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.

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.

Months of entry


Course content

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.

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.

Information for international students

Candidates require an IELTS score of 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in any subtest.

Fees and funding

Please see the funding page for more details.

Qualification and course duration


part time
48-96 months
full time
24-48 months

Course contact details

Zara Richards
(+44) 01782 674086