Key Facts

Course Title: Scientific Research Training (with International Placement)
Course type: MSc
Mode of Study:Full Time
Contact Details:Professor Dave Hoole
Website: Go to School homepage
Faculty: Faculty of Natural Sciences
Subject Area: Science


The Faculty of Natural Sciences offers a range of MSc programmes in Scientific Research Training which includes an option to undertake an international placement at a institute/industry in which an extensive 8 month research project is undertaken.

Masters in Research Training with International Placement are available in a range of disciplines;

Disciplines Placement Projects
MSc Biosciences Bioscience Placements
MSc Neuroscience Neuroscience Placements

Keele University has developed collaborative relationships with a number of international research institutes and industries which has enabled well qualified students to develop their scientific training and employment skills within an international context. We believe that this will help to develop future employees with an international outlook, competent in at least one international language in addition to English. For all students the course offers an opportunity to carry out a project within Keele University under the supervision of international experts in their appropriate discipline. International students thus have an opportunity to receive extensive training in English.

All students will spend the first part of the course at Keele, and either remain at Keele to undertake their approximately eight month research project or will undertake a placement in an international research institute/industry as laboratory research assistants, working on projects in the host institution and pursuing a programme of research training. Financial support for example through the EU ERASMUS Scheme may be available to support students undertaking their project/placement outside the UK in Europe. International students may opt to undertake their placement within the UK or at Keele University.

Aims of the Course

The aim of the courses is to enhance the employment prospects of science graduates within their chosen research discipline by developing and improving their scientific, laboratory and language skills. The courses will also provide basic skills in vocational and education training through the students’ work programmes. At the end of the training period students will:

  • Have systematic understanding of knowledge, and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of the subject of their chosen discipline
  • Have conceptual understanding to evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship in their discipline
  • Be able to evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them and, where appropriate, to propose new hypotheses
  • Have developed scientific skills and knowledge, and transferable skills, in a international workplace setting
  • Have comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to their own research
  • Be able to record and reflect on skills and learning from the research laboratory experience through the ‘Realise’ career development scheme.
  • Be conversant with the running of a modern research laboratory.
  • Have developed skills in an appropriate international language, including scientific vocabulary.
  • Have developed organisational and commercial awareness.

For those students undertaking a placement/research project in Europe the work and achievement on the programme will be documented in the EU Europass, a record of achievement signed by all parties. All students are required to pursue a self reflecting activity which enables them to identify their personal and professional skills and development needs

Entry Requirements

Usually applicants will hold an honours degree in a scientific discipline appropriate to the project area and final postgraduate award, although consideration will be given to related programmes.  The minimum degree category for entry is 2:2 (or international equivalent), although consideration will be given to candidates who do not meet these criteria, but can evidence appropriate, alternative professional qualifications and/or experience.

Relevant MSc programmes are also offered as an intercalated degree to medical students who have completed their 4th year of study at the time of undertaking the post-graduate programme.

Applicants who are not fluent in English are expected to have attained the equivalent of an IELTS score of at least 6.5. Candidates who do not meet these criteria, but can evidence appropriate, alternative professional qualifications and/or experience will be considered.

Course Content

The course is full-time for 12 months, starting in September. The first period, September to January, is spent at Keele, and the period February to August (about 30 weeks)  students either remain at Keele or spend it in an international host institution in Europe. International students may opt to take their placement within the UK or at Keele University. Students submit their final dissertation and portfolio in September.

SEMESTER 1 Keele-Based Programme (30 credits)

During the first Keele-based part of the programme, students will take the following modules:

1) Postgraduate Research Skills (15 credits)

Attended by all students who will receive training in a range of generic research skills including scientific writing, project design, ethics, in addition to laboratory research practice in their chosen disciplines in preparation for their extensive research project.

2) Language Training (15 credits)

Students will take modules appropriate to their research training and language needs, in preparation for their placement. Students who fail the language module may take up the project  but will be required to be reassessed during April.

SEMESTER 2/3 International Research-Based Programme (150 credits)

Students will take up a research project either at Keele or at an international host research institution/industry appropriate for their scientific discipline and MSc award. In the case of an international student the School encourages the research project to be carried out at Keele. During the project/placement, students will be working within research laboratories alongside research teams, undertaking laboratory training and pursuing a specific laboratory-based research project which will have been negotiated and agreed by all parties prior to the placement. Students will be integrated into the training programmes of the host institution, and will have a named tutor responsible for their programme. The training will lead to completion of two modules:

Research training portfolio (40 credits)
Research report/dissertation (110 credits)

Teaching and Assessment

Students must complete formal assessment on all modules. During the placement this will include keeping an extensive record of the training attended and skills obtained, with a reflective report (for the research training portfolio), as well as a dissertation on the project undertaken during the placement.

Additional Costs

Although students who under a placement project within another EU member state may be entitled to an ERASMUS scholarship there may be additional costs required to meet living expenses and insurances within the host country. The amount required will be dependent on the cost of living in each country.