How to Do Research on Therapeutic Interventions: Protocol Preparation


The How to do Research on Therapeutic Interventions: Protocol Preparation course is a one-week module of the MSc in Experimental and Translational Therapeutics. Offered by the Department of Oncology and the Department for Continuing Education, the teaching will be led by Dr Grant D Vallance, Information Manager at the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, and will feature lectures and tutorials from some of Oxford's leading clinicians and scientists.

The module can be taken as a stand-alone short course. It includes group work, discussions, guest lectures, and interaction and feedback with tutors and lecturers.

Please send me an email about future How to do Research on Therapeutic Interventions: Protocol Preparation courses.

The How to do Research on Therapeutic Interventions course will provide students with the opportunity to learn more about and discuss the following topics:

The design and implementation of clinical trials (Phase I to Phase IV)

  1. Understanding methodological issues in clinical trial design
  2. Understanding and creating trial protocols
  3. Understanding (internal) trial governance issues and how to address them
  4. Understanding statistical issues and how to address them
  5. Understanding and addressing ethical issues in clinical trials - an introduction to Research Ethics
  6. Understanding data management in clinical trials and how to implement a solution
  7. Understanding (external) clinical trial governance issues and how to address them
  8. Understanding and dealing with key stakeholders in clinical trial delivery - data managers; trial coordinators; research nurses; ethics committees


What do students say about the course?


"The topics were all interesting and well presented. Also the group had very diverse backgrounds and that added to the value of the course. The protocol writing was a valuable exercise especially with the diversity of the group which helped with learning various skills."
Consultant Gynaecologist, Lead Colposcopist and Lead for Gynae Oncology Unit, UK


"I liked that it was a small group of students and a relaxed atmosphere where we could interact with the instructors."
Associate Principal Scientist, Clinical Research, New Jersey, USA


Programme details

This course can be taken:



This course will be held at Ewert House in Oxford


Short course participants who do not wish to undertake the assessed work required for academic credit but who do satisfy the course attendance requirements will receive a certificate of attendance. The sample above is an illustration only, and the wording will reflect the course and dates attended.

Those successfully completing the course for credit can request a CATS point transcript.


Description Costs
MSc in Experimental & Translational Therapeutics £2340.00
Returning student - MSc in ETT - Module Fee 2023-24 £2250.00
Standalone fee for 2023-24 £2890.00


Potential sources of funding for courses in Experimental and Translational Therapeutics.

Details of funding opportunities including grants, bursaries and scholarships are available on our sources of funding page.


The course fee includes:

  • Tuition
  • Course materials
  • Refreshments and a three course lunch on each day of the course, if held in Oxford
  • Access to the following University of Oxford libraries and services:
    • Radcliffe Science Library
    • Rewley House Continuing Education Library
    • Bodleian Libraries e-Resources
  • Access to facilities from the Department for Continuing Education, including:
    • The Graduate School
    • WebLearn virtual learning environment
    • Wi-fi access through Oxford Wireless LAN (OWL).


Ms Susan Tonks

Co-Module Lead

Ms Susan Tonks has a background in laboratory-based research, Research Governance, the management of large-scale clinical research and a keen interest in research ethics.

For the past 8 years Susan has been involved in the conduct, delivery and governance of research studies, largely based in the Global South. These have included STRATAA (Strategic Typhoid alliance across Africa & Asia), Typhoid Vaccine Acceleration Consortium (TyVAC), THECA (Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine Introduction in Africa) and more latterly PANDORA (PAthogeN Detection to Optimise antibiotic Regimes -Africa). She is also the GCP trial monitor for the Jenner Institute, University of Oxford.

Susan is a long-standing member and current chair of a Health Research Authority Research Ethics Committee reviewing all phases of clinical trials and other research requiring ethical approval.  She also facilitates training in various topics for the Health Research Authority and National Institute for Health Research including Adults Lacking Capacity to Consent, the Declaration of Helsinki, Valid Informed Consent and Next steps in Delivering Clinical Research.


Dr Grant D Vallance

Co-Module Lead

Dr Grant D. Vallance originally hails from New Zealand. He has degrees in Biochemistry (undergraduate), Bioethics (Masters), and Ethics and the Philosophy of Science (Ph.D.). He has spent 5 years on various NHS Research Ethics Committees and among other things worked in clinical trials coordination for the University of Oxford and the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust (OUH). He now works as an Information Manager in the OUH as well as leading the Experimental Therapeutics Module 5 -- How to do Research on Therapeutic Interventions: Protocol Preparation.

Teaching methods

The course will be taught by a range of scientists leading these areas of research, and there will be significant time programmed to discuss the scientific and sometimes ethical issues raised by this area of medical research. It will include group work, discussions, guest lectures, and interaction and feedback with tutors and lecturers.

A virtual learning environment (VLE) and access to some of the University of Oxford’s online resources will provide support for those taking the course for credit.

Assessment methods

Assessment will be based on submission of a set written assignment, not exceeding 4,000 words. The assessment is only undertaken by those taking the course for academic credit.

Academic credit

Those wishing to may apply to take the course with accreditation. The University of Oxford Department for Continuing Education offers Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS) points for the course. Participants attending at least 75% of the taught course and successfully completing assessed assignments are eligible to earn credit equivalent to 20 CATS-equivalent points which may be counted towards a postgraduate qualification.


Application deadline: two weeks before the start of the course.

This course requires you to complete the online application form (please press the 'Apply' button in the top right pane) and submit a copy of your CV as an attachment as part of your application. 

If you are applying to take this course for academic credit you will also need to complete section two of the reference form and forward it to your referee for completion, returning to Please note that if you are not applying to take the course for academic credit then you do not need to submit a reference.

Level and demands

The course will appeal to health professionals from a wide range of backgrounds, including qualified doctors, especially specialist registrars in clinical pharmacology or in training for other medical sub-specialities; clinical research fellows; pharmacists; nurses; graduates working in the pharmaceutical industry or in academic clinical trials.

Selection criteria

To apply for this short course you should:

  • be a graduate or have successfully completed a professional training course
  • have experience in a health-related field
  • demonstrate a suitable level of English (if this is not your first language).



Accommodation is available at the Rewley House Residential Centre, within the Department for Continuing Education, in central Oxford. The comfortable, en-suite, study-bedrooms have been rated as 4-Star Campus accommodation under the Quality In Tourism scheme, and come with tea- and coffee-making facilities, free Wi-Fi access and Freeview TV. Guests can take advantage of the excellent dining facilities and common room bar, where they may relax and network with others on the programme.

IT requirements

This course uses the Department’s online assignment submission system and online courseware. In order to participate in the course, and to prepare and submit your course assignments you will need access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification. Students of this course may use the student computing facilities provided in Departmental buildings.