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Education MRes

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.

The Programme aims to prepare students to:

  • 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
  • Think for themselves in the development of 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.


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.

Apply for enrolment

Apply full-time
Apply part-time

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.

Teaching and Assessment


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. You can learn more about the staff by visiting the course webpage.


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 fassessment 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.

Course content

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).

Module Summary

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.


Meet the team

Meet the team

Name Role Expertise
Dr Karen Blackmore Senior Lecturer STEM; science within primary teacher preparation; co-construction of professional identity.
Dr Scott Buckler
Senior Lecturer Transpersonal psychology; professional change.
Prof Jaswinder Dhillon Professor Post-compulsory education.
Prof Alison Kington Professor Mixed methods research; teachers' work and lives; professional identity and career phase; school/teacher effectiveness; classroom behaviour and interaction; teacher-pupil and peer relationships; children's socio-cognitive development.
Prof Stephen Parker Professor History of religion and education
Prof Maggi Savin-Baden Professor

Problem-based learning; digital tethering; qualitative research synthesis; learning spaces; second life learning.

Additional course staff:
Dr Ruth Hewston Senior Lecturer Gifted, talented and highly able pupils; effective pedagogies for creative arts learning; the development of musical ability.
Dr Colin Howard Senior Lecturer Primary science; educational leadership; motivation, morale and job satisfaction.
Dr Pinky Jain Senior Lecturer The use of ICT in mathematics; SEND and mathematics; teacher trainees’ efficacy in school
assessment in mathematics.
Dr Karima Kadi-Hanifi Senior Lecturer Linguistics (especially sociolinguistics), critical pedagogy; second language acquisition; equality and diversity; employability; inclusion.
Dr Wendy Messenger Senior Lecturer Inclusive practice; professional identity and culture; inter-professional working.
Dr Carla Solvason Senior Lecturer Early years; early childhood.
Dr Richard Woolley Associate Head of Institute & Principal Lecturer Diversity, equality and inclusion; citizenship and PSHE; relationships and sex education; religious education and children’s spirituality; first generation and non-traditional students in higher education.

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