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Postgraduate Study - PhD and Research Degrees

Doctor of Clinical Research (DClinRes)


Degree types explained

  • Doctor of Clinical Research (DClinRes)

Degree duration details

Start date
September 2025
Location Streatham Campus
Study modes

Study mode details

Part time 4-6 years


  • Many years' experience in providing clinical research doctorates tailored to suit a wide variety of clinical professionals
  • Emphasis on adult lifelong learning exemplified in our problem-based learning approach
  • Commitment to equity, inclusion and promoting diversity
  • Active involvement by Experts by Experience in designing and delivering teaching, committee membership and recruitment of staff and trainees
  • Excellent range of research skills training and project opportunities
  • Leadership module focuses on leadership theory, reflexive leadership practice and the development and critique of leadership within the health sector.
  • Integration of clinical expertise, research skills and leadership in the health professions.

View 2024 Entry

How to apply

Apply online

Ask a question

Clinical doctorates website

Register interest


Web: Enquire online

Phone: +44 (0)1392 72 72 72


DClin PGR support team:

Internationally respected and fast developing social, environmental and organisational psychology research group, and a major centre for cognitive, clinical and neuroscience research

11th in the UK for internationally excellent research in Psychology

REF 2021 based on 4* and 3* research, submitted to UoA4 Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience

Top 10 in the UK for Psychology

9th (joint) in the Guardian University Guide 2024

Extensive research facilities including eye tracking, EEG/ERP and TMS laboratories, audio-visual recording suite and MRI scanner

Research overview

Our Professional Doctor of Clinical Research (DClinRes), based in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, is a unique collaboration between the School of Psychology and the University of Exeter Medical School. It has been designed to meet the challenge of providing high quality clinical research training for Allied Health Professionals (AHPs), including those in leadership roles, especially:​

  • Nursing,​
  • Radiography,​
  • Physiotherapy,​
  • Speech and language therapy,​​
  • Sport and exercise science​,
  • Also including: CBT/psychotherapy, and medicine, however all AHPs are suitable.

This Research Doctorate provides a programme of teaching, academic assignments and supervised research training and usually takes a minimum of four years part-time to complete. It may be undertaken by applicants who have completed training in a clinical or health field.

In building upon programme members’ sound clinical grounding the programme emphasises the development of evidence based practice and practice based evidence. Students are helped to consider what constitutes evidence; the particular strengths and weaknesses of particular kinds of evidence.

Exeter has an international reputation for research relevant to clinical practice. This doctoral programme is part of a wider portfolio of Clinical Doctorates within the department of Psychology at Exeter.

Delivered by leading academics and practitioners, the programme aims to educate Allied Health Professionals to shift the major focus of their research activities from a tradition characterised by work which is predominantly descriptive, cross-sectional and introspective, to one which is translational, experimental, longitudinal, generalisable and implementation focussed.

The programme includes advanced training in clinical research leadership skills and organisational practice, and is underpinned by the Medical Research Council’s mixed-methods Complex Interventions Research Framework. The Doctorate offers participants the opportunity to complete a Service Related Research Project/Quality Improvement Project linked to their area of practice allowing them to evaluate their local clinical service. In addition, participants undertake a Major Clinical Research Project related to their area of practice and aligned with the strategic aims within their local service and organisation.

The programme is based on the latest guidance for research which investigates how to develop and determine the components, efficacy, effectiveness, applicability and translational utility of complex healthcare interventions for complex interventions in medicine. It integrates investigative methods for complex interventions through a mixed methodological process of development, feasibility/piloting, evaluation and implementation.

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How to apply

In order to be considered for the DClinRes course you will normally be expected to meet all of the following criteria (or equivalent of):

  • MSc, MA or equivalent experience
  • Qualified practitioner, registration with appropriate professional body ie HCPC/NMC
  • Professional practice experience
  • Working in a setting within the health or related sector

The University is committed to an equal opportunities policy with respect to gender, age, race, sexual orientation and/or disability when dealing with applications. It is also committed to widening access to higher education to students from a diverse range of backgrounds and experience.

English language requirements

International students need to show they have the required level of English language to study this course. The required test scores for this course fall under Profile B2: view the required test scores and equivalencies from your country.

You can apply online using our application portal, where you will be able to submit your research proposal, academic CV and other supporting documents

Application dates

The DClinRes is not accepting admissions for the academic year 24/25. The next intake will be for a September 2025 start. Applications will be open in January 2025.

We offer interviews in Summer. Interviews can take place in the university in person, or remotely (on MS Teams or Zoom).

Interviews will be scheduled in late June.

Offers will be made at the beginning of July.

After 1 July we accept applications on a rolling individual basis.

Please note: programmes are subject to minimum enrolment cohort numbers.


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Fees and funding

Tuition fees per year 2024/25


  • £8,500 per annum for years 1 and 2, and £5,000 per annum for years 3 to 6


  • £10,500 per annum for years 1 and 2; £7,900 per annum for years 3 to 6

Tuition fees per year 2023/24


  • £7,500 year 1 and 2; £3,800 year 3 to 6 


  • £8,500 year 1 and 2; £5,500 year 3 to 6 

Our Postgraduate Funding webpage provides links to further information. If you are considering a PhD in the future, in addition to University of Exeter funding, we have been successful at securing postgraduate funding for PhD research through our Funded centres.

Current available funding

Course content

This is a part time doctorate designed to fit in with qualified practitioners' existing commitments, draw upon their existing clinical practice and provide a framework for continuing professional development.

The course structure consists of: 

  • Typically short teaching blocks (2-4 days) 5 times a year (which are the only times that attendance at the University of Exeter site is essential), with online teaching in between these blocks.
  • Occasional facilitated tutorials based on specific assignments, convened across the UK that can also be accessed internationally via Teams or similar video communications platforms.
  • Individual research supervision from a named supervisor, who is your main contact after the first two years of the programme, as you work on the major clinical research project.
  • Self-study (on average a day a week) to study, complete assignments, and conduct research.

Example programme Structure

Below is a typical outline of modules providing examples of what you can expect to learn on this course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, and student demand.

PHASE 1 (Pre-thesis)
(300 credits)

On successful completion of Phase 1, you may progress to Phase 2.

PHASE 2 (thesis)
(240 credits)

On successful completion of both Phase 1 and Phase 2, you may be awarded the DClinRes degree.

PSYD050 Advanced Skills in Clinical Research and Critical Appraisal

90 Credits

One 50,000 word thesis within the chosen special field pathway (240 credits)

PSYD052 Service-related Research Project

60 Credits

PSYD051 Major Research Project Proposal

60 Credits

PSYD057 Reflective Organisational Practice and Advanced Clinical and Research Leadership

90 Credits


Progression through the first two years of the doctorate requires successful completion of continuously assessed tasks which are coordinated across the first four modules to ensure a reasonable workload. These are supplemented with a number of formatively assessed assignments.

Feedback is regularly sought from students on the quality of teaching and all other aspects of the programme.

Selected examples of projects completed by graduates of this programme:

  • Boswell, L. (2021), Making sense of relationship and sexual adjustment in heterosexual couples living with vulvodynia: an interpretative phenomenological analysis.
  • Mullan, J.P. (2020), the experiences of physiotherapy independent prescribing in primary care: implications for professional identity and practice.
  • Evans, A.E. (2018), Supervisors’ and supervisees’ perspectives of mindfulness-based supervision: a grounded theory study
  • Cantin, P. (2017), Quality Assurance Procedures in Non-Obstetric Diagnostic Ultrasound: A Study of the Reliability of Current Methods.
  • Parrot, L. (2014), Communication participation for adult aided communicators with cerebral palsy; a discourse analytic approach.
  • Harris, R. (2013), Experiencing the research role of the consultant radiographer: a grounded theory study.

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As well as senior and experienced trained clinicians who are also working in various clinical settings, teaching on the programme, students also have access to senior, research active supervisors and teachers in a range of research methodologies, qualitative and quantitative, with a wide spectrum of research interests. For more information about the course team and their clinical and research interests, see our Staff Profiles. 

You can expect:

  • High-quality research supervision to develop and nurture your potential
  • A tailored supervision approach to help best suit your requirements
  • Accessible supervisors who are enthusiastic about working directly with postgraduate research students
  • Regular meetings with your supervisor
  • Regular meetings with your supervisory team, other members of your research group, and mentors