Postgraduate study
Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

Clinical Trials (Online Learning) MSc, PgCert, PgDip, PgProfDev

Awards: MSc, PgCert, PgDip, PgProfDev

Study modes: Part-time, Part-time Intermittent Study

Online learning

Funding opportunities

You can work full-time in clinical trials or a clinical background and study for this degree. I personally feel that studying with the University of Edinburgh has been the best experience for me.

Asha Mathews MSc Clinical Trials, graduate
Asha Mathews               MSc Clinical Trials, graduate

Never more relevant, our mission is to equip our global students with the principles underpinning the design, management, appraisal and reporting of clinical trials to improve health.

Study with us to gain a qualification in the theory and practice of health care interventions including randomised control trials. Our suite of online courses allows students to qualify at Certificate, Diploma and Masters level.

Who is it for?

The programme will support the demand for appropriately qualified health professionals to lead clinical trials of all phases. It is suitable for graduates in medicine, nursing, pharmacy, life sciences and other allied disciplines involved in Clinical Trials. It also attracts students who are working in clinical trials but have not studied for many years, and people who wish to move into the field of clinical trials and change their career.

How is it taught?

Each course is divided into a set of themed sections in which material is presented in a blend of short online lectures, practical case studies, directed readings, podcasts and archived webinars. Discussion board tasks and live expert guest lectures offer an opportunity for collaborative critical discourse and debate of current issues under the guidance of expert teaching staff.

Online learning is a way to study for an internationally recognised qualification without needing to attend classes on campus. It is aimed at those who wish to study for a postgraduate qualification alongside work or other commitments.

Online programmes are of equal value to on-campus programmes. The only difference is the way the course is delivered. Our online learning platform enables you to communicate with our highly qualified teaching staff from the comfort of your own home or work place.

As an online student you have access to the University's excellent resources. We use the latest in educational technology tools and systems. Our VLE has a modern, intuitive, fully accessible and responsive interface, delivering a powerful teaching and learning experience on any device with an internet connection, anytime, anywhere.

The programme is delivered fully online with a study commitment of 12-15 hours per week. It has been designed to embrace the role that technology can play to enhance teaching, learning and assessment, allowing for a flexible approach that caters to different ways of learning.

Each student will be supported as an active member of a vibrant global online community where the learning is facilitated by tutors, tasks and materials that foster active, relevant and collaborative learning.

Find out more about the benefits and practicalities of studying for an online degree:

You can study to Masters, Diploma or Certificate level.

In year one, students will follow 2 compulsory courses ensuring a solid foundation in the basics of randomised control trials and medical statistics, and the ethical and regulatory context underpinning clinical research.

Our suite of elective courses offers students the opportunity to explore areas of interest in more depth and to tailor the programme to their own learning needs and career goals.

  • Year 1 – Certificate - Two 20 credit compulsory courses and one 20 credit elective

  • Year 2 – Diploma - a total of 60 credits from our list of electives

  • Year 3 – Masters - dissertation year 60 credits

We also offer the option for students to take individual courses under the Postgraduate Professional Development (PPD) scheme. Tuition fees are paid on a course-by-course basis.

Find out more:

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScClinical Trials3 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2024/25
PgCertClinical Trials1 YearPart-timeProgramme structure 2024/25
PgDipClinical Trials2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2024/25
PgProfDevClinical TrialsUp to 2 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyProgramme structure 2024/25

Graduates of this programme will have gained:

  • a critical understanding of the principles, science and evidence underpinning clinical trials

  • the ability to critique current approaches in clinical trial design and implementation

  • the capacity to take responsibility for their own learning and development within the clinical trials environment

  • the ability to communicate the design, implementation and results of clinical trials to a variety of audiences

  • the resolve to work professionally and with integrity in a multi-disciplinary research team to deliver effective clinical trials

  • the skills to design, implement and report clinical trials

Our Certificate, Diploma and Masters courses are designed to improve your prospects in the rapidly growing field of clinical trials research. Students have found excellent opportunities in academia, the public and non-profit health sectors and industry including pharmaceutical and biotech companies and contract research organisations (CROs).

Roles exist in a variety of areas including:

  • Clinical research - trial managers, administrators, clinical research associates

  • Quality Assurance and Control - trial monitors, QA managers, pharmacovigilance

  • Data management - data managers, biostatistics and programming

  • Regulatory affairs - global regulatory lead, information management associate, executive roles

  • Medical affairs - Chief and Principal Investigators, medical liaison, medical communications and writing

  • Product development - medical devices

Some comments from past graduates

I have gained so much from hearing about different practices from around the world.

The online discussions were an invaluable part of the course.

The focus on clinical practice is an advantage of this course.

Staff are very supportive.

You can work full-time in clinical trials or a clinical background and study for this degree. I personally feel that studying with the University of Edinburgh has been the best experience for me.

The group work was really useful. I felt I got to know the students.

As English is not my first language I found that whenever a concept is difficult to understand, I was able to re-watch lectures and review online notes at my convenience.

Listen to two of our graduates describe how they benefited from our programme.

These entry requirements are for the 2024/25 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2025/26 academic year will be published on 1 Oct 2024.

A medical degree (MBChB or equivalent), or a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent in medicine, nursing, pharmacy, biological sciences, life sciences, biomedicine, statistics or other related discipline.

We may also consider your application if you have 3-5 years' relevant work experience; please contact the programme team to check before you apply. You may be admitted to certificate level only in the first instance.

Students from China

This degree is Band D.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

Regardless of your nationality or country of residence, you must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component. We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 59 in each component.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries (non-MESC).

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than five years old* at the beginning of your programme of study. (*Revised 05 March 2024 to extend degree validity to five years.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

Tuition fees

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScClinical Trials3 YearsPart-timeTuition fees
PgCertClinical Trials1 YearPart-timeTuition fees
PgDipClinical Trials2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees
PgProfDevClinical TrialsUp to 2 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyTuition fees

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Usher Institute of Population Health and Informatics
  • Old Medical School
  • Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG
Programme start date Application deadline
9 September 2024 23 August 2024

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

You must submit one reference with your application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Usher Institute of Population Health and Informatics
  • Old Medical School
  • Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG