Postgraduate Course

Course details

Study options

Full-time: 1 year, Part-time: 2-6 years

UK fee

£9,450 for the full course* (2024/25)

International fee

£14,900 for the full course (2024/25)

Course level




Start date



One Friar Gate Square, Derby Campus

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 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.

Multi-Faith Centre, Kedleston Road

Postgraduate Open Event

Join us at an upcoming Postgraduate Open Event, where you will get the opportunity to meet our expert academics and find out more about your course.

Book your Postgraduate Open EventBook your Postgraduate Open Event

What you will study

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)

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.

How you will learn

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-focused 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 individual pathways are led by the following academic researchers:

Social Research:

Criminal Psychology:



Who will teach you

Sung-Hee Lee

Dr Sung-Hee Lee
Programme leader

Dr Sung-Hee Lee has developed a broad understanding in sociology and social policy, mainly focused on care and gender issues within the context of comparative study between Europe and East Asia. Sung-Hee is currently commencing a research project investigating childcare policy development in East Asia and assessing the impact on working mothers' work-life balance. 

View full staff profileView full staff profile

Entry requirements

To apply for this course, we ask that you submit a research proposal of around 1000 words setting out: 

If your first language is not English, you will need to evidence a proficiency in English (IELTS 6.5 with 5.5 in each skills area). 

Fees and funding

2024/25 (August 2024 - July 2025)


£9,450 for the full course*

£1,050 per 20 credits


£14,900 for the full course


Please note fees normally increase in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees, which is reviewed on an annual basis. The total fee you pay may therefore increase after one year of study.

* UK full-time fees paid within one academic year are rounded down to the nearest £50 if applicable

Additional costs and optional extras

About postgraduate awards

Please note at postgraduate level, you’ll need to gain the following number of credits in total to obtain the respective awards. If you have any questions please contact us.

Postgraduate Certificate60 Credits
Postgraduate Diploma120 Credits
MA or MSc180 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.

Funding your studies

Find out more about fees, postgraduate loans and support you may be entitled to.

Find out about funding your studiesFind out about funding your studies

Alumni discount for Derby graduates

We offer a discount on postgraduate course fees for all Derby alumni.

Find out about the Alumni discountFind out about the Alumni discount

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International student scholarships

We have a range of scholarships and discounts available to international students which can be used together to offer a reduction in your tuition fees.

Find out if you're eligible for an international scholarship Find out if you're eligible for an international scholarship

How to apply

Please look at our application deadlines before you apply.


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.

Contact us

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.

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Additional information about your studies

Download programme specification

Teaching hours

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.

Additional costs and optional extras

We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, excellent facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.

The information provided on this page is correct at the time of publication but course content, costs and other individual course details do change from time to time and are updated as often as possible, so please do check these pages again when making your final decision to apply for a course. Any updated course details will also be confirmed to you at application, enrolment and in your offer letter.

Included in your fees

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