- Focus on a subject pathway which matches your interests and ambitions: you can graduate with an MRes in Social Research, Criminal Psychology, Humanities or Journalism
- Learn in an inter-disciplinary and research-active environment
- Build advanced research skills through a series of inspirational masterclasses
- Conduct your own substantial piece of independent research, with support and supervision from influential academic researchers
- Join our dynamic and supportive postgraduate community and work with influential researchers on collaborative projects
- Focus on ‘real-world’ research: if you are already in employment, you can relate your studies directly to your professional role
- Learn how to attract funding for research projects and how to share your findings for maximum impact
- Benefit from a truly interdisciplinary approach to learning, drawing on best research practice from across the social sciences and humanities
- Boost your future prospects by building an impressive portfolio of transferable skills in data collection, analysis and critical reflection – using evidence to evaluate and solve problems
- Prepare for a fulfilling career as a researcher or research manager in academia or public, private and voluntary organisation
- Gain an excellent platform if you want to progress to a PhD
- Enjoy flexibility in your studies – with the chance to take shorter versions of the course leading to a Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma.
The Master of Research (MRes) offers a flexible, challenging and inspirational way to develop wide-ranging research and analytical skills and to complete a substantial research project under the supervision of academic experts. You can gain named MRes awards in Social Research, Criminal Psychology, Humanities or Journalism, depending on the subject pathway you choose to take.
A broad appeal
The MRes is ideal for high-performing students who want to progress directly from undergraduate studies and to continue developing their experience of real-world and collaborative research.
With a part-time route available, it is also suited to professionals already working in roles which involve the collection and analysis of data to address complex challenges and underpin decision-making.
It will appeal in particular to ambitious individuals who want to advance their careers in settings such as the criminal justice sector, local authorities, police and probation services, the heritage sector and the media. They could be in roles which are specifically focussed on research or where they need to use data and evidence effectively.
In-depth knowledge, enhanced employability
The MRes delivers:
- A critical awareness of current debates, problems and developments at the forefront of your academic or professional subject specialism
- A comprehensive understanding of research methods, techniques and originality in research practice
- Excellent critical thinking, evaluation and analysis skills so that you can test theories and engage in academic debate
- Enhanced employability so that you are well prepared for higher level professional employment
A truly interdisciplinary approach
One of the strengths of our MRes programme is its emphasis on inter-disciplinary learning. The course is uniquely structured so that you are trained in research methods and practice which are relevant across the social sciences and humanities, equipping you with a solid foundation of skills.
You will draw on best practice from different sectors, learning how they take distinctive approaches to research and knowledge production. Because the course is expected to attract individuals from different settings – from police officers to social workers, journalists to heritage sector professionals, to name but a few – you will benefit from sharing ideas and fresh perspectives.
Skills to take you far
After a vital introduction to research philosophy and methodology, you will develop your skills via a series of masterclasses. We cover issues such as how to conduct reviews of existing literature; how to collect and analyse qualitative data through interviews and focus groups; how to harness quantitative data such as social statistics; and how to use archives.
In addition, we focus on your personal development as a researcher, exploring how to present research evidence and get it published; research and project planning techniques; different sources of research funding; and ways to ensure your research has impact.
Pursue your personal and professional interests
Alongside generic research skills, you will have the chance to concentrate on the discipline of your choice – Social Research, Criminal Psychology, Humanities or Journalism – and the advanced research methods relevant to that discipline. You will also choose from a further menu of specialist masterclasses in your subject area, drawing on the expertise of University staff. Current options cover everything from critical theory and policy analysis to the sociology of violence, from emerging technologies in journalism to reading the past through historic houses.
This feeds into your independent research project which forms the culmination of your studies. Those students who are already working can choose a theme which reflects their role at work and addresses a real-world issue important to their organisation.
A dynamic research environment
We provide a challenging, stimulating environment where new researchers can develop and excel. In joining the growing postgraduate community at the University of Derby, you will be inspired by influential researchers whose work is advancing knowledge, transforming professional practice and sparking debate in many areas of humanities and social sciences.
A key aim of the MRes is to promote the co-production of research between students and University staff, so you will enjoy opportunities to contribute to significant research outputs.
Draw on our professional networks
Our thriving links with employers and stakeholders in sectors such as local government, national and international social policy, heritage and criminal justice also open up wide-ranging opportunities for collaborative research.
We may therefore be able to help you identify practice-based research projects in particular sectors and organisations. You will also benefit from a programme of guest lectures featuring leading practitioners who will share their expertise and knowledge with you.
Flexibility to suit you
A highly flexible structure means you can study for the full MRes award or complete shorter programmes culminating in a Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma.
The Postgraduate Diploma route entails a shorter final research project and leads to a named award in your chosen specialism. You can also take just the three research training modules to gain a Postgraduate Certificate in Research Methods in the Social Sciences and Humanities.
The MRes involves a substantial research project preceded by modules in research methodology and a choice of subject-specific modules.
Research Philosophy and Methodology (20 credits)
This module introduces the main theoretical approaches to understanding the social world, addressing questions such as ‘what is knowledge’ and ‘how can we know what we know’. It provides a grounding in the ways research is constructed from different conceptual foundations and the implications that these have for practical issues, such as how to collect and analyse data.
A taught introduction to your subject of choice (20 credits)
- Social Research students will choose one module from Politics and Power; Social Theory and Social Justice; and Politics and Society
- Criminal Psychology students will take a specialist module introducing them to the discipline
- Humanities students will study approaches to research in the humanities
- Journalism students will explore communication theories and ethics applied to journalism.
Introduction to Research Methods (20 credits)
You will gain a firm grasp of research methods which operate across the humanities and social sciences. This module takes the form of four masterclasses covering how to explore existing research; qualitative data collection and analysis; quantitative data collection and analysis; and using archives and documentary analysis.
Advanced Research Methods (20 credits)
Building on the broad foundation of the introductory module, you will explore and develop specialised research, data collection and analytical techniques in more depth. You will select a minimum of eight masterclasses from a wide-ranging menu and these will be agreed with your academic supervisor to ensure they provide a solid preparation for your independent research project. Several masterclasses count as double and will always be offered: Introduction to Survey Research; Advanced Statistical Analysis; Computer Aided Qualitative Analysis; Using SPSS, and Using Grounded Theory.
A further list of at least ten single-session masterclasses will be offered each academic year. These offer you the opportunity to work in small, inter-disciplinary groups, learning alongside and from the academic researchers who will go on to supervise your independent research project. They will explain the questions, methods and theories which have motivated their own research in sessions which allow you to shape your own research ideas. This engagement with active researchers is an important part of the course, paving the way for greater collaboration between staff and students and promoting co-production of research.
Personal Development for Researchers (20 credits)
You will develop professional skills which are invaluable for your future research endeavours. Delivered through four masterclasses, this module embraces crucial issues such as the communication and dissemination of research findings; research management including project planning and risk appraisal; finance, funding and resources including the preparation of a simulated funding proposal; and different approaches to engagement and impact.
Independent research project (80 credits)
You will complete a substantial independent research programme consisting of a literature review and original research. This will culminate in a 20,000-word thesis and a critical reflection on the research process. You will also present your findings at an annual conference.
Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.
This course offers a clear progression to independent learning, moving from critical engagement to hands-on real world learning through your research project.
You begin with more traditional and structured modules where you will be introduced to research methodology and subject-specific content. You will then advance to more student-focussed research masterclass modules with smaller cohorts, followed by the supervised independent research project.
There is a strong emphasis on skills development throughout the programme. You will not only build research, problem-solving, critical reflection and analytical skills but also develop broader abilities in areas such as communication, project management, risk assessment and financial planning.
How you are assessed
Assessment methods vary across the curriculum to include both written and oral communication and to reflect both academic and professional skills. All modules have more than one type of assessment.
In many cases, assessment techniques simulate professional employment as a researcher such as producing research outputs and presenting to peers at a conference.
Who you will meet
The MRes programme is overseen by:
The individual pathways are led by the following academic researchers:
If you are joining this course directly from undergraduate study, you will need a good honours degree (2:1 or above) and to demonstrate your capacity for research.
If you are joining from professional employment, you will need a good honours degree or evidence of significant professional practice (three years or more) in a relevant field. You could be required to undertake a skills needs analysis to ensure the course is suitable for you.
2019/20 Fees (August 2019 - July 2020)
£710 per 20 credits*
£710 per 20 credits*
£14,250 for the full programme
*Note – at postgraduate level, you’ll need to gain the following number of credits in total to obtain the awards below.
|Postgraduate Certificate||60 Credits|
|Postgraduate Diploma||120 Credits|
|MA or MSc||180 Credits|
This means you will gain 180 credits in total to complete the full MA or MSc. If you are studying part time you will normally complete your studies over two or three years, depending on the course structure.
Please note that all fees may be subject to annual increase.
The MRes could be your route into an academic research position or a role as a researcher or research manager in the public, private or voluntary sectors.
The skills you gain on the programme are highly valued by employers from a wide range of settings, especially those where research is harnessed to solve problems related to professional practice. You will be able to demonstrate that you are confident and adept in researching, judging and evaluating complex information; making reasoned arguments; formulating and solving problems; managing projects; using effective methods to communicate your conclusions, and developing new ideas.
For those individuals who take the MRes as part of their continuing professional development, the qualification also paves the way to new opportunities, responsibilities and promotion prospects.
In addition, the MRes programme provides an excellent platform if you want to advance to PhD research and a future career in academic research.
If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.Contact us
† Additional information about your studies
Download programme specification
Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.
Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.