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Masters by Research - MRes

The Masters by Research (MRes) course is a flexible research training course designed to provide graduates with a foundation for a career in research, the public/private sector, healthcare or academia (i.e. PhD studies)....

Studying with us in 2021/22 and 2022/23

The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses.  Information about the arrangements for the 2021/22 academic year can be found here.  


Should the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continue in the 2022/23 academic year or subsequent years of your course, any additional and/or alternative arrangements put in place by the University in response will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

  • Level Postgraduate Taught
  • Study mode Full Time/Part Time
  • Location City South
  • Award MRes
  • Start date September 2022
  • School School of Health Sciences
  • Faculty Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences

Course overview

The Masters by Research (MRes) course is a flexible research training course designed to provide graduates with a foundation for a career in research, the public/private sector, healthcare or academia (i.e. PhD studies). The purpose is to offer high quality postgraduate training in methods and practice of research and relevant transferable skills that offer a unique learning experience to advance knowledge within your specialist area of:

  • Life Sciences

  • Sport and Exercise

  • Health

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

Throughout the course you will develop a keen understanding of advanced research methods. This will take you on the journey from an initial research idea and proposal, to embedding research philosophy and contemporary methodologies and analysis within your work. This is geared towards producing a piece of research that could be pursued further at doctoral level, for a publication, or display the relevant skills to be competent within industry, healthcare or the public sector.

You will also be provided with the opportunity to specialise within a second area of research, through the contemporary design of our course. This offers a unique opportunity to be specialist in two niche areas upon graduation, thereby meeting the current demands for interdisciplinary research. There is also a focus on providing you with the skills to identify potential sources of funding, how to conduct enterprise activity, as well as project management and leadership. This provides flexibility for you to maximise the specialisms of your work, your career opportunities, and how to operate as a reflective, and evidence-based researcher following graduation.

Given that careers in research are growing, including those in industry, this MRes will also prepare you to be able to disseminate complex research to a wide variety of audiences. In addition, you will gain an understanding of how this can be delivered through technology enhanced learning. This aims to try to bridge the gap between researchers and society when trying to ensure evidence-based research-informed practice occurs. In turn, this will allow you to maximise the impact of research dissemination, whilst also ensuring you foster contemporary approaches to scholarship.

To help build these skills there are opportunities to work in hand with industry through our wide range of industrial, educational, and healthcare partners, something which will enhance your future employability or potential for progression. This will primarily be housed at our recently extended campus in Edgbaston, Birmingham, which contains state-of-the-art facilities to support you with your research.

Why Choose Us?

  • Campus – Our City South campus has recently been completed with new, state-of-the-art facilities and cutting-edge resources and equipment to support your research.
  • Partnerships – We have unique partnerships in sport, health and life sciences to support your learning and ensure your research has a practice-led, knowledge-applied approach. 
  • Employment/further study opportunities – This course is the perfect preparation to continue your studies at doctoral level, or pursue employment in a research related role.
  • Research community – As part of your course, your research will be aligned to our research centres in order to creating a vibrant and exciting research community.
  • Unique modules – We have developed future proof modules to ensure upon graduation you can employ appropriate technology, alongside research management, leadership and enterprise skills to the workplace or further study.

Entry Requirements

Entry requirements

An undergraduate honours degree (2:1) in a relevant discipline will be required. Candidates with suitable work experience and a lower classification (2:2) may also be considered. Both BA and BSc candidates will be considered.

Applicants without a 2:1 or above with an equivalent qualification or a professional qualification will be considered on an individual basis.

Fees & How to Apply

  • International students

Award: MRes

Starting: Sep 2022

Pathway: Health

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

Award: MRes

Starting: Sep 2022

Pathway: Life Sciences

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

Award: MRes

Starting: Sep 2022

Pathway: Sport and Exercise

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

Award: MRes

Starting: Sep 2022

Pathway: Health

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

Award: MRes

Starting: Sep 2022

Pathway: Life Sciences

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

Award: MRes

Starting: Sep 2022

Pathway: Sport and Exercise

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

Access to computer equipment

You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.


You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Field trips

All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.

Access to Microsoft Office 365

Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.

Key Software

You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.

Free access to Rosetta Stone

All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.

Clothing and safety equipment (mandatory)

This course requires the purchase of safety equipment, including clothing, shoes, goggles and gloves (£75 max) in order to use the workshop facilities.

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

Placement expenses (optional)

If you choose to undertake a placement, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst living or working away from home.

Field trips (optional)

This course includes the option of additional trips that may enhance your experience, at extra cost.

Books (optional)

All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. You may choose to purchase a copy.

Subscriptions (optional)

You may wish to purchase subscriptions to additional journals and websites.

Memberships (optional)

You may wish to join a union or professional body related to this course.

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

Personal statement

Students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.

Your postgraduate personal statement is going to shine a light on your personal experience, academic success, personal skills and any other factors that will support your application for further study.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Your passion and motivations

Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?

Why this course?

Show that you’ve researched the course offering. What is it about this particular course that appeals to you? Is it the lecturers? The modules? Etc.

What makes you a good postgraduate candidate?

Tutors want to know that you can handle postgraduate study, so show them how your undergraduate experiences or work life has equipped you for a more advanced level of study. Key areas to address are research and group work but this can vary depending on your chosen course.

Relevant academic or work experience

Add anything relevant that relates back to your chosen course and shows how your skills will contribute towards your learning. What extra-curricular activities have you taken part in? What awards have you won? What employment or voluntary experience do you have that has helped you develop transferable skills? How do these specifically relate to the course you are applying for?

You should also mention your future plans and how a postgraduate qualification fits in. Try to look beyond your postgraduate study – do you plan to jump straight into a specific career or follow your studies with a research degree? Lastly, use plain, professional English and, where possible, utilise the language of your chosen industry.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

Course in Depth

Level 7

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all of the following CORE modules (totalling 180 credits)

The aim of this module is to provide you with the understanding and key concepts of working in a research setting where dissemination of research to a wide variety of audiences is important. The primary objectives are to ensure that you recognise the importance of engaging your audience and how the dissemination should be adapted accordingly. This will include a traditional academic audience, such as that seen at an academic conference. A focus will be also be placed on society and stakeholders within industry and health care settings, to ensure that you are aware of the different types of audiences you may encounter in research. On completion of this module, you will become competent not only in writing research, but also confident at disseminating knowledge to engage the reader and/or viewer.

This module is designed to provide a deeper and more specialised understanding of research methods, building on the work you will complete during the ‘Advanced Research Methods’ module that covers the broad area of research methods. You will cover areas such as research paradigms, designs and analysis in your specialist area; however, with a focus on your preferred style of research (qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods). A large focus will also be placed on project management, leadership, applying for funding, and enterprise activities. This will prepare you for challenges in the real world and allow you to maximise the impact of your research and practice.

This module enables you to develop and critically reflect on your intended approach to carrying out a research project. On successfully completing the module you will be able to effectively articulate a research project proposal and questions, the methods you intend to employ and anticipated outcomes. This will be demonstrated through a research proposal, which should then be delivered within the ‘Independent Study’ module.

The Independent Study in Health / Life Sciences / Sport and Exercise Science modules are designed to provide you with the opportunity to undertake a substantial piece of research in your chosen subject or discipline. In this module you will draw on the taught modules and skills developed during your study of the MRes award, and the ‘Advanced Research Methods’ module underpins the module, as you will be executing your proposal from this module. The research project is intended to allow you to demonstrate synthesis of knowledge and research skills that you have developed throughout the duration of the course.

Research interests 

The course allows for plenty of opportunities to craft the course to your needs, along with the chance to specialise in an area of choice. You will benefit from being able to work within, and study alongside, a multidisciplinary team of experienced researchers and health professionals. The course is suitable for diverse backgrounds including, but not limited to, sports, medicine, nursing, midwifery, allied health professions, social work, social and natural science, where a research focused career in Sport and Exercise, Life Sciences or Health is of interest to you.

The course offers three possible routes: 

  1. Life Sciences
  2. Sport and Exercise
  3. Health

For current research topics in all three areas please visit the School Research page. 

What is an MRes?

A Masters by Research (MRes) will provide an introduction to research methods in addition to giving a firm foundation for those wishing to pursue a doctoral study in the future. The MRes degree will give you the opportunity to understand the nature and potential of a particular research topic through, for example, understanding the methodologies and ethics of conducting research.

This degree can act as a great link between undergraduate and PhD level research, particularly if you are in the process of streamlining into your research discipline and at the same time are still undecided about committing to a PhD. The MRes will be a school-based programme with strong research engagement being its pillar. In particular routes, industrial partnerships will be encouraged and a focus will also be put on practical and leadership skills, guided by a problem based learning ethos.  



This course has been designed with creativity and flexibility in mind, therefore allowing you to first learn then apply skills in self-management, leadership and initiative. As a result, this helps you to build the problem-solving skills and interpersonal skills to be an effective employee upon graduation. There are also many areas of reflective practice throughout the course, to ensure you become a lifelong learner and always possess a willingness to learn.


These are encouraged throughout the course in both short and long term forms. These commonly will entail working with an external partner or being a research assistant internally at BCU, or helping with teaching. The placements will be varied to allow flexibility.

International Students

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Facilities and Staff

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £340 million on new learning facilities.

We boast up-to-date, innovative facilities that simulate the real situations that medical staff may come across.

These resources are essential in offering students a hands-on introduction to health and social care practice. Much of our teaching is carried out within our state-of-the-art, £30m Seacole Building, which houses cutting-edge learning facilities.

Take a virtual tour of our skills suites at Seacole

In a sector where new techniques are constantly being discovered, we work hard to ensure that students learn using the most up-to-date equipment available. These include the only mock operating theatre in an English university and a cutting-edge radiography virtual clinical training facility, virtual ward and virtual case creator.

Virtual Case Creator

For pre-registration midwives, Virtual Case Creator software contains a range of scenarios to let you experience birthing situations and decide on appropriate interventions in a safe environment.

Hospital Ward

Our mock wards enable you to get a feel of what a ward is really like before you head out for your first placement. They contain ‘Sim Men’, which are demonstration dummies that develop ailments, allowing you to treat them as you would a real patient and build your confidence in reacting to the changing needs of patients.

The Hospital Ward can be adapted from a low care to high dependency care environment with the necessary monitoring equipment.

Part of the package is our SIM baby, SIM man and Mega code kid. There are also nursing manikins for fundamental skills teaching and various equipment to support essential skills teaching, such as blood pressure monitoring venepuncture and cannulation equipment.

Skills Practice and Clinical Enhancement facility

The SPACE (Skills Practice And Clinical Enhancement) learning facility lets you further practice the skills taught in class, at your own pace and convenience.

It is fully stocked with the specialist items and equipment needed for procedures such as taking blood pressure, giving an injection, abdominal examination of a pregnant woman and caring for ill babies in an incubator.

Biomedical Laboratories

We have recently installed new laboratory facilities to help you explore understand the scientific principles underpinning many of our courses. The physiology laboratory is equipped to help you learn about the way the human body works by performing investigative experiments. The biomedical science laboratory is undergoing an upgrade over the summer and will allow you to learn about anatomy, cellular processes, immunology and enzymology in a hands-on way that links directly to day-to-day health care.

Simulation Mannequins

We have several Simulation men (SIM men) and Simulation babies (SIM babies) which are leading edge, anatomically correct mannequins used for teaching specific techniques such as advanced adult and paediatric life support skills, acute and high dependency clinical skills, first aid and communication skills.

The SIM men and SIM baby mannequins are complete with software, which is used to replicate real symptoms, and are enhanced by the manipulation of for example blood pressure, pulse and heart rate for extra realism. SIM Man can also “talk” to the students which adds another dimension to their use in teaching clinical skills and in simulation exercises.

Mary Seacole Library

The Seacole library, based at City South Campus, is one of the UK's largest specialist health education libraries. The state-of-the art facility offers an extensive range of range of information and reference materials set out in a relaxing environment, conducive to studying. There are comfortable seating areas, group study areas, a silent study area and private study rooms.

You will have access to all of the University’s libraries.

Computer Facilities

The Seacole building houses a large open access IT Suite which comprises of 96 PCs, full colour printers, photocopiers and scanners. Our PCs utilise the latest Intel i5 core technology, all with:

  • Fast (unrestricted) internet connectivity
  • Ability to save files to USB, DVD & CD
  • Microsoft Office software
  • Research and statistical software
  • Storage space which can be accessed from any PC across the University and from home

Our PCs are also designed to support students who may have difficulties with reading and writing, featuring specialised software with zooming/magnification and screen reading capabilities, which may also be customised for individual student needs.

The IT Suite offers extended opening hours and is supported by a specialist Open Access Assistant during term time. In addition to the open access PCs within the IT Suite, there are 12 networked student PCs available within Seacole library.

Our staff

Dr Lewis Gough

Course Leader of the Masters by Research (MRes) in Health Sciences / Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Science (Physiology and Nutrition)

Lewis enjoys engaging in applied practice as a consultant physiologist/nutritionist, by previously and currently supporting numerous professional football teams and individual players, Olympic level track cyclists, and national level boxers.

More about Lewis

Dr Meghan Brown

Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Nutrition

Alongside her academic roles, Meghan has provided support as a registered Sport and Exercise Nutritionist to athletes from a range of sports, including Forest Green Rovers FC, Bristol City Women's Football Club and Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme. Meghan also has a special interest in female athletes and dancers. 

More about Meghan

Dr Louise McKnight

Senior Lecturer in Radiography

Louise is a Diagnostic Radiographer who worked in clinical practice for many years and brings that experience to vocational degree teaching in a higher education setting. Her research interest is the pedagogy of research in radiography, for which she continues to develop her Doctoral work on an innovative qualitative data collection and analysis method. The aim of Louise’s work is to improve students’ learning experiences and confidence as critical professional practitioners.

More about Louise