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Clinical Research Executive MSc/PgDip/PgCert - Part-time

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  • Objectives
    This course has been developed in direct response to the needs of both employers and employees who are already working in a Clinical Research environment or a related field and want to formalise their experience, or diversify into other areas. It is structured to enable those already working to study part time and to cover relevant and practical subject areas to enhance the knowledge already acquired by working in this field, and to provide a formal qualification to acknowledge existing experience. Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to: * demonstrate a detailed understanding of the concepts, principles and methodologies critical for the discipline of clinical research * critically appraise the legislative, regulatory, managerial and commercial pressures and obligations within clinical research * understand the processes required to test a research hypothesis and the need for statistical integration into protocol design * describe the aims, objectives and practical application of clinical research methodologies * discuss the moral, ethical, social and economic matters which influence clinical research and its associated industries * gain a more detailed understanding of a specific area of clinical research related to your current employment * demonstrate, via your research thesis, the practical methods and analysis required to acquire original clinical research data.
  • Entry requirements
    A good honours degree from a UK university, or equivalent and preferably at least one years experience in a relevant field. In certain cases a blend of qualifications, motivation and relevant experience will be acceptable. Where applicable, students must demonstrate competency in English, such as a minimum International English Language Testing System Score (IELTS) of 6.5 or Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) 580. Our Academic Summer Programme offers pre-sessional training in English.
  • Course description
    This Clinical Research Executive MSc course has been developed in collaboration with the Institute of Clinical Research (ICR) in order to ensure that all of these requirements are being met by emerging practitioners.The credibility afforded to the course, through Cranfield’s industrially focused reputation and the ICR’s experience as an organisation at the forefront of clinical research, ensures that your ability to work to industry standards will be formally recognised by employers and colleagues alike.

    This course is ideal for those already working in a clinical research environment who would like to obtain a formal qualification and is specially designed to support those who need to fit study into their working life. Past students have been from both small and large pharmaceutical organisations and contract research companies as well as NHS facilities.

    The MSc comprises a formal taught ten-module course and a research project and thesis. Modules are delivered in up to five two and a half day sessions per year. Candidates are required to attend at least four of the ten modules in the first year, with the remaining modules taken over the following 1 or 2 years. These modules are campus based, unlike similar courses offered elsewhere which are usually by distance learning, so you will receive strong support from fellow students and peers and direct access to teaching staff. Examinations are taken at the end of the final year.  

    Duration of course:

    Part time – up to three years

    Award type:


    Course start date:


    Course structure

    The course is divided into two parts:

    Taught modules

    The course consists of a formal taught component comprising ten intensive modules, requiring students to attend the lectures for only two and a half days per module. A maximum of five modules can be taken per year. There is extensive support to enable students who are currently employed to be able to attend these modules. Cranfield University campus has excellent transport links and several hotels and accommodation options on site making it a very easy place to attend modules.

    This element constitutes 50% of the overall mark. Marks for the taught course component are obtained from a series of assessed assignments which may take the form of a written piece, group work, and /or an oral presentation. Wherever possible, these have been designed to test the application of the knowledge gained during the lectures of each module to the real world. There are also integrated examinations at the end of the taught course. These examinations test the students’ ability to assimilate, integrate and apply knowledge acquired throughout the whole taught course.

    Research project

    This element constitutes the remaining 50% of the overall mark. The research project is normally undertaken in your place of work, which allows students to apply their learning and make a difference in your own environment.

    The marks are obtained from a combination of a submitted thesis, oral presentation of your research, and application and initiative shown during the project.

    Course content

    The course content has been designed to build on the skills students already working in a career in clinical research have gained, and to formalise their qualification. The modules are delivered in intensive two and a half day courses, based at Cranfield Campus.


    1 Introduction to Clinical Trials and Clinical Trials Practice

    2 Biomedical Basis of Human Disease

    3 Experimental Methods: Advanced Design and Analysis

    4 Business Management and Health Economics

    5 Preclinical Evaluation   

    6 Research Governance and Ethics      

    7 Clinical Evaluation I: Practical and Scientific Perspectives of Translational Medicine   

    8 Clinical Evaluation II: Commercial Aspects and Implications Affecting Clinical Research    

    9 Clinical Evaluation III: Regulatory Requirements and Seeking Approval

    10 Clinical Evaluation IV: Clinical Research-Marketing Interface


    Personal Research project

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