Entry requirements

SpRs coming to local clinical centres and intending to apply for the DM must discuss their application with the RI DM programme directors Prof Trevor Greenhough and Prof. Shaughn O'Brien and apply, through the official Keele route of the Graduate School, well before starting their research project. The availability of the DM programme will be dictated largely by whether the relevant clinical specialty at the clinical site concerned has the necessary academic infrastructure and expertise to supervise DMs.

1. Admission to the programme

Applicants may include Specialist Clinical Registrars during a 4- to 7-year rotation, clinicians undertaking general practice training, GPs who have completed training but wish to enter the academic arena, those in a permanent non-training clinical post (staff grade/associate clinical specialists), medical practitioners coming from overseas to carry out research locally, or others wishing to combine clinical research with specialist training.

Prospective applicants must discuss their proposed research project, timescales, and the availability of supervision in the relevant clinical specialty with the Research Institute DM programme directors Prof Trevor Greenhough and Prof. Shaughn O'Brien prior to making a formal application to the University.

Selection will be based on an interview and on evidence of appropriate prior continuing professional development. There must be clear evidence that applicants are equipped to conduct doctoral research. The process of acceptance is subject to the approval of the Research Institute Postgraduate Committee and the Graduate School. The applicant must be accepted to undertake a project specified by the Research Institute within the relevant clinical specialty, with a lead supervisor and second supervisor(s), who must be approved through the RI in the usual way.

Each student will also be allocated a mentor in the relevant clinical specialty, to oversee the clinical training (in RSTM the mentor will normally be a member of the supervisory team).

The DM programme can be offered to individuals within clinical training as an SpR or on a GP training scheme intending to do a DM and in the process of applying for funding for a project grant, but registration on the DM, approval of the project, and designation of supervisors must occur and be approved by the RI Postgraduate Committee before the research project can be begun.

2. Timescales

As for other doctorate programmes:

FT minimum 2 years maximum 4 years

PT minimum 4 years maximum 8 years

Students will be deemed to be registered full-time if, and only if, they are able to commit at least 30 hours a week to the DM programme (PhD normal expectation 35 hours a week).

Within these timescales, the usual requirements of Doctoral Progression and other landmarks as specified in the Code of Practice for Research Degrees will apply.

3. Criteria and award

In order to fulfil the requirements of the DM, students will be expected to complete the following:

  • Take modules and obtain 60 credits of research training (a pre-requisite for submission of the thesis, and equivalent to the requirements for PhD). At least 40 credits must have been awarded prior to doctoral progression.
  • Obtain 40 credits of accredited clinical training, via modules and/or portfolio. All such training must be accredited.
  • Undertake a research project in the clinical specialty and write it up into a thesis for examination (maximum 70,000 words)
  • The award will be made on the basis of the thesis, to be individually examined in the same way as other research doctorates (doctoral level criteria). The maximum length of the thesis is shorter than the equivalent theses submitted for a PhD. However, this represents a difference in the scale of the project, not its academic level. The criteria for examination of the thesis are those relating to PhD.

The DM cannot be awarded on the basis of published work; applicants wishing to pursue this route should register for a PhD by publication.

The accredited clinical training must take place after registration on the DM and allocation of a mentor, and cannot be retrospectively accredited.

Research already in progress cannot be retrospectively registered for the DM (though this does not preclude discrete phases of an ongoing project being undertaken for the DM, subsequent to registration on the programme).

Months of entry

February, September

Course content

Please note, all course information including entry requirements relates to the 2022/23 academic year.

The DM carries precisely the same academic weight as a PhD, as do the Keele professional doctorates. However, the structure makes it more relevant to the circumstances of the main market for the programme, SpRs and GPs.

The DM programme meets the following requirements:

  • The DM programme is designed to accommodate applicants from a variety of sources including medically qualified trainees (beyond F2 grade) on a 4- to 7-year rotation, with adequate time remaining to complete the DM programme.
  • The award is at Doctoral level in line with the National Qualifications Framework.
  • The defining criteria are those for a research degree in that the DM is examined principally on the basis of a thesis, and the examiners are individually appointed for that thesis. All trainees will receive training in research, and need already to have a specialist clinical background.
  • Those wishing to enrol on the DM must have guaranteed time release.
  • Students registered on the DM will be overseen by the Research Institute Postgraduate Committee in consultation with the RI DM programme director, and will be subject to the requirements of the Code of Practice on Postgraduate Research Degrees plus the requirements specific to the DM and any additional requirements specified by the RI.

Fees and funding

For information related to fees and funding, please visit the individual course page on the Keele University website.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • Doctorate
    part time
    48-96 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    24-48 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

PGR Administrator
(+44) 01782 671661