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The Masters by Research in Education is an advanced postgraduate degree which can either be taken as a stand-alone qualification or as progression route into doctoral research.

The Institute of Education is one of the country’s major providers of education, training and research for the children’s workforce. We have a reputation for the highest quality provision, partnership working and delivery.

The Master by Research (MRes) programme provides an opportunity for students to gain a qualification centred on an intensive piece of research. This advanced postgraduate degree provides an exciting opportunity for in-depth understanding and exploration of the rich landscape of educational issues.

The ethos of the programme is based on developing the essential research knowledge and skills related to the broad field of education. All modules included on this degree are research focused and informed and centred on the development of the student as an independent researcher.



Key Features

  • Prepare for doctoral level study
  • Engage in a career in educational research in a range of educational contexts
  • Meet the global need for highly trained individuals who can make informed decisions on future research directions
  • Develop a critical approach to the analysis of data and interpretation of published research.

Our MRes in Education offers you:

Academic rigor: Gain a deeper understanding of your chosen subject area with a challenging combination of taught modules, research training and supervised research.

Wide variety of research interests: We have a strong mix of academics with a high degree of professional and personal experience enabling you to get the most out of both the taught and research element of your programme.

Excellent supervision: Benefit from a professional and challenging relationship with your supervisory team, drawn from experienced academics working at the forefront of their disciplines. 

Resources: Access to the University of Worcester’s virtual resources and to the state of the art Hive library facilities.

Entry requirements

What qualifications will you need?

Entry requirements

You will normally be expected to have:

  • A First or Upper Second-Class Honours (2:1) Degree, or equivalent award, in English or a related subject


  • Appropriate research or professional experience, which can be verified by evidence of achievement. This includes, for example, research related experience in a government organisation, NGO, charitable trust, literary or historical society, heritage organisation, specialist library or museum., professional writing experience (e.g. publicity, marketing, journalism), or creative writing (especially experimental and spoken-word poetry).

Other information

International applicants will be required to demonstrate comparable prior subject experience and to have an appropriate level of written and spoken English (normally an IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum score of 6 in written English).

Entry qualifications for international students are guided by the National Academic Recognition Information Centre’s (NARIC) advice on international qualifications.

Course content

What will you study?

Course Content

The MRes in Education commences with a taught programme. You will be expected to take and pass three taught modules (described below) before proceeding to the research stage of your programme which will culminate in the production of a written thesis that will be examined by an oral exam (viva).

Processes and Skills, Management and Methods

This module is aimed at providing research students with the generic skills they will need to progress with and to complete their research degree. The module focuses on providing students with the skills to plan and manage their research project, to collect and manage their research data and to structure and write their thesis.

Approaches to educational research: methodologies and practicalities

This module focuses on the principles, procedures and processes associated with undertaking education research. Participants will engage with various research paradigms and methodologies, and the ideological, practical and ethical issues associated with education inquiry. Students will critically appraise various approaches to research, synthesising their understanding in a pilot research plan on a given educational research question.

MRes Education Research Thesis Preparation

This module prepares students for their specific MRes Research Thesis by the production of a Personal Development Plan (PDP) and training needs analysis in consultation with the Director of Studies (main research supervisor). A programme of student development and outcomes will be agreed that will then be carried out during the module.

Teaching and assessment

How will you be taught?

The University places emphasis on enabling students to develop the independent learning capabilities that will equip you for lifelong learning and future employment, as well as academic achievement.  A mixture of independent study, teaching and academic support through the personal academic tutoring system enables you to reflect on progress and build up a profile of skills, achievements and experiences that will enable you to flourish and be successful.

You are taught through a combination of face-to-face workshops, training courses (supported by workshop ‘packages’ accessed through Blackboard), seminars (online or face-to-face depending on mode of study) and one-to-one tutorials. In addition, meetings with personal academic tutors are scheduled at the beginning of the course and during each module as required.

Contact time

The precise number of contact hours will depend on the module, whether studying full- or part-time, and on the mode of study (i.e. face-to-face or online/distance). During the thesis module, contact time is reduced and is based on approximately one supervision session per month.  

Independent self-study

In addition to the contact time, you are expected to undertake around 150-180 hours of personal self-study per week, depending on the module and mode of study. Typically, this will involve reading papers, books and reports in the substantive area of study, as well as books and articles relating to the chosen theoretical/conceptual and methodological approaches.

Independent learning is supported by a range of excellent learning facilities, including the Hive and library resources, the virtual learning environment, and extensive electronic learning resources. 

Teaching staff

You will be taught by a teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. The team includes members of staff from the Research School (module 1), as well as staff from the Institute of Education. 


The course provides opportunities to test understanding and learning informally through the completion of ‘formative’ assignments. Each module has one or more formal or ‘summative’ assessments which are graded and count towards the overall module grade.  

Assessment methods include presentations, personal development plans (PDP) and assignments.

The precise assessment requirements for an individual student in an academic year will vary according to the modules taken, but a typical assessment pattern for the course is:

Module 1:

  • Researcher Development Plan based on their own personal training needs analysis (using Vitae’s ‘Getting Started in Research Lens’ as a starting point)
  • Literature Review for their chosen subject area that critically evaluates current research, synthesising clearly and coherently contemporary thinking to identify key issues
  • Project and Data Management Plan for the duration of their study that identifies activities and their critical path, milestones and any other important events that will impact on their research
  • 10-minute presentation to peers and academics setting out the current state of their proposal including a methodology section 

Module 2:

  • A poster representing the research design proposal    
  • A pilot research design in response to a given research question of relevance to the student’s interests and professional background, situating the study methodologically, and showing consideration for the ethical and practical aspects, depicted by assessment item 1

Module 3:

  • Initial Personal Development Plan    
  • A detailed critique of chosen methodological technique or theoretical approach

Module 4:

  • Interim evaluation where the student will make a presentation to a panel consisting of the supervisor(s) and at least one suitable internal advisor (after 3 months)Thesis (not to exceed 30,000 words)


You will receive feedback on draft assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback is intended to support learning and you are encouraged to discuss it with personal academic tutors and module tutors as appropriate.

We aim to provide you with feedback on formal course work assessments within 20 working days of hand-in.


Dr Karen Blackmore

Karen has always found science fascinating; one of her earliest memories is of watching rain drops hitting a window pane. What determined which one reached the bottom of the window pane first? Was it the size of the rain drop or where it landed? This initial childhood curiosity fuelled a lifetime interest in science.

Karen pursued her scientific education in the beautiful city of Bath, answering slightly more complex scientific problems but still with the same level of fascination. She then forged a career in the pharmaceutical industry as a Senior Research Scientist. One of the most fulfilling aspects of this role was acting as a mentor to Masters students. Years later this prompted her to cross-train in the education sector as a secondary science teacher. A decade and a half later, working in school as a Science Teacher Training Mentor, led her to reflect what is more important? the acquisition of science knowledge itself or the processes by which that is achieved?.

As a Learning and Teaching Fellow and Science Mentor at the University of Worcester , Karen hopes to meld her passion for science with a deep reaching interest in how people learn. She teaches on the undergraduate BA QTS and the PGCE initial teacher training courses, as well as supervising and teaching Masters, Ed.D and Ph.D. students. Her philosophy on teaching and learning is best described by this YouTube video clip, where she asks her students to reflect on the metaphor of an osprey seeking its prey and understanding knowledge acquisition and assessment.


  • PGCE, Teaching and Learning in HE. University of Worcester
  • OCR Teaching Certificate, Specific Learning Difficulties (Dyslexia), South Worcestershire College
  • PGCE, Secondary Combined Science, University of Worcester
  • PhD, Pharmacy and Pharmacology, University of Bath
  • BSc Hons, Biochemistry, University of Bath

Professor Jaswinder K Dhillon

ORCID| LinkedIn

Jaswinder joined the University as Professor of Education in January 2015, having previously worked in further and higher education in a range of teaching, research and leadership roles. Jas is passionate about research and research-informed professional practice and has extensive experience of teaching and research supervision at undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral levels both in the UK and in other countries, including China, India, Holland, Mauritius and the Solomon Islands.

In her own research, Jas has focussed on investigating the perspectives of students, teachers and managers, particularly in relation to policies and initiatives that aim to improve existing practice. For her PhD, she researched partnership working amongst education and training providers and uncovered the role of social capital in inter-organisational partnerships. Jas has developed and researched partnerships in other settings, such as international partnerships with China, Mauritius and India and is currently an international mentor for educational research at Central University of Punjab, India. Her other areas of research are qualitative research methodologies, collaborative leadership, teaching and teacher education, learning and assessment, higher education, further and vocational education and TESOL.

Currently, Jas is researching outstanding leadership in schools and colleges, the role of education, entrepreneurship and social capital in Sikh families and the ethics of engagement in cross-cultural research. In her recent research with British Sikh families, Jas has developed an innovative methodology, bilingual-bicultural ethnography, which uses her bilingual skills in English and Panjabi and insider-outsider research positionalities, to capture and interpret the experiences of three generations of British Sikhs. She has been given an honour and award by the British Sikh community for her work in this field of research.

In the wider research community, Jas is actively engaged in national and international research associations and in editorial work for leading education journals. She is associate editor for the journal Educational Management Administration & Leadership (EMAL), and a long standing member of the editorial board and editorial management committee of the Journal of Vocational Education and Training (JVET), and served as editor for four years.She maintains her practical knowledge of school and college leadership and governance through her voluntary work as a governor in a secondary school and a governor in a further education college.

Academic qualifications

  • PhD, (University of Warwick, 2006) Joining-up: a study of partnership in post-16 learning
  • MSc Teaching English for Specific Purposes (University of Aston, 1986)
  • BA (Joint Hons) History and Philosophy, (University College Cardiff, 1976)

Professional qualifications

  • Fellow of Higher Education Academy (FHEA), 2000
  • Dip RSA Training and Development, 1992
  • PGCE (Secondary) University College Cardiff, 1977

Professor Alison Kington

PhD, CPsychol, AFBPsS, FRSA


ResearchGate| Twitter|LinkedIn

Since completing her PhD in 2001, Alison has worked in a number of research and teaching roles and has gained extensive experience of, and expertise in, designing and conducting mixed methods research in education and social psychology. Her research focuses on classroom life; that is, the experiences, relationships and perceptions of children, teachers and other practitioners in schools, with an emphasis on the utilization and application of research to improve professional practice. Specifically, her main research interests are teacher-pupil and peer relationships, the impact of social interaction on cognition and development, classroom identities, and the relationship between career phase and effective practice.

Over the past 15 years, Alison has contributed to the success of a range of international and national research projects funded by Research Councils and Government agencies, including studies of the work and lives of teachers (DfES), effective classroom practice (ESRC), school leadership and pupil outcomes (DfES), and inspirational and effective teachers (CfBT). She is currently engaged in a number of research projects including the professional identity of mid-career primary teachers, the role of school staff rooms, and the impact of friendships in the transition from pre-school to reception.

As well as her involvement in research, Alison has a number of additional responsibilities at University and Institute levels. She is Chair of the Humanities, Arts and Social Science Research Ethics Committee (HASSREC), convenor of the Social Psychology of Education Research Interest Group, and course leader for the MRes Education. Alison is currently supervising 8 (4 PhD & 4 EdD) research students who come from a range of international and national contexts, and has supervised a further 12 (7 PhD & 5 EdD) students to successful completion of their studies.

Alison is lead editor of the forthcoming volume, Social and Learning Relationships in the Primary School, lead author of Effective Classroom Practice (2014, McGraw-Hill), co-author of Teachers Matter (2007), and co-editor of The Role of Theory and Research in Educational Practice (2008) and Paradigms and Research of Educational Practice (2012).She has also published papers and chapters relating to her substantive and methodological interests.

Academic qualifications:

  • PhD Education andSocial Psychology (University of Bristol, 2001)
  • BEd (Hons) Primary Education and English (University of the West of England, 1994)

Professional qualifications:

  • Postgraduate Certificate: Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (2014)
  • Certificate: Associate Teachers Programme (2010)
  • Certificate: Teaching and Learning (2008)
  • Certificate: Research Management (2005)

Professor Stephen G Parker

ORCID | Research Gate | LinkedIn | Twitter    

Stephen joined the Institute of Education at Worcester in 2008, becoming a Professor in 2013. Whilst at Worcester Stephen has led and developed a range of programmes, including the MA Education and the university’s professional doctorate, as well as teaching across undergraduate and postgraduate teacher education awards. He is presently course lead for MPhil/PhD awards for the Institute and Unit of Assessment Lead in preparation for REF2021.

Since publishing Faith on the Home Front in 2005, Stephen has published widely on aspects of both the religious history of education and childhood. He is a leading contributor to developing international perspectives on the history of religious education. In addition, he has published research utilising social scientific methodologies, and on aspects of the philosophy of education and religion.

Since being awarded a prestigious research project Grant by the Leverhulme Trust, for a project entitled Faith on the Air: religious educational broadcasting history, c.1920-, Stephen has continued to develop expertise in the wider aspects of educational media history. His book, Religious Education: a broadcasting history will be published by Oxford University Press in 2019.

Stephen’s work at the University of Worcester utilises his research in various ways: directly, in teaching across courses on issues in religion and education, and also in developing critical perspectives upon the formation of education policy and practice over time.

Since 2008, Stephen has been engaged in several other funded research projects as Co or Principal Investigator:

• The professionalization of Religious Education since 1944 (funded by the Westhill Endowment) 
• The Hidden History of Curriculum Change in Religious Education in English schools, 1969-1979 (funded by the British Academy) 
• The Hidden History of Religious Education: The Life-Histories of R.E. Professionals in the Midlands from the long 1960s to the 1980s (funded by the Westhill Endowment). 
• The impact of A-level Religious Studies on the values and outlook of 16-19 year olds (funded by the St. Gabriel’s and the St Peter’s Saltley Trusts in)

Stephen has been an Associate Fellow of the Warwick Religions and Education Research Unit since 2009. 

He is also an affiliated member of the University of Exeter’s Religion, Spirituality and Education Network and the University of Birmingham’s DOMUS: interdisciplinary research in histories of education and childhood.

Academic Qualifications

  • PhD (Birmingham)
  • PGCert (Teaching and Learning in Higher Education) (Liverpool)
  • MA (Birmingham)
  • B.Ed (Hons) Religious and Theological Studies and Education (Birmingham)

Maggi Savin-Baden

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As someone who has always been interested in innovation and change my interest in learning this has been the focus of my research for many years. My previous research is focussed on the impact of virtual worlds on learning and teaching, through a large Leverhulme-funded project. Further, over the last three years I have been developing the method of Qualitative Research Synthesis. I have researched and evaluated staff and student experience of learning for over 20 years and gained funding (Leverhulme Trust, JISC,) to research the effectiveness of learning in new electronic and immersive spaces. I am an experienced evaluator not only of curricula but also of research and research methodologies and an expert in the development of innovative and creative scenarios designed for learning. My research over the last 5 years has focussed on exploring learning in a digital age and examining the impact of diverse forms of digital technology on learning. Such research has been focussed on examining new pedagogical stances and perspectives, and the research has been located in and through a variety of qualitative approaches. I have published over 50 research publications and 15 books, and am currently writing 2 more. In my spare time I run, rock climb, ski and attempt to be a triathlete.


  • 2010 MSc E-Learning, University of Edinburgh
  • 2005 Certificate in Educational Leadership, (Distinction), University of Leicester
  • 1996 PhD, University of London
  • 1989 MA in Further and Higher Education, University of London
  • 1987 Diploma in Teaching and Curriculum Development in Higher Education (Distinction), University of London

Dr Ruth Hewston

Ruth joined the University of Worcester in 2009 having worked in both teaching and research led Higher Education Institutions for over ten years. Prior to joining the University of Worcester, she was employed as a Senior Research Fellow within the National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth (NAGTY) and the Centre for Educational Development Appraisal and Research (CEDAR), both at the University of Warwick. She has also held posts at the University of Leicester, University of Wolverhampton and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. She is now Head of Department for Education and Inclusion.

Over the past 18 years, she has led and contributed to a number of national and international projects in inclusive education, giftedness and supporting learners with additional educational needs. In 2012-2015 Ruth was involved in the GUIDE Project, funded by the European Commission under the Lifelong Learning Programme, which developed a professional training package for teachers across Europe working with learners with additional needs in mainstream settings.

Aside from her academic interests, Ruth is also a volunteer Research Networker for the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) and a Patient for Public Involvement (PPI) Advisor for CLARHC West Midlands Maternity and Child Health Theme. Ruth also contributes as a volunteer and lay member to projects in obstetric care, including as a co-applicant on a number of research grants in public health and maternity care at the University of Birmingham.

Ruth is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA) and a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (FRSA). She is also an Associate Fellow (AFBPsS) and Chartered Psychologist (CPsychol) with the British Psychological Society.

Academic qualifications:

  • PhD Entitled “Using music to regulate mood”
  • MA Psychology for Musicians
  • PgCert Mentoring and Coaching for Leadership in Education (with Distinction)
  • PgCert Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (with Distinction)
  • Dip Psych Diploma in Psychology
  • BA (Hons) Performing Arts

Professional accreditations:

  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA)
  • Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (FRSA)
  • Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society (AFBPsS)
  • Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society (CPsychol)     

Dr Colin Howard

Dr Colin Howard has been involved in primary education for 24 years of which over 14 years has been as a successful headteacher in both small village and large primary settings. He has a strong research background in educational leadership and the influence that school buildings have upon their stakeholders. He currently inspects schools for the Diocese of Hereford as a S48 SIAMS Inspector.


  • Ph.D (University of Birmingham 2013)
  • Title 'The Influence of new school buildings upon the motivation, morale and job satisfaction of their teaching staff.
  • M.Ed Educational Leadership (Gloucester University 2006).
  • B.Ed (Hons) (Lancaster University 1986).
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education
  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Leading Teaching Award (University of Worcester) 2016


Dr Pinky Jain

Pinky is passionate about education, especially the professional development of trainee teachers and the teaching of maths in schools.

Pinky teaches on the BA QTS and PGCE (Primary Mathematics Modules, Professional Studies and Independent Research Modules), is Subject Leader for Primary Mathematics and is Programme Leader for the PGCE Mathematics Specialist Pathway. She is currently supervising 4 Masters research students from the UK and abroad.


Dr Wendy Messenger

Following a successful teaching career in Early Years, Primary and Special Education, Wendy has been involved with a range of undergraduate and post graduate courses at the University of Worcester including the Foundation Degree in Learning Support, BA Education Studies, BA Professional Practice, and PGCE Primary Initial Teacher Education and is currently Course Leader for MA Education.

Wendy has had key roles in national and international projects, including the role of regional coordinator for the ‘Behaviour for Learning’ (TDA funded) 2004-2007 project, and as a research team member for the European project (Comenius funded) entitled ‘Professional Resources in Early Childhood Intervention: online utilities and standards’ (PRECIOUS) 2008-2010.

Wendy’s research interests lie in the field of inter-professional working and in special and inclusive education. She is currently the Director of Studies for a PhD Studentship entitled; ‘A Evaluation of SENCo Perceptions of the implementation of Education Health and Care Plans’



  • B.Ed Westhill College of Higher Education, Birmingham 1979
  • M.Ed. (Special Education) University of Birmingham 1994
  • Accreditation as a Teacher in Higher Education. University of Worcester. 2004. Staff and Educational Development Association (SEDA)
  • Post Graduate Certificate in Research Methods. University of Worcester. 2007
  • PhD (Education) University of Worcester 2013. The influence of professional cultures on collaborative working in Children’s Centres.

Dr Carla Solvason


  • BA(QTS) English and RE
  • MA Gender, Literature and Modernity
  • PhD Inclusion or Excellence (Education based)
  • PGCert Teaching and Learning in Higher Education

In Carla's current role as senior lecturer at the University of Worcester her key area of responsibility is around the area of research. This involves ensuring that student practitioners are given the support that they need to carry out worthwhile research projects, but also encouraging colleagues to reach their full research potential. Her most recent publications and presentations have explored the topic of ethicality and how we can embed this within professional development. With her colleague, Rosie Walker, she has co-authored a book to support Early Years practitioners in their research projects, which has received very positive reviews.

She delivers CPD on supporting children’s speech, language and communication development and has also completed longitudinal collaborative research in this area. She is currently carrying out an evaluation of a school leadership development programme with a local authority. 

Carla’s first role was as a primary school teacher. During that time she completed a Masters in Gender, Literature and Modernity (classic literature remains a passion of hers) and a PhD in Education, specifically looking at concepts of inclusion. Before starting work at Worcester, in 2009, she spent a year as a consultant for the children’s communication charity, I CAN.


Dr Richard Woolley

Richard Woolley is Deputy Head in the Institute of Education.He has been at the University of Worcester since September 2011, having worked previously at what is now Bishop Grosseteste University in Lincoln. His career started in primary education, in north Yorkshire, before moving to work in further and higher education in Derbyshire and then returning to primary school teaching in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. He has served as a deputy head teacher and special educational needs coordinator, as well as being curriculum coordinator for several subjects across the primary phase of education.He was Head of Centre for Education and Inclusion at the University of Worcester from 2011 to 2017.

Richards professional and research interests centre on the areas of inclusion, diversity and equality, including the personal and social development of children, values and issues in primary education, religious education and special educational needs provision. He is the author of Tackling Controversial Issues in the Primary School and co-author of Relationships and Sex Education 5 11, The Spiritual Dimension of Childhood,Values and Vision in Primary Education, Understanding Inclusionand in the area of early years provision Personal Social and Emotional Development and Knowledge and Understanding of the World. He has also written chapters for several other books as well as presenting conference papers and publishing articles.


  • PhD (Sheffield)
  • MA (Leeds)
  • NPQH
  • PGCE (Ripon & York St John/Leeds)
  • BA (Ripon & York St John/Leeds)
  • ALCM

Where could it take you?

You will meet the global need for highly trained individuals who can make informed decisions on future research directions.


How much will it cost?


The current fees can be found within the tuition fees document on our figure out finances page.

How to apply

How do you apply?

How to apply

Before submitting an application, potential applicants should contact the course leader, Professor Alison Kington (a.kington with an expression of interest, to discuss their potential research topics and ideas. This will enable us to ascertain that we have the necessary expertise and if relevant, the equipment required for the project to be completed successfully.

Having completed the expression of interest stage and discussed research ideas with the course leader, you should apply online at least 8 weeks before the start of the Semester (September or January).

All applications are passed to the relevant course leader for consideration. If the application has potential, an interview is scheduled by a panel comprising at least two members of academic staff.


An offer of a place on the MRes will be made when the following conditions are satisfied:

  • Applicant meets the specified entry requirements.
  • The Institute has the supervisory capacity and expertise to support the research project outlined in the application form.
  • The proposal outlined has the potential to become a viable research project at Masters level.

Apply for enrolment

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Get in touch

Professor Alison Kington