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Clinical Doctorates

Study towards a doctorate degree in nursing, midwifery or professional health services on the only course of its kind in Scotland.

Clinical Doctorates
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Key facts

  • Award Doctorate
  • Start date September
  • Duration Doctorate full-time: 36 months, Doctorate part-time: 48 to 96 months
  • Mode of study Part-time, Full-time, Campus based, Stand-alone modules

Our Clinical Doctorate is the only one of its kind in Scotland, tailored to the needs of nurses, midwives and allied health professionals. The course is practice-focused and has been designed to prepare you for leadership roles in the healthcare sector.

If you’re passionate about improving patient care, whilst retaining a clinical focus, this course is designed for you. You’ll join professionals from a range of disciplines for on-campus and online study, benefitting not only from the extensive knowledge of the Clinical Doctorate team, but also from each other’s experiences. As a qualified Doctor of Nursing, Midwifery or Professional Health Studies you’ll have the highest level of academic qualification available within your specialism – placing you at the forefront of your profession as a recognised, highly employable expert.

Healthcare professionals on the course could include: nurses, midwives, dieticians, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, paramedics, speech and language therapists, podiatrists, sport psychologists and genetic counsellors.

  • Top reasons to study with us
  • Course objectives

    Our Clinical Doctorate course aims to develop you as a clinically focussed senior Nurse, Midwife or Allied Health Professional and put you at the cutting edge of clinical research and practice in your field. Working autonomously, you’ll be able to design and execute research that deals with problems and issues in practice, as well as applying integrated approaches to the evaluation of new and complex ideas and information.

    The course is designed to help you:

    • tackle complex ideas and challenge established modes of thinking
    • develop research and scholarship skills harnessed imaginatively to the field of clinical practice
    • prepare to be at the cutting edge of clinical and research practice for your area of expertise
    • become familiar with leading-edge research and enhance your ability to redesign the clinical environment and understanding of the research process
  • Flexible learning

    If you’re interested in studying a module from this course, the Postgraduate Certificate or the Postgraduate Diploma then please email Graduate Admissions to discuss your course of study.

  • Research

    Our research is world-class and is recognised for its quality and innovation. Highlights from the most Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014) analysis include:

    • our Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport was ranked first in Scotland for research, and in the UK’s top 15
    • our research environment was ranked joint 1st in the UK
    • nearly 90% of our peer-reviewed research papers were rated as being of international significance

    This course is also closely affiliated with the Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions Research Unit – a highly regarded research body whose expertise feeds into our Clinical Doctorate course.

  • Academic requirements
    • Candidates should normally hold a Masters degree and/or a good Honours degree or equivalent from a university or college recognised by the University of Stirling.
    • UK candidates should hold an appropriate nursing, midwifery or allied health professional qualification and registration.
    • International candidates should hold an appropriate nursing, midwifery or allied health professional qualification and be able to provide evidence of the governance of their professional standards and professional registration (where it exists).
    • Candidates should normally have at least five years post-registration/qualification experience.
    • Selection follows consideration of written application and statement.
  • 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 sub-skill
    • Cambridge C1 Advanced (CAE) 176 overall with a minimum of 169 in each sub-skill
    • Cambridge C2 Proficiency (CPE) 180 overall with a minimum of 169 in each sub-skill
    • Pearson Test of English (Academic) 60 overall with 56 in each sub-skill
    • IBT TOEFL 80 overall with 18 in reading, 23 in writing, 19 in listening and 21 in speaking
    • Trinity ISE II Pass overall and Merit in all sub-skills, ISE III Pass overall and in all sub-skills, ISE IV Pass overall and in all sub-skills

    Last updated: 5 December 2019

    For more information on ways that you can meet our English language requirements, including options to waive the requirement, please read our information on English language requirements.

  • Pre-sessional English language courses

    If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO University of Stirling offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree.

    Find out more about our pre-sessional English language courses.

Aim for the top of your profession with our unique Clinical Doctorate course.

The course 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, with each taught module studied over one semester.


The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery in the next academic intake of this course. These may be subject to change as the University regularly revises and refreshes the curriculum of our taught programmes.

Course Details

  • Teaching

    Throughout your studies, you can expect easy access to staff through regular face-to-face contact, video conferencing, email and phone. You’ll benefit from tutorial time in preparation for each assignment, and detailed feedback afterward. Our online learning environment, Canvas, is also available to you via the University portal, and each taught module is supported by a bespoke set of web pages where information, teaching materials and learning resources are uploaded by the module coordinator. Keynote contributions are also made to the Clinical Doctorate course by UK and international academics.

    You can study this course full-time over three years or, more commonly, over four to eight years on a part-time basis. The period of study will also vary depending on whether you study for a Doctorate, Masters Degree or Postgraduate Diploma:



    4-6 years



    2-3 years



    1-2 years



    4-8 years



    3-6 years



    1.5-4 years

  • Assessment

    The main method of assessment for each module is coursework, with one practice-based examination. You’ll have to successfully complete all taught modules before progressing to the research stage of the course.

  • Classroom hours

    The timetable below is a typical example, but your own timetable may be different.

    Each module consists of two three-day blocks and six weeks of independent study.

    3 Sept - 5 Sept

    NURPD01: Contemporary Health Care Theory and Research

    3 Nov - 5 Nov

    12 Jan

    Assignment due

    2 Feb - 4 Feb

    NURPD02: Project Management in Health Care Organisations

    8 March - 10 March

    19 April

    Assignment due

    6 Sept - 8 Sept

    NURPD03: Research Design for Clinical Practice

    1 Nov - 3 Nov

    22 Nov

    Assignment 1 due

    10 Jan

    Assignment 2 due


    Work with Supervisor to develop research proposal

    Feb - June

    NURPD04: Expert Practice

    2 May

    Assignment due (research proposal)

    Feb - June

    Observation and examination

    Subsequent 4 - 6 years

    NURPD05: Practice Based Empirical research
    Submission of thesis

  • Course director
  • Key staff

    The core Doctorate team includes:

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

    Ask an expert

    Jayne Donaldson

    Professor Jayne Donaldson explains why Stirling is the ideal place to study health sciences and sport.

    Ask an expert in health sciences and sport

  • Fees and costs
    2020/21 fees

    Home/EU students

    Overseas students

    Full programme fee £15,400 £31,050

    If you need to extend your period of study, you may be liable for an additional fee.

    If you are not studying full-time, the fee for each year will be calculated based on the number of credits you enrol on each year. Your fees will be held at the same level throughout your course.

    For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

    Doctoral loans

    If you're domiciled in England or Wales you may be eligible to apply for a doctoral loan of up to £25,700 from your regional body:

  • Scholarships and funding

    If you have the talent, ability and drive to study with us, we want to make sure you make the most of the opportunity – regardless of your financial circumstances.

    Learn more about available funding opportunities or use our scholarship finder to explore our range of scholarships.

  • Additional costs

    There are some instances where additional fees may apply. Depending on your chosen course, you may need to pay additional costs, for example for field trips. Learn more about additional fees.

  • Cost of living

    If you’re domiciled in the UK, you can typically apply to your relevant funding body for help with living costs. This usually takes the form of student loans, grants or bursaries, and the amount awarded depends upon your personal circumstances and household income.

    EU and overseas students won’t normally be able to claim living support through SAAS or other UK public funding bodies. You should contact the relevant authority in your country to find out if you’re eligible to receive support.

    Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

  • Payment options

    We aim to be as flexible as possible, and offer a wide range of payment methods - including the option to pay fees by instalments. Learn more about how to pay

  • 1st in Scotland and top 15 in the UK for Health Sciences (REF2014)
  • 96% of our postgraduate leavers are in employment or further study within six months of graduating (Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey 2016/17)
  • Top 15 in the UK for nursing (QS World University Rankings 2018)

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) in the UK and health services in other countries a Professional Doctorate in health is seen as an essential academic qualification for progressing to higher level posts.

Graduates have reported the 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
  • Employability skills

    As well as greatly enhancing your expertise in your field of healthcare, your studies at the University of Stirling will help you to sharpen transferrable skills in areas such as:

    • Leadership
    • Analytical thinking
    • Research
    • Communication and teamwork
    • Decision making
  • Companies we work with
    Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions Research Unit

    The Faculty hosts the Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions Research Unit (NMAHP-RU), 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.

    The Institute of 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.

    Staff from across the Faculty, NMAHP-RU and ISM are committed to sharing their expertise with you every step of the way as you study for your Clinical Doctorate.

Karn Cliffe
I appreciated the relaxed and supportive atmosphere in class from lecturers and classmates.
Karn Cliffe
Ireland Doctor of Midwifery
Read full testimonial View more testimonials
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Clinical Doctorates (Nursing)

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