The Research Scientist Master's Degree Apprenticeship is a 22 month programme. The full title is 'MSc in Applied Drug Discovery' and it is perfect for upskilling or recruiting new members of staff to your organisation.

The Research Scientist Master’s Degree Apprenticeship aims to advance the skills of those already working within the scientific field and attract new talent to organisations.

Research Scientists can expect to lead on business critical projects managing the design and implementation of such projects both internally and externally, disseminating findings to internal and external stake-holders and making strategic recommendations based upon the findings of the project. 

Up to 100% of training costs are covered by the Apprenticeship Levy or by government co-investment.

Benefits of the programme 

An apprenticeship gives you the opportunity to fill a skills gap either by unlocking talent in existing staff or by taking on a new employee with relevant skills. Investment in an apprentice can also increase productivity by injecting new energy and motivation into the organisation, reduce staff turnover, improve company image and increase diversity.

What does the Research Scientist MSc programme have to offer?

Chartered Status 

The Royal Society of Biology, the Institute of Physics and the Royal Society of Chemistry have provided an expedited route for individuals to achieve Chartered status (Chartered Biologist, Chartered Chemist or Chartered Physicist) through this apprenticeship, as the apprenticeship is closely aligned to many of the Chartered status competencies/attributes. To be considered for Chartered status, individuals must have a relevant degree or equivalent at the start of the apprenticeship. 


Upon successful completion, the apprentice will have achieved an MSc (Hons) in Applied Drug Discovery and Development.  

Duration and commitment 

This course is 18 months in duration with 6 months for the apprentices to go through to End-point assessment. 

The course is delivered online using a platform called Moodle. There are not set days for lectures, but apprentices will need 1 day per week (or 8 hours) to complete online study. The Level 7 Research Scientists have face to face teaching each year at our ‘Summer Schools’ – these are for practical assessments and examinations. The Summer School usually runs Monday – Thursday in late August or early September.   

Find out how the MSc Research Scientist Apprenticeship is delivered.

Entry requirements  

Apprentices enrolling on this programme are expected to have a good undergraduate degree (2:2 or above) in a relevant biological science discipline. 

You need to hold a GCSE in English and Maths (or equivalent qualification). 

However, applicants without these qualifications will be looked at on a case-by-case basis and any evidence of previous study and work-placed experience will be taken into consideration.  

Fin out more about the entry requirements for this apprenticeship programme.


Stage 1 

Apprentices take the following compulsory modules:   

  • Translational Biology 
  • Applied Pharmacology 

Stage 2 

Apprentices take the following compulsory modules: 

  • Critical Thinking in Applied Drug Discovery and Development 
  • Project Background and Design  

Optional modules: 

  • Neuroscience and Drug Discovery 
  • Renal and Cardiovascular Drug Discovery 
  • Infectious Disease and Allergy Drug Discovery 
  • Experimental Protocol  

Stage 3 

  • Research Project   

Fees and funding 

The cost of the programme is £18,000 per apprentice and this can be paid for from the apprenticeship levy or by government co-investment funding which covers up to 95% of the fees. There is also the cost of accommodation and travel for Summer Schools. This should be funded by the employer and is not payable from apprenticeship levy or government funding.  

Start dates 

We offer start dates in September, October, January, and April for this programme. The cut-off for applications is normally one month prior to the course starting.

Next Steps

Employers and Employees

Our team are there to offer support with developing apprenticeships in your organisation, be it upskilling existing employees or recruiting for new roles.

Contact us by emailing or by calling 01634 888467 (9:30am - 4pm Monday to Friday).

Students and Prospective Apprentices

Apprenticeships are available to those already employed in a relevant position and require the support of an employer to take part. If you are not already employed in a relevant role, please visit our please visit our Becoming an Apprentice page.

Download the Research Scientist brochure:

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