Careers Service

Healthcare Science

Most healthcare scientists in the UK are trained by and then go on to work for the National Health Service (NHS). A range of positions are available within the NHS for physicists and chemists, as well as biological scientists. The NHS England and Wales scheme for graduate level recruitment into scientific roles is called the Scientist Training Programme (STP). NHS Scotland and HSC Northern Ireland manage their own recruitment programmes.

About the STP

Graduates apply for a three-year, fixed term, integrated training programme of workplace-based learning and a Master's degree in their chosen specialism. Trainees are employed by a single NHS trust. In the first year of training they undertake four rotations in related departments, followed by 18 months of specialist training. Some of the rotations could be with other NHS trusts, so you must be prepared to travel to work. After this period of training, successful trainees will be in a position to apply for NHS posts as healthcare scientists and to the appropriate professional register.

Biomedical Science in the NHS

The BSc Biomedical Science degree programme at The University of Manchester is not accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS). This means you may not be able to enter the NHS directly as a Biomedical Scientist unless you undertake further study. Lab managers often favour graduates holding an IBMS accredited as they will already have completed their first year’s professional training and will be closer to professional registration.

The good news is that your degree is perfectly eligible to apply for a place on the STP!

More information about the difference between the STP and Biomedical Science for Manchester bioscience students

Getting in and getting experience

Applicants must have an honours degree (1st or 2:1) in a pure or applied science area relevant to the specialism for which they are applying. Applicants with a relevant 2:2 degree will also be considered if they have an MSc or PhD in the specialism for which they are applying.

An MSc or a PhD in a relevant subject area may be advantageous when applying for trainee positions, but is not a requirement. NB. An undergraduate or integrated Masters (e.g. MChem, MPhys or MSci) is not considered as equivalent to an MSc by the STP.

Additional skills and experience, such as involvement with research projects and publications, may also be useful. Relevant work experience, particularly within a clinical or NHS setting, is also helpful and some NHS trusts will accept students for industrial placements. Some NHS trusts outsource clinical tests to external diagnostic labs like SYNLAB, Unilabs and Serco – getting experience here would help your application, as would experience with suppliers of consumables like IVDs.

Details of all STP training posts are advertised on the NHS Jobs website and there are further details of the scheme and a list of all the posts on the NHS Careers website.

The careers service maintains a blog post on applying for the STP with advice and tips for applicants. We also have additional information for Manchester students – just ask at the Atrium.

NB. The STP is extremely competitive – it is important to have a back-up plan in case you are unsuccessful.

Further information

See also