Clinical Doctorates

Study Clinical Doctorates and graduate with a university degree


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Clinical Doctorates
  • Type Full-time, Part-time
  • Start date Students usually begin the programme at the start of a new academic year, in September.

Nursing, Midwifery & Health University of Stirling
Tel: +44 (0) 1786 466337

  • Doctor of Midwifery
  • Doctor of Nursing
  • Doctor of Professional Health Studies (Dietetics; Genetic Counselling; Occupational Therapy; Physiotherapy; Podiatry; Radiography, Speech & Language Therapy)

These doctoral programmes are specifically designed for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals who wish to remain in clinical practice. These programmes equip you to integrate practice experience, research and project management to enhance clinical effectiveness. They permit you to develop a full range of research skills and related roles with focus maintained on clinical practice.

Entrance 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; have at least five years’ post-registration experience. Selection follows consideration of written application and interview.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence of your proficiency such as a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 (minimum 6 in each skill) or TOEFL 577/233/90 (Paper/Computer/Internet).

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.

Our range of pre-sessional courses.

Course start date

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

Structure and content

The programme is designed to change the way you think. You are expected to make a significant difference to your clinical environment from the very beginning of the programme. Ideas and methods from other academic disciplines are applied to your own fields of expertise.

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 initially brings you up to date with the latest ideas, findings and methods, challenging assumptions and changing how nurses, midwives and allied health professionals think about the relationship between research, scholarship and expertise.
  • The second module moves on to look at new ideas about systems, how decisions are made and how to design the clinical environment so that nurses, midwives and allied health professionals can see, understand, evaluate, plan and take action with maximum speed and efficiency.
  • The third module develops your ability to conduct significant health care research, including research design, experiments, sampling methods, measurement, statistics and qualitative methods. It forms the basis for the thesis proposal.
  • The fourth module assesses your expert practice, utilising observations, viva voce examination and, where possible, patient input.

Following two years of taught modules, you progress to the empirical research stage and ultimately construct a thesis of approximately 40,000 words on a topic that will enhance the knowledge base in your field of practice.

Delivery and assessment

Assessment includes coursework, expert practice examination and the thesis itself. Two active researchers supervise your research project and the programme is supported by face-to-face contact, video-conferencing, email and internet facilities. On-campus attendance is kept to a minimum.

Postgraduate Diploma and Master’s exit points are available.

Course Director

Dr Kathleen Stoddart

RAE rating

In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), 20 percent of Nursing, Midwifery and Health’s research was described as ‘World-leading’ and a further 65 percent as of ‘International Significance’, placing us firmly as the leading nursing and midwifery department in Scotland and one of the top ten in the UK.

Our students

It’s the first programme I’ve ever done that I feel doesn’t stand in the way of my professional work. With other programmes, I’ve felt as if the two have just gone along in parallel. I think this is intertwined. It’s part and parcel of what you’re doing clinically.

I think there is more support for students on this programme than on anything else I’ve ever done before, in all sorts of ways. And there’s a lot of time set aside in case you just want someone to look at your work, give you guidance, and point you in the right direction. Those sorts of things are extremely valuable.

The downside is, it is such a leap, and it’s so intense. And you have to face up to being challenged.

If you are inspired by nursing, then this programme is inspiring. I’ve never regretted being a nurse, and this programme has really fed the enthusiasm I have for professional nursing because it’s inspiring and challenging at the same time.

Our staff

The core Doctorate team includes:

Dr Kathleen Stoddart; Dr Carol Bugge and Mr John Paley.

Far-reaching clinical expertise feeds into the programme and into student supervision. Keynote contributions are made to the clinical doctorate programme by UK and International academics.

Career opportunities

93% of Stirling graduates are in employment or further study six months after graduation.


You should expect to pay fees for every year you are in attendance and be aware fees are subject to revision and may increase annually. Students on programmes of study of more than one year should take this into account when applying.


information on possible sources of funding