and Care Professions Council.  Recruitment to the HSST programme is conducted by the National School of Healthcare Sciences.  Details of the application process and frequently asked questions are available via the National School of Healthcare Science website.

Work Based Training Component

The work based training component  of HSST is overseen by the National School of Healthcare Sciences. The  National School of Healthcare Sciences HSST handbook gives a background to the HSST programme and the doctoral award.  For enquiries about the work based training component of HSST please contact the National School.

Academic Component

The academic component of HSST is known as the Doctor of Clinical Science (DClinSci).  Further information about the DClinSci will be available in the MAHSE Information Pack which is currently being developed and will be posted on this website. If you have any enquiries about the DClinSci, please contact Shazia on 0161 306 2621 or email admin@mahse.co.uk

Details of the programme structures are available below:

DClinSci Life Sciences Programme Structure.  Life Scientists may also want to refer to details of how the FRCPath and DClinSci programmes integrate.
DClinSci Physiological Sciences (UoM) Programme Structure
DClinSci Physiological Sciences (ManMet) Programme Structure
DClinSci Physical Sciences Programme Structure
DClinSci Clinical Bioinformatics Programme Structure

The academic component is divided into three sections:

Section A: Leadership and Professional Development

All Clinical Scientists in HSST complete Leadership and Professional Development units delivered and assessed by Alliance Manchester Business School at the University of Manchester. Section A is included in all HSST specialisms. Clinical Scientists in HSST will be registered at the University of Manchester for Section A. For students who will receive their DClinSci award from the University of Liverpool, Manchester Metropolitan University or Aston University, the credits and record for section A will be transferred to your host University on completion.

Module Code Module Title Credit Rating
A1 Professionalism and Professional Development in the Healthcare Environment 30 credits
A2 Theoretical Foundations of Leadership 20 credits
A3 Personal & Professional Development to Enhance Performance in Practice 30 credits
A4 Leadership and Quality Improvement in the Clinical and Scientific Environment 20 credits
A5 Research and Innovation in Health and Social Care 20 credits


Section B: Specialist Scientist Clinical Programme

During Section B Clinical Scientists complete study which is appropriate to their specialist area.

  • Clinical Scientists in the Life Science theme undertake Royal College of Pathologists Fellowship Examination (FRCPath) set by The Royal College of Pathologists.
  • Clincal Scientists from the Physiological Science, Physical Sciences and Clinical Bioinformatics (Genomics)themes study specialist scientific modules as outlined in the individual programme structures.
  • For Clinical Scientists on the Physiological Science and Physical Science theme, Section B contains some shared modules (outlined below) which are delivered by one or more of the Universities involved in the MAHSE Partnership (University of Manchester,  Manchester Metropolitan University,  University of Liverpool and Aston University.
Module Code Module Title Credit Rating Shared
B1 Advanced Historing Taking, Clinical and Communication Skills 15 credits  Physiological Sciences
B3 Therapeutics 20 credits Physiological Sciences
B5 Contemporary issues in Healthcare Science (including Bioinformatics, Genomics and Personalised Medicine and Patient and Public Involvement) 20 credits Physical Sciences & Physiological Sciences
B7 Teaching Learning & Assessment 20 credits Physical Sciences & Physiological Sciences

Section C: Research, Development and Innovation

HSST Clinical Scientists undertake a research project.  The research project is carried out at the Clinical Scientist’s base hospital with academic supervision by an appropriate expert in the field.  The aim of the project is to improve health and health outcomes and may include scientific, clinical, service transformation, innovation, leadership, policy, education or educational research. Further information about Section C is included in the HSST Section C Information Pack which gives a general overview as well ask milestones and key contacts and via a set of frequently asked questions.

A list of university contacts for each section of the programme can be found here.

Clinical Scientists within HSST are grouped under four main themes.  Details of the specialisms within each theme and the respective Higher Education Provider are given below:

Life Sciences

There are currently twelve different subject specalisms offered for HSST within the Life Sciences theme. Details of the specialisms and the University which accredits the different specialism for are listed below.

Specialism Higher Education Provider
Haematology Manchester Metropolitan University
Transfusion Science Manchester Metropolitan University
Molecular Pathology of Acquired Disease Manchester Metropolitan University
Reproductive Science Manchester Metropolitan University
Analytical Toxicology University of Manchester
Clinical Biochemistry University of Manchester
Clinical Immunology University of Manchester
Genetics University of Manchester
Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics University of Manchester
Microbiology University of Manchester
Molecular Pathology of Infection University of Manchester
Virology University of Manchester

Physiological Sciences

There are currently seven different subject specalisms offered for HSST within the Physiological Sciences theme. Details of the specialisms and the University which accredits the different specialism are listed below.

Specialism Higher Education Provider
Ophthalmic and Vision Sciences Aston University
Cardiac Science Manchester Metropolitan University
Neurophysiology Manchester Metropolitan University
Respiratory and Sleep Physiology Manchester Metropolitan University
Vascular Science Manchester Metropolitan University
Audiological Science University of Manchester
Gastrointestinal and Urological Sciences University of Manchester

Physical Sciences

There are currently two different subject specalisms offered for HSST within the Physical Sciences theme. Details of the specialisms and the University which accredits the different specialism are listed below.

Specialism Higher Education Provider
Clinical Biomedical Engineering University of Manchester
Medical Physics University of Manchester

Clinical Bioinformatics

There are currently two different subject specialisms offered for HSST within the Clinical Bioinformatics theme. One pathway is due to be developed. Details of the specialisms are listed below.

Specialism Higher Education Provider
Genomics University of Manchester
Physical Sciences To be confirmed
Health Informatics University of Manchester

The NSHCS website will have updates on the curricular for the above subjects during its development. We will post further information when it is available.


Oversight of the HSST programme

The HSST Oversight Group (HOG) is a committee which oversees the delivery of DClinSci doctoral programmes at MAHSE partner universities. For further information regarding the membership and purpose of the committee please see the HOG Terms of Reference.