MRes Humanities and Social Sciences - University of Portsmouth

MRes Humanities and Social Sciences

An excellent opportunity to join an active research community and develop your career.

Course Overview

Why take this course?

The Research Master's or MRes is unique because the course content is determined by you, the student. Offering you the opportunity for tailored-learning to meet your academic or professional needs, you get to work with relevant staff to set your own timetable, objectives and deadlines. This highly flexible course consists of a range of subject streams offering the opportunity for in-depth study of a specific area of interest. The opportunities for developing your research skills will equally enhance your professional development. 

You can study the MRes as a campus-based or DL course. The DL course is supported by excellent online materials and offers you even more flexibility so that you can can tailor your learning to suit you and your employer. The DL route also allows you to gain a university qualification without taking a career break and provides an opportunity to gain professional recognition. 

On the campus-based course, you will spend part of your time in the taught element of your course - covering your chosen subject and training in research methodology - and part in your personalised research project. 

You can study within any of the Faculty's schools: the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies, the School of Education and Childhood Studies, the School of Languages and Area Studies, or the School of Social, Historical and Literary Studies. The course is run in conjunction with the University Graduate School.

What will I experience?

You will focus your research interest in the humanities and social sciences as you work towards being able to translate your learning into research related outputs (e.g. submission for a peer reviewed publication, peer reviewed research/knowledge transfer grant application, presentations).

What opportunities might it lead to?

The MRes will enable you to acquire research methods training and skills that are relevant to your current and future employment, and that may facilitate the achievement of your further career progression through engagement with continuing professional development activities.

Exit awards

You will graduate from the MRes with an award appropriate to the topics you have researched:

  • MRes African Studies
  • MRes American Studies
  • MRes Applied Linguistics
  • MRes Childhood Studies
  • MRes Communication
  • MRes Criminology and Criminal Justice Studies
  • MRes Development Studies
  • MRes Education
  • MRes European Politics
  • MRes Forensic Investigation
  • MRes Gender Studies
  • MRes History
  • MRes International Relations
  • MRes Literary Studies
  • MRes Politics
  • MRes Public Administration
  • MRes Security Risk Management
  • MRes Security Studies
  • MRes Sociology
  • MRes TESOL
  • MRes Translation


Anna Rybak, MRes graduate

Now that my MRes journey is nearly over, I just wanted to write some words of gratitude for the support during my MRes studies. Everything possible was done to make our study experience enjoyable and meaningful. I think the course is well structured, well monitored and I strongly recommend the course.

Anna Rybak, MRes graduate

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Structure & Teaching


This course is offered on two pathways.

Pathway A: you will either focus one third of your time in research training and development and two-thirds of your time in your individual research project

  • Research Preparation and Development (60 credits)
  • Research Project (120 credits)

Pathway B: you will spend half of your time in the taught element of your course, covering your chosen subject specialism training and research training and development, and the other half in your individual research project. 

  • Subject Specialism (30 credits)
  • Research Preparation and Development (60 credits)
  • Research Project (90 credits)

We use the best and most current research and professional practice, alongside feedback from our students, to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.


The units involve a number of taught sessions which are selected by you and your supervisory team from those available with the Graduate School Development Programme (GSDP) and from Faculty and Department/School subject-specific provision. These will support a route towards further research that synergises with research themes in the Faculty.

Research proposal

You will refine and submit your research proposal as part of the course, but it is important that you know the area of study you intend to research and that we have an appropriate supervisor for you. Please draft a 1000-word outline of your proposed research area to accompany your application form. You may explore our supervisory staff and their research interests via Pure, our research portal: Researchers in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

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Facilities & Features

Respected research centres

Portsmouth's Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences is home to strong clusters of research. These include CEISR, the UK's top centre for research in European Studies (Research Fortnight), and  ICJS, one of the UK's largest centres in criminology and criminal justice studies.

Graduate School

The University of Portsmouth Graduate School supports, administers and coordinates training for the MPhil, PhD, and Professional Doctorate programmes. We aim to involve you fully in our research programmes by providing professional training, offering high-quality supervision, and giving you the opportunity to develop your knowledge and to equip you for your future career or further research.

University Library

Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.

Budgeting for your studies

There may be extra costs arising from your studies which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Some are common costs to all courses of study. These may include the cost of study texts, reference books, photocopying and computer supplies. Others relate to specific courses and may include field trips, materials and specialist equipment.

Other costs to consider

There may be travel costs for placements. These can be in the region of £50 - £1000.

Distance learners may be required to pay for travel, accommodation and subsistence to attend our optional campus induction events, workshops and study days. These may be in the region of £50 - £500. There may be travel costs for optional internships/placements. These will vary depending on the nature of internship/placement and can range from £50 - £1000.

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Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

The MRes will enable you to acquire research methods training and skills that are relevant to your current and future employment and potentially facilitate the achievement of your further career progression through engagement with continuing professional development activities.

Career planning

One of the benefits of studying at Portsmouth is the support that we provide to our Master's and Research Degree students in career planning. Our careers and recruitment service can assist you in career research and finding employment opportunities. Help is also available if you wish to find a part-time job while studying your degree.

We offer our postgraduate students and alumni one-to-one appointments with a careers adviser, or an online service for those not able to travel back to the University. Our alumni can call on our career services for five years after graduation.

In addition, regular employability events offer you the chance to meet employers, find out about different career sectors and improve your applications or CV. The Graduate Summer Programme provides a range of guidance and employability seminars and workshops.

Benefits of Postgraduate Study

Regardless of whether you are seeking to build on your studies, further your career or pursue a career change, a postgraduate qualification adds to your achievement record.

  • Postgraduate study may greatly improve your chances of getting that first break.
  • Many graduate employers prefer the higher intellectual rigour displayed in postgraduate students.
  • Recruiters for roles requiring specialist knowledge or research particularly target those with higher level qualifications.
  • Postgraduate study shows you can take the challenge of in-depth study; acquiring transferable skills in team working and problem solving techniques.
  • If you have a passion for a particular subject, postgraduate study can also be something undertaken as part of your own development at an appropriate time in your life.

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Apply now or visit us

Online application form

Apply direct using our online form

Your application will be received by the University Admissions Centre for consideration.

Postgraduate Open Evenings

Our Postgraduate Open Evenings are taking place between February and April. Lecturers and support staff will be available to discuss your options. You'll also find out more about your chosen course and subjects that interest you.

Booking will open soon but in the meantime, watch our Postgrad Live series to hear from our staff and students about what it's like studying at Portsmouth. 

Other opportunities to visit

Download our free walking tour PDF for a self-guided tour of the University.

We have an open-door policy so you will be able to take a look in our buildings, speak to some of our support services and get a feel for the campus.

Find out more about our self-guided walking tours.

Can't get to Portsmouth?

If you can’t make it to Portsmouth, come and see us at one of the events we attend around the UK.

If you would like to speak with a member of staff about any courses you are interested in, please email and we will arrange this for you.

Staff from the University of Portsmouth Global office also regularly attend overseas exhibitions. To find out more about these and our visits to your region see our exhibitions page.

Fees and Funding

Find out more about fees and funding available to you at Portsmouth.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.

University of Portsmouth
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Portsmouth PO1 2UP

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