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  • Delivery:
    Full time according to Funding Council definitions, Part-Time

​A Master's by Research (MRes) course allows you to embark upon a research degree by undertaking a research project at Master's level which will be assessed via submission of a thesis and a viva voce.​ This course allows you to explore a specific research question that interests you and by undertaking this degree within our Faculty of Media & Communication you'll have access to leading academics and BU's technical facilties and information resources.

You will also be part of BU's wider postgraduate community and have access to the suite of research, professional and personal training offered through the Graduate School and your Academic faculty. 

We strongly encourage collaboration across specialisms, and an MRes provides an opportunity to work with supervisors from various backgrounds to deliver truly impactful research.

Key information

Next start date:

January 2017, April 2017, September 2017


Bournemouth University, Talbot & Lansdowne Campus


12 - 18 months

Entry requirements:

An Honours degree at 2:1 or higher. If English is not your first language you'll need IELTS 6.5 (Academic) or above. For more information check out our international entry requirements

Course details

A Master's by Research (MRes) provides an opportunity for you to tailor your studies to your specific research interests or career aspirations. Undertaking an MRes within the fields of media, communication or law at BU will allow you to collaborate with world-leading researchers in these areas.

You can set out to find the answer to a particular research question and will have the chance to delve more deeply into a subject area that you are passionate about. We strongly encourage collaboration across specialisms, and an MRes is provides an opportunity to work with supervisors from various backgrounds to deliver truly impactful research.

The MRes is focused on the development of generic research knowledge and critical analysis skills applied to independent research on an approved topic. Your research would normally involve a literature study, an experimental or hypothesis-testing phase, an evaluation phase and a writing-up phase.

Your independent research would be written up as a thesis, which is expected to be between 15,000 and 30,000 words (depending on the discipline). 

Assessment of your thesis will consist of:

  • A presentation of the thesis 
  • An oral examination, normally including a 30 minute presentation and 60 minute viva voca examination.

An MRes is also a good precursor to a PhD, allowing you to develop your research skills, enhance your ability to critically analyse information and solve complex problems. During your MRes you will:

  • Undertake research methods training to develop a comprehensive knowledge of the research methods used within the fields of media, communication or law
  • Critically analyse information in the literature within your chosen field to identify information gaps, and develop and design a research project which addresses an issue within your chosen field
  • Carry out your research project
  • Produce a written critical analysis of the research data
  • Present your research through a thesis and defend it by viva voce (oral) examination, to the satisfaction of examiners.

There is no formally assessed taught component in an MRes, but you will be expected to engage with the Postgraduate Researcher Development Framework, which includes research methodology training. You'll develop your research project in conjunction with experienced academics in your field of interest, who will then provide supervisory support and can introduce their specialist knowledge.

An MRes is the ideal programme for you if you would like to undertake more comprehensive training into original research, or if you want to undertake professional development training in your specific subject area.

Areas of study

You can apply for an MRes in the following subject areas:

  • Political psychology
  • Emotions, culture and society: sociological and psychosocial approaches
  • Sociology of the media and popular culture
  • Psychoanalysis, culture and society
  • Families, religion and society
  • Public law.


In undertaking your MRes you will be supported at BU by:

  • Your Academic faculty - through your Supervisors, immediate research community, postgraduate researcher peers and your Research Administrator
  • The Graduate School - through professional and personal development opportunities and the wider postgraduate community
  • Academic Services - through a network of purpose built libraries, laboratories and open-learning centres equipped with the latest technology, including on-line virtual learning environments.

Your supervisory team will:

  • Provide appropriate support and guidance regarding BU’s research degree regulations, policies and procedures
  • Give support when you are planning your research project, progressing through key milestones to successfully completing in the expected timeframe
  • Maintain regular contact with you and provide constructive feedback on written work and during meetings to support your progress
  • Advise you on professional and personal skill development training opportunities
  • Give guidance about attending and presenting your work at internal and external seminars and conferences
  • Advise on publication of your work in journals and other appropriate media.

Full entry requirements

We would normally expect you to have an Honours degree at Upper Second Class (2:1).

Some supervisors may ask you for additional entry requirements such as relevant work experience, evidence of written work, or previous study of a particular subject.

As entry requirements can vary, it is important to discuss your application in principle before submitting a formal application.

International entry requirements

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide evidence that you can understand English to a satisfactory level. English language requirements for this course are normally:

  • IELTS (Academic) 6.5 with minimum 5.5 in each component or equivalent.

View further information about our English language requirements.

A number of pre-sessional English and preparatory programmes are offered through our partner institution, Bournemouth University International College, and will get you ready for study at BU at the appropriate level.

You can also find further details of the international qualifications we accept, and what level of study they apply to, on our postgraduate entry requirements page.


Undertaking a research degree will not only allow you to carry out research in a specialist field, it will also equip you with a range of transferable skills that can be applied to roles within project management, commercial research and development, or consultancy services.

You may also decide that you would like to pursue a career within academia, developing the research that you undertake during your MRes and sharing your expertise with others who have an interest in a similar field.

Additional information

About the Graduate School

About the Graduate School

Learn how the Graduate School can support you and find out more about our role in postgraduate student life.

International students

International students

We have a strong international student community. Find all the practical advice and information you need here.