MRes Science - University of Portsmouth

MRes Science

An excellent opportunity to join an active research team and develop your science career

Course Overview

Why take this course?

The MRes Science course provides two key ingredients for early-career researchers: a width of transferable research skills combined with a depth of expertise in your chosen subject.

You will join the day-to-day life of a research group and undertake an original project or study with an experienced supervisor. Along the way you will have sessions focussed on the skills and abilities needed to be an effective researcher.

A list of suggested project titles can be found below, in the 'Structure & Teaching' section.

What will I experience?

You will have the opportunity to focus your research interests on one or two areas of science, allowing you to become an expert in subject knowledge. It also provides the environment to translate your findings into research related outputs such as: preparation of a peer reviewed publication, critical review, grant application, conference presentation or intellectual property submission.

The course also contains taught elements of the nationally recognised Researcher Development Framework (RDF, Overall, you will experience a satisfying intellectual challenge within a productive research community, aided by supportive supervision.

What opportunities might it lead to?

The benefits of studying for an MRes include: preparation for doctoral study, having an extended and informed experience of research in a specific domain of expertise, and developing higher transferable skills for research-related careers. Many of our students have gone on to successful PhD positions and higher-grade science and business posts.


Natalie Cox, Research Officer (Fast Stream), Ministry of Justice, Government Social Research Service

I think the MRes greatly helped me get my current position, particularly during interview. The fact I had undertaken a MRes rather than a MA or MSc demonstrated my commitment to research as a career.

Natalie Cox, Research Officer (Fast Stream), Ministry of Justice, Government Social Research Service

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Structure & Teaching


You can study as either a FULL-TIME (one year) or PART-TIME (two year) postgraduate student. You may start in either mid-September or mid-January of any academic year.

The course has two units:

  • Research Project unit (120 credits). This is the main part of the course, with an extended research project undertaken in one of the eight Schools and Departments in the Faculty of Science. You will complete a research poster, career-planning interview, research manuscript and conference talk for this unit.
  • Research Preparation Unit (60 credits). This includes a wide range of RDF skills, including personal effectiveness, research management, professional skills, networking, research organisation, science communication and impact. You will complete a literature review and research funding application for this unit.

During the course you will work with a 1st and 2nd supervisor, who will help you develop your research skills, knowledge and experience. Assessment for each unit is by regularly-spaced coursework items and these build a complete skill set for successful career development.

Suggested Titles

The following downloads contain a list of suggested titles for each School/Department that you may wish to investigate. However, it is not exhaustive. The important aspect is to meet and discuss your proposed project with a member of research staff before you apply.

DescriptionFile Size
Department of Geography PDF 307KB
Department of Psychology PDF 123KB
Department of Sport and Exercise Science PDF 172KB
School of Biological Sciences PDF 205KB
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences PDF 328KB
School of Health Sciences and Social Work PDF 160KB
School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences PDF 213KB
Dental Academy PDF 307KB

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.


Both units involve a number of taught sessions, which are selected by the supervisory team and you, from the Graduate School Development Programme (GSDP) and from Faculty and Department/School subject-specific provision.

Find out more

The first place to start is to discuss some possible project ideas with any member of research staff in the Faculty of Science. If you know the University already, you may decide to approach a lecturer in the School/Department you are familiar with. If you are unsure about the wide range of research we do here, please have a look at the research pages of the relevant department, noting people and areas of research that interest you.

Once you have a person or project in mind, please talk to them about your plans and possible projects. They can help you put together a one-page research proposal. You can then use the online application form and upload your proposal. 

We recommend that you apply during the final year of your undergraduate degree. However, you can still apply up to the beginning of September and the end of January. You will be invited to a 30-minute interview to discuss the proposed project and your science career plans. Please allow at least one working month for the various stages of the process to be completed. Following interview, the final decision of the supervisory team is reached and you will be contacted with a letter and welcome pack if successful.

Interviews for the School of Biological Sciences will be held week beginning 4 June 2018.

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Facilities & Features

Specialist laboratories and scientific equipment

You will benefit from the Science Faculty's state-of-the-art laboratory facilities and scientific equipment to find out more visit our school and departments' facilities pages:

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.

Centre for Simulation in Healthcare 

Our aim is to enhance your learning and experiences through the use of innovative technologies. By mirroring the clinical setting, our Centre can be used to gain clinical experience in a safe, controlled environment. It has two patient simulation centres (one comprising beds with human patient simulators and the other a high-fidelity patient simulator), as well as a mock operating theatre and a laboratory simulation suit. You'll get the chance to build professional practical skills and be taught through real-life scenarios using simulated learning sessions.

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

You will be required to pay the costs of fieldwork which may be in the region of £500 – £1,000.

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Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Those students completing the MRes Science course will have moved to the next level of qualifications with the advantages that this offers in terms of learning and employability. They will also be in an excellent position to apply for any related doctoral training programme, research assistant positions, graduate teaching positions, or general research related roles.

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.

Graduate Profiles

Emma Burnett, MRes Science Graduate

Emma graduated with a first class honours degree in BSc Sport and Exercise Science in 2012 and began the MRes Science course soon after. Focusing her research on Breast Pain, Emma graduated with Merit from the MRes Science course the following year and accepted a PhD opportunity at the University of Portsmouth to conduct further research in the area of breast health.

Joe Collis, MRes Science Graduate

After completing a year as a Visiting Research Student at the UCL School of Pharmacy, Joe embarked on the MRes Science course, studying “The Molecular Mechanism of Matrix Metalloproteinase-1 Activation”. Joe achieved Distinction in the MRes, providing an excellent foundation for his future roles in the science industry. Joe currently works as a Regulatory Affairs Officer at a speciality-based pharmaceutical company.

"Through the MRes I gained valuable experience in managing a research project and developing practical skills in scientific writing and communication. These have provided an excellent foundation for my role in the pharmaceutical industry.”

Caroline Masterman-Smith, MRes Science graduate

After graduating with a first in BSc (Hons) in Biological Sciences at the University of Portsmouth in 2013, Caroline joined UoP’s MRes Science course in the very same year. Over the course of a year, Caroline completed the Graduate Students’ Professional Development (GPROF) course and trained to be a STEM Ambassador, all while achieving a distinction in the MRes in 2014. Caroline started working in Regulatory Affairs at a leading RA consultancy and hopes to continue in RA in the Pharmaceutical and Biotech sectors for the foreseeable future.

“Regulatory Affairs has appealed to me for a long time. This career path allows me to use the skills I have learned throughout my time at University to positively contribute to the healthcare sector.”


Emma Burnett

Emma Burnett
MRes Science Graduate

The MRes was useful for me to gain experience working independently as I had more freedom to design the study I was conducting. This has made it easier to design and conduct the studies for my PhD work. During the course I also gained academic writing experience as I drafted a paper from my undergraduate dissertation which has since been published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health.

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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.

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