Stage One

Code Title Status Action
HLS210 Antimicrobial chemotherapy Compulsory View
HLS211 Clinical presentation and management of infection Compulsory View
HLS212 Health and safety in microbiological and virological practice Compulsory View
HLS213 Laboratory aspects of microbiology and virology Compulsory View
HLS214 The role of microbiology and virology in infection prevention and control Compulsory View

Stage Two

The five optional modules are available if the trainee wishes to gain experience in these specific areas.

Code Title Status Action
HCC320 Developing independent professional practice Compulsory View
HCC321 Research, development and innovation Compulsory View
HCC322 Training and education Compulsory View
HCC323 Leadership and management Compulsory View
HLS266 Public Health and Epidemiology Compulsory View
HLS274 Virology Management Compulsory View
HLS275 Basic Virology Compulsory View
HLS276 Laboratory techniques general Compulsory View
HLS277 Laboratory techniques specific Compulsory View
HLS278 Laboratory techniques interpretation Compulsory View
HLS279 Clinical and treatment aspects Compulsory View
HLS280 Understanding research and development in virology Compulsory View
HLS281 Virology Supraregional reference laboratory attachment Optional View
HLS282 Anti viral susceptibility Optional View
HLS283 Exotic and dangerous virus infections Optional View
HLS284 Microbiology attachment Optional View
HLS285 Further developing virology subspecialty skills Optional View


Programme title Higher Specialist Scientist Training Programme (HSST) — Virology
Division Life Sciences
Normal length of programme 5 years
Outcome awards and professional eligibility

Successful candidates will be awarded:

  • Certificate of Completion of the Higher Specialist Scientist Training Programme. Awarded by the National School of Healthcare Science.
Total credits 540
Mode of study Work-based with integrated part time DClinSci or FRCPath
Programme accredited by The Academy for Healthcare Science

Programme aim

The programme has been developed to enable a selected cohort of clinical scientists to be trained to take on the role of a consultant clinical scientist. It is a programme that is both flexible and bespoke to the individual.

It includes the incorporation into the training programme of all or part of a professional doctorate award according to trainee previous experience and qualifications and comprising modules in:

  • High level scientific and clinical knowledge
  • Leadership and professionalism
  • Research and innovation

Expected programme outcomes

On successful completion of the HSST and its underpinning doctoral level academic programme graduates will possess the essential knowledge, skills, experience and attributes required of a Consultant Clinical Scientist in the NHS and will:

  • demonstrate practice that places the patient and the public at the centre of care, prioritising patient safety and dignity and reflecting NHS/health service values, the NHS Constitution and meets the professional standards defined by Good Scientific Practice;
  • demonstrate systematic acquisition and understanding of a substantial body of scientific and clinical knowledge which is at the forefront of healthcare science;
  • possess a breadth of clinical and scientific knowledge across a range of related and relevant science specialties;
  • demonstrate the general ability to conceptualise, design, lead and implement a project for the generation of new knowledge, applications or understanding at the forefront of healthcare science;
  • demonstrate an advanced and detailed understanding of applicable methods for research, innovation and advanced academic enquiry;
  • demonstrate the ability to create and interpret new knowledge, through original research or other advanced scholarship, of a quality to satisfy peer review, extend the forefront of the healthcare science/specialism, and merit publication;
  • demonstrate advanced critical thinking with a sound grasp and application of research methodology which supports vision and innovation in the application of basic science to health and an effective understanding of leadership, NHS current policy, influencing and advanced communication skills;
  • communicate clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences including patients and the public;
  • demonstrate scientific and clinical leadership based on the continual advancement of their knowledge, skills and understanding through the independent learning required for continuing professional development.

Will be able to:

  • make informed judgements on complex issues in specialist fields, often in the absence of complete data, and be able to communicate their ideas and conclusions clearly and effectively to specialist and non-specialist audiences;
  • deal with uncertainty;
  • continue to engage in continuous personal and professional development, resulting in leading the development of new techniques, ensuring innovation and facilitation of transformational change in science and in the service through ideas or approaches that benefit the patient and NHS;
  • engage with contemporary research and analysis as a basis for critical reflection on their own and others’ professional experience and work based practice.

Will have:

  • the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment as a Consultant Clinical Scientist, which requires the exercise of personal responsibility and largely autonomous initiative in complex and unpredictable situations, in professional or equivalent environments leading and working within teams

Learning and teaching methods

A blend of methods is used to ensure effective capture of robust evidence relating to the three components of the HSST programme.

The components of the programme are:

  • Acquisition and application of specialist scientific knowledge up to Consultant Clinical Scientist level.
  • Mastery and practice of higher clinical and scientific skills, including professionalism, and the values, behaviours and attitudes expected of leaders in healthcare science.
  • Ability to make a significant contribution to knowledge generation and innovation in healthcare science service and practice.

Assessment methods

  • Portfolio of workplace-based evidence
  • Annual Review of Progression
  • Multi Source Feedback
  • Independent Assessment of Professional Skills (IAPS) – HSST Final Assessment

Standards of proficiency

To gain entry on to the Higher Specialist Scientist Register you must demonstrate that you are able to practice within the 5 Domains:

  • Domain One: Professional Practice
  • Domain Two: Scientific Practice
  • Domain Three: Clinical Practice
  • Domain Four: Research, Development and Innovation
  • Domain Five: Clinical Leadership

Programme structure

  • Section A: Leadership and Professional Development (120 credits)
  • Section B: Specialist Scientific Clinical Programme (180 credits)
  • Section C: Research, Development and Innovation (240 credits)

Entry routes and requirements

Entry routes In England there are two routes into the programme

  • Direct entry – Trainees are competitively appointed into a training post funded through the local Health Education England training board
  • In-service entry – Trainees enter the programme with the support of their employers.
Entry requirements For both entry routes, HSST applicants must participate in the national recruitment/assessment process and meet the minimum entry requirements for the academic and work-based programme.

Applicants must be a registered Clinical Scientist with HCPC.