NHS Scientist Training Programme – NB Old Post

This was an old out-of-date post (information now deleted). Information on applying to the 2016 NHS Scientist Training Programme can now be found here.



Elizabeth View All →

Careers Consultant (Postgraduate) at the University of Manchester, UK

20 Comments Leave a comment

  1. are all trainee positions through the scheme, or are somet positions available not through the scheme, for example posted by a trust onto the nhs jobs website?

    • Hi Jade

      From past experience, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on the NHS Jobs site, as well as the formal announcement of the STP scheme. The bulk of the jobs will be collected together and advertised/assessed starting in Jan/Feb but in the past, there have been a few advertised later in the year, as one-off jobs. In addition, there may be jobs advertised which are not part of the STP, but could give you the experience you need to make a really good application next time round.

      Keep your eyes peeled!

  2. Hi, I am a 3rd year undergrad student wishing to apply for the 2013 process. Will I be able to apply even though at the time of application I will not have finished my degree? Or would I better waiting and applying for the 2014 cycle? I really want to do it this year if I can! Thanks! Charlotte

    • Hi Charlotte

      You can definitely apply if you’re in your final year. The jobs advertised in the 2013 round (Jan/Feb 2013 still looks the likely time) will start in September 2013 – perfect timing if you’ve graduated in June/July.

      On the other hand, some undergraduates don’t really have the right sort of experience, or enough of it, to make a really great application during their final year. It’s definitely worth trying to get in straight after graduating, but if you don’t get in this year, have a back-up plan to get more of the right sort of experience, and plan to apply again next year.


  3. Hi,

    I was just wondering are there any open days for NHS STP in Neurosensory pathway? I have seen some in Medical Physics but none other than that. Thank you.

    • Hi Sana

      As far as I know, only a few official open days have been announced so far, and they all seem to focus on medical physics. I suspect this is because that’s where most demand will be (going on recruitment in previous years), coupled with the fact that fewer physicists and engineers will be aware of opportunities in the NHS. On the other hand, just about every life science based undergrad and postgrad knows there are jobs in the NHS, so the problem is more about lowering expectations, rather than raising awareness!

      However, there’s a good lesson here. If you want to improve your chances of getting into the NHS STP, you do need to have found out what it really involves, from people doing the job. Those who are really keen won’t wait until there’s a convenient local open day in their preferred specialism – they will already be making contacts in a local hospital and organising their own individual visit or at least discussion with someone in their specialism. The fact that there’s no simple way of doing this will mark out the really keen ones from the rest.

      I think this will be particularly important for the neurosensory pathway, as it’s a recent addition to the STP, so there won’t be many (any?) graduates who have already completed that pathway. You’ll have to talk to those who’ve entered the profession through different routes, listen to their views of the ways the profession is likely to change, and come to your own conclusions of whether it’s for you.

      Do keep an eye on that NHS events page on Facebook though, as that’s where new open days are likely to be advertised.


  4. Hi,

    I have a mixed educational/research background. I obtained a 2.1 in Anatomy and Physiology. Then went on to work as a Research Technician in an Immunology lab. I want to apply for Clinical Biochemistry but wondering if I stand a chance since my degree was not in Biochemistry or any or the listed degree commonly accepted for the Clinical Biochemistry training course? Thanks for any help you can give me.

    • Hi ST

      I’m not really qualified to tell you whether the NHS would accept the subject of your first degree for this specialism. That said, you’d probably need to make a case for the content of your first degree covering topics relevant to biochemistry. They’ll expect you to already have a strong grounding in this specialism, so if you only touched on it in a few modules, you would struggle.

      You could either ask this on the NHS Facebook page (where you can get help directly from those involved with the STP), on any open day which is relevant to clinical biochemistry, see if you can find any NHS clinical biochemists who are recruiting and ask them, or possibly ask those who are offering the MSc in Blood Sciences which you’ll have to do. (Guess where that is? Sunny Manchester! However, they’ll probably only be able to help with whether you have enough of a background to tackle the MSc, not whether that would convince the NHS as an employer).

      Sorry I can’t give you any inside info on this!

  5. Hi there,

    I was just wondering if you would know how many questions and how long the online numerical and logical reasoning tests each will last? And if there are any similar examples to use as practice ones?


    • Hi Simone

      I’m afraid I haven’t tried the tests myself (I’d have to submit an application to try them out) so can’t say how many questions there are, but the NHS website does say you should allow up to 40 mins for each test. This may include reading the instructions and doing a couple of practice examples, so don’t assume you’ve got 40 mins to complete them all (might only be 30 mins).

      The link already given in the post will take you to practice tests from the right test provider. If you want more practice tests, we have a webpage (http://www.careers.manchester.ac.uk/students/applicationsinterviews/psychometric/practicetests/) with links to other practice tests. Unless you are a University of Manchester student, you won’t be able to use the “Take the online assessment” link on that page (you’d have to login) but the other links at the bottom of the page should be available.

      Best of luck

  6. hi,
    first of all, its is great site and it is really helpful..
    I have a general question. I have graduated in BSc. Biomedical Sciences specialises in Biochemistry but this year I have graduated in MSc. Cancer Pharmacology. At the moment, my interested in undergoing medical physics to become a radiotherapy. Would I need A – Level Physics for this scheme? Bear in mind, that I have good knowledge of physics where I have understood most of components relating to medical physics when I visited the open event at Portsmouth.


    • Hi Waqas

      Thanks for the comments about the site – good to know it’s appreciated. Regarding your question, to be honest, I’d be surprised if your background was suitable for the medical physics strand of the STP. You’d start off doing a Masters in Medical Physics, so they’d expect a degree-level understanding of physics or similar (eg engineering) as a foundation. “A good knowledge of physics” isn’t quite the same as passing an honours physics degree with a 2:1!

      However, from your comment re wanting “to become a radiotherapy”, maybe medical physics isn’t really what you’re after anyway? Medical physicists work on the technology, developing new equipment and techniques, and in some cases using medical physics equipment with patients. However, the radiographers are the ones who directly interact most with patients. These are either Diagnostic Radiographers who use that imaging equipment and techniques developed by the medical physicists to diagnose and interpret patient problems, or there are Therapeutic Radiographers, sometimes known as Radiotherapy Radiographers (maybe that’s where you got your terminology?) who use ionising radiation to treat patients.

      There are very different entry programmes for radiographers, normally with a radiography first degree, but there are also accelerated 2 yr postgraduate programmes for those with a relevant life science degree, like you.

      More info here: NHS Careers – Radiographer

      Hope that clarifies

  7. Hello everyone. After finishing my online tests I got this emal:

    Thank you for completing the online tests for the NHS Scientist Training Programme.

    We will aim to start contacting candidates in March to inform you on the outcome of your application.

    Kind regards,

    The NHS Scientist Training Programme Recruitment Team

    Does that mean that I pass the tests?

    • Hi Marinos

      I’ve searched through the NHS Facebook page, and it looks like you’re OK (unless they raise the cut-off mark – see later):

      http://www.facebook.com/NHSGraduateScheme/posts/548957615123896 – apparently you get an email straight away if you’ve failed, so the March email is good news.

      On the other hand, there are also messages on their Facebook page from the NHS saying that if they have far too many people passing the tests for some strands, they reserve the right to increase the pass mark by a percentage or two, to get to the numbers that they can actually handle at interview.

      Congrats on getting through the tests so far – fingers crossed for the next stage!


  8. Hi Elizabeth,
    I would very much appreciate it if you could kindly answer my question about the entry requirements for the NHS STP medical physics field. Basically I will graduate with a degree in Mathematics, and I am eager to know whether I can apply to the NHS STP medical physics field with my degree. I have read above that the degree subjects required are ‘pure or applied physics, engineering, applied mathematics’. This is giving me cause to worry as my degree title is BSc Mathematics, not applied mathematics. However I do feel that I have studied the applications of maths, as well as areas of physics in my degree. Also, I have emailed the NHS but not recieved a reply for a long time. I therefore emailed King’s College London to find out whether my degree is acceptable for their MSc Medical Engineering & Physics (which is part of the NHS STP medical physics programme), and they have agreed that I am eligible. However I am still worried and confused that the NHS has stated ‘applied mathematics’. Please advise me on whether or not I am eligible. Many thanks

    • Hi Mia

      I’m sorry but I can’t really help with more detailed entry requirements for the STP – you need an answer directly from the NHS on this one. If you haven’t got any reply by email, have you tried their Facebook page? They seem to respond pretty regularly to enquiries left there. You could also see if you can contact someone in a Medical Physics role within a local hospital, to see what they would think of your degree & experience.

      Sorry I can’t help further but I don’t have any inside info on this one.

  9. Hi,
    I am Medical Technologist with 2 year technical and managing experience in busy hematology laboratory. I wish to apply for NHS scientist training programme in blood science for the year 2015, Can any one guide me?


  10. I graduated from india in the field of bachellor of allied health science(specializes in clinical laboratory technology) my grading was first class with distinction. I was taught in english medium from pre primary till bachellor degree… am I eligible for nhs scientist training programme,do I need to produce english profeciency test certificate. Thanks.

    • I’m afraid I cannot answer that. You will need to check the information on the website and ask them directly if necessary.

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