Master of Research

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What is Master of Research?

The Master of Research is a master's degree that emphasizes independent study over the instruction taught. It is not restricted to specific subject areas. Instead, an MRes is awarded in any program that focuses on the student's own research activity. If you are considering graduate school but would rather do your own research than take a taught course, you may want to consider one of these courses. This page provides an overview of the MRes title. It includes information on the typical duration and content of a Master's in Research. It will also help you understand the difference between an MRes and teachers taught like MA or MSc.

What is an MRes?

The MRes or "Master of Research" is a common research-based graduate master's degree. His name does not have a traditional Latin meaning and is simply an abbreviation for "Master of Research". While a taught master's degree develops expertise in existing subject knowledge, an Master of Research places more emphasis on research expertise. Indeed, the degree exists to train researchers, either for professional work or in preparation for a doctorate.

You will still complete some units taught in an MRes. They will usually focus on practical topics such as research techniques and methodological principles. This distinguishes MRes from a "full" research Master, such as MPhil, which is generally based entirely on independent project work.

What are the entry requirements for an MRes?

A Master of Research degree will have admission requirements similar to those of a taught master's or master's degree. The most important will be a bachelor's degree. This should be in a relevant subject, with a good overall grade (probably 2.1 or better). In addition, you may also be asked to submit a research proposal or personal statement that describes your academic goals and interests. Admissions tutors will want to know that you have the enthusiasm and self-direction to complete a more independent program.

Is an MRes "worth" more than a "taught" master's degree?

Like the MA or MSc, the MRes remains a "second cycle" degree, which follows undergraduate studies but precedes research at the doctoral level. However, an MRes course may be more valuable to students pursuing an academic career, for whom additional research training and experience is valuable. A Master of Research can also be a useful final degree if you plan to work in a commercial or industrial career where some research experience is valuable, but a full PhD is not required.

What is the difference between an MRes and an MPhil?

The MRes is a stand-alone qualification. This distinguishes it from other Research Masters such as the MPhil (Master of Philosophy) which is normally a precursor to a PhD. It's simpler to think of the MRes as a research training qualification. The MPhil, on the other hand, is a single research project. An MRes can prepare you for a PhD, while an MPhil can be part of one. Some universities award an MRes to PhD students who leave their program early, but this is quite rare.

MRes degrees within 1 + 3 doctoral programs

If you know that you want to pursue a PhD after your Masters, you may want to consider a "1 + 3" program. These combine a master's degree and a doctorate. You will complete one year of work at the master's level followed by three years at the doctoral level. UK universities often offer these 'joint' programs as fully funded pathways, designed to develop future researchers. The master's year of a 1 + 3 program is often an MRes course, leveraging the degree's focus on research training. Studying this way will earn you an MRes after one year of study and a PhD after four.

What countries grant MRes titles?

The Master in Research is a relatively new type of Master, designed for students who wish to acquire research training at an earlier stage of the degree cycle. It is most common in the UK and is offered as a research training degree. Students study an MRes to prepare for a PhD or as a final degree that provides professional research skills. In Europe, pure research degrees are rare at the "second cycle" (master) level. Instead, most colleges expect you to acquire advanced subject matter knowledge through a taught master's degree. You can then proceed to independent research at the "third cycle" (PhD) level.

United Kingdom

Research Master's degrees are becoming increasingly popular with various Russell Group universities; such as the University of Glasgow, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Cardiff, the University of London, the Imperial College of London, the University of Bristol, the University of Manchester, the University of Newcastle, the University of Liverpool, the University of Southampton, the University of York and the University of London; as well as at universities with major art and design departments, such as the College of Arts (University of Brighton), the London University of the Arts and the Royal College of Art. In most cases, the degree is designed to prepare to students for doctoral research. For universities with significant strengths in practice-led research, preparation for a master's degree in research provides an opportunity to understand the nature and potential of research study through, for example, the practice of research. art and design.

Research Master's programs differ from Master's degrees that are taught by placing special emphasis on a large dissertation (typically 35-40,000 words), or an equivalent practice-led research project, plus less (or no) modules taught. Research MSc courses in the UK must ensure that at least 70% of the content is project-based as it is 'aimed at those who wish to pursue a research career afterwards'. This will often include training in research methods, as well as instruction in research ethics and professional practice issues, such as writing proposals, applying for funding, and publishing.

Some universities may award this degree to a PhD candidate who has not completed the period of study required for a PhD, but has completed a sufficient dissertation and taught content to be acceptable for an MRes. In most cases, however, a PhD candidate will progress to the level of Master of Philosophy at British universities. The main difference between an MRes and an MPhil is that MRes have sometimes (but not always) taught components (although the main focus is still research) and thus may require a freshman component taught during the studies of doctorate. Research conducted towards a Master of Research degree is typically shorter in duration than that of an MPhil or PhD - around a year, rather than two or three, full-time. For humanities subjects, MPhil theses typically have 60,000 words (and PhDs 80-100,000), while MRes or MA (Res) typically run around 35-40,000 per thesis, or less for courses with a taught component (a combination of smaller essays and a dissertation). Some universities require an oral examination (viva voce) in addition to a written thesis to successfully complete an MRes degree.


In Australia, a Master of Research is a graduate-level research training degree. The program consists of a coursework component and a supervised research project, which includes a 20-25,000 word thesis. An MRes is completed in two years, or the equivalent part-time. Currently, the degree is only offered at a limited number of colleges, and was first introduced at Macquarie University. The Sydney University of Technology offers a Master of Research in specific disciplines through its faculties. The university also offers Trans disciplinary research through entities such as the Master of Sustainable Futures (Research) provided by the Institute for Sustainable Futures. A Master of Research can be done as a qualification on the way to a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), or as training to provide professional research skills.

What subjects grant MRes degrees?

Like higher research degrees, the MRes is not specific to a particular academic discipline. You can study an MRes in any subject as long as it offers sufficient scope for research training. Some universities distinguish between different types of MRes, reflecting the distinction between masters or master's programs taught:

  • An MRes subject in Arts and Humanities may be referred to as "Master of Arts by Research", commonly abbreviated as MARes or MA (Res).

  • An MRes in science and technology subjects may be called a "Master of Science by Research", commonly abbreviated as MScRes or MSc (Res).

There is no consistent distinction between these specific qualifications and the more "generic" MRes programs. Some universities may use "Research Master" or "Research Master" (etc.) to describe a program with more taught components and a specific focus on the subject.

Who should study an MRes?

The MRes is ideal if your main objective is to acquire research training. This may be because you want to prepare for a PhD. Although an MA or MSc includes a dissertation, the MRes offers much more research experience. It also provides more extensive research training, allowing you to really get started when you start a PhD. Alternatively, you can study an MRes because you don't want to do a PhD. Many professions value research skills, but a full three-year doctorate may not be necessary. An MRes offers a shorter and more focused route to research training.

Remember, however, an MRes can present a more challenging transition from undergraduate to graduate study. You will still have some guidance and support (and you won't be just thrown into the background!), But there will be a quicker emphasis on freelance work.

What is it like to study an MRes?

The MRes offers quite a unique study experience. Despite its name, the title actually ranks somewhere in the more conventional teaching and research qualifications. Studying an MRes will involve part of the instruction taught that defines an MA or MSc. But you will spend most of your time on extensive research projects such as those involved in an MPhil or PhD.

The exact balance between taught units and research units varies between different MRes programs. The general requirement is that a program has at least 70% research, but individual courses will be arranged differently. Some may start with methodological training before moving on to an extended research project. Others may mix taught core units with independent project assignments. In some cases, you may be able to choose for yourself whether or not to include taught units in your title (up to a maximum number).

Whatever the format of your MRes, the emphasis will be on your own research work. Units taught will support this, but will not account for a large part of your overall grade.

How long does an MRes last?

In the UK, an MRes generally requires at least one year of full-time study. However, some courses may be longer. A part-time degree will normally last two years. MRes degrees are much less common in Europe. Those that are available are likely to last longer, up to two years. Investigative Masters are also rare in other parts of the world. Most countries prefer to focus on teaching at the master's level, leaving advanced research for the MPhil and PhD programs.

How many credits is an MRes worth?

An MRes is normally worth 180 UK credits. Most of these will be obtained through research. A typical MRes can involve around 160 credits of research work (in the form of multiple projects or a single major thesis). This will be complemented by about 20 training credits.

What are MRes research projects like?

In some ways, the research you will do for an MRes looks a lot like the final dissertation required for a master's or master's degree. You will select a topic, be assigned a supervisor, and conduct independent research before presenting a thesis of your findings. However, unsurprisingly, the research that requires an MRes is much more extensive. (After all, the title is called a Master of Research!).

This may mean that you are expected to complete several research projects. This is more likely for technical or professional subjects that require training in different types of research. Or you can just complete a large project. If so, you can expect this to be much longer than the dissertation for a given degree. While a master's degree, for example, will generally require a 15-20,000 word dissertation, an equivalent MR project will be closer to 35,000 words (or more!).

The academic scope of your research may also be more demanding. It will not be judged by doctoral standards (for which a substantial original contribution to knowledge is required). But it can be expected to be closer to this level than a master's dissertation or equivalent master's degree. The advantage of this is that an MRes really provides a comprehensive academic research experience. While the dissertation is a unique (but significant) part of a taught master's degree, your work in an MRes will make you a competent and professional researcher.

After that, moving up to the doctoral level can be surprisingly easy.

FAQ’s on Master of Research

Q.1. what is the difference between a taught master's degree and a researcher?

Answer. Most master's degrees are taught courses, consisting of lectures and seminars followed by a thesis project. Research masters involve much more independent work, but the exact difference between a taught and a research master varies. An MRes (Master of Research) generally involves longer (or multiple) dissertation assignments. An MPhil (Master of Philosophy) is completely research-based and can be part of a PhD. Research masters are less common outside of the UK.

Q.2. which are the colleges well known for Masters of Research?

Answer. There are very less colleges in India which does give masters in research program. Some of the colleges which give are given below:

  • Lovely Professional University - [LPU] JALANDHAR, Punjab.

  • Indian Institute of Technology - [IIT] New Delhi, Delhi NCR.

  • Chandigarh University - [CU] CHANDIGARH, Chandigarh.

Some of the internationally well-known colleges for this course are:

  • Boston University, Boston, MA

  • University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA

  • University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA

  • Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI




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