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Research Masters overview

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Short description

The degree is designed for students to develop advanced skills in conducting an independent research and write a dissertation that will demonstrate specialist knowledge and contribute to existing study in the area of the research.

Research Masters are popular in the UK with universities from the Russell Group, such as Imperial College London, University of Manchester, University of Liverpool, the University of London and others. This type of Masters gives students the opportunity of research study and it aims to make the transition to PhD studies more subtle.

Research assessment

The assessment is in the form of a dissertation and/or essays during the course of study. The dissertation is typically between 35-40,000 words and it is bound by an independent original research, under the supervision of a senior academic.

Development of skills

Research Masters programmes often include in their courses training in research methods, research ethics and issues related to writing proposals, making funding applications and publishing, analysis of data, judgment of conflicting evidence.

In Europe, the Research Masters (MRes) is a course available in a large area of subjects. The programmes aim to prepare graduates for a career as an academic researcher or consultant, as well as specialist in an industry where research is essential.

Funding from research councils in the UK

There are seven research councils in the UK (as listed below) that fund postgraduate studies to varying degrees. The majority of research council funding is awarded to research degrees at the PhD level and covers tuition fees and some living expenses. However, a number of research-oriented Masters programmes are funded each year by each council. Applications cannot be made on an individual basis, as the funding is awarded to the department rather than individual students. Needless to say, competition is high for the grants and it is only the lucky few that can typically count themselves among the grant recipients. The seven research councils are:

  • The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
  • The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
  • The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
  • The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
  • The Medical Research Council (MRC)
  • The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
  • The Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC)

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