Student Advice

What is an MRes degree?

Ben Maples  · Sep 21st 2023  · 3 min

An MRes (Masters of Research) is recognised worldwide and has become one of the most popular degrees in the UK. Many students come from all over the world to be able to study for an MRes degree.


As the MRes has grown in popularity over the past few years, more universities have started offering them as part of their educational framework.

An MRes degree can cover many subjects and disciplines. The degree gives students a great chance of finding a career, whether it be research-based or otherwise.

University MRes deegree

What is an MRes?

An MRes is a Master of Research, a postgraduate degree. The MRes is mainly for students looking to continue their studies in research and go onto a PHD. An MRes degree is a Level 7 qualification. This places itone level above a bachelor’s degree and one level below a doctorate. An MRes is usually a year of full-time study or two years part time.

The universities that offer the MRes are:

Most Russell Group universities and other elite institutions offer this qualification. It’s also a great way for students to gain research experience while also attaining their master’s degree. However, it is also used by students considering a career that requires high-level research skills but may not require a doctoral qualification.

The MRes is different from usual master’s degrees because it focuses more on a larger dissertation or practice-led research. There are also fewer modules taught, and there may be no modules at all in certain cases. The MRes is worth 180 CATS points (Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme) and 90 ECTS points (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System).

An MRes must guarantee that no less than 70% of the content is project-based. It must also be aimed at those wishing to continue into a career in research. You will have training on research methods and will also receive guidance on research ethics, professional courtesy, usual practice, funding applications and publishing.

Uni MRes deegree

How is an MRes graded?

An MRes is usually graded like a master’s degree is graded, through pass or fail. The MRes does not carry a specific numbered grade like you’re likely used to.

However, there are exceptions. A university may offer a distinction, but this depends on the university and its awarding criteria.

How much does it cost to study an MRes?

Most universities tend to charge anywhere between £17,000 and £26,000 for a master’s degree, which will be the rough going rate for an MRes.

MRes funding is available for those who need it. You may be able to find a scholarship, grant or bursary that will cover this, but will depend on where you apply.

How is an MRes awarded?

The awarding of an MRes degree will depend on the university. Some universities may award the MRes to candidates who haven't completed all the periods of study required for a usual Doctorate degree but have completed their dissertation.

The MRes has no specific awarding criteria. Speak to your university prior to applying for an MRes and see what they have to say about what their awarding criteria is.

MRes deegree

What countries allow you to study an MRes?

The UK is the main country offering the MRes. But,given how the qualification is internationally recognised, more and more countries have begun to offer the qualification, mainly in Europe. As it currently stands, the master’s degree remains the most popular postgraduate study globally.

Countries like Australia have also adopted it as a recognised qualification. In Australia, the programme will require an MRes student to complete coursework, a research project (that is supervised) and a 20-25,000 word thesis. Unlike in the UK, an MRes takes two years to complete in Australia (it does also have a part-time option available for those who need it). It is used as a great introduction to the PhD qualification as well.

Is an MRes worth more than a taught Master’s degree?

The MRes is considered to be a “second-cycle” degree, following undergraduate study and before doctorates. It is not necessarily worse or better than any other degree, but the MRes is often not always considered to be a postgraduate degree, meaning that, in those terms, a taught master’s may be worth more.

The classification of the degree depends on where you are studying it. Some consider the degree to be a postgraduate degree, as it is studied after an undergraduate degree, but many others see it as an extension of the undergraduate degree.

undergraduate Uni's

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