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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 School 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 15-18 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 School 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.

Programme specification

For comprehensive details on the aims and intended learning outcomes of the course, and the means by which these are achieved through learning, teaching and assessment, please download the latest programme specification document.

Meet the team

You will be taught by a teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course.


Professor Alison Kington

PhD, CPsychol, AFBPsS, FRSA


ResearchGate| Twitter|LinkedIn

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.


Professor Richard Woolley

Richard Woolley is Deputy Head of the School of Education. 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.

Richard's 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.

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 Carla Solvason

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 key research interest is the topic of ethicality and how we can embed this within professional development and caring research. With her colleague, Rosie Walker, she has co-authored a book to support Early Years practitioners in their research projects, which is now the key text for students on the course.


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. 

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.


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.

Stephen Parker 2

Professor Stephen G Parker

ORCID | Research Gate | LinkedIn | Twitter    

Professor Stephen Parker is Professor of the History of Religion and Education, Course Leader MPhil/PhD programmes, and lead in the School of Education towards REF2021. He is co-convenor of the Religion and Society Research Interest Group, a cross-university collaborative research initiative with Worcester Cathedral.

Stephen researches the history of education in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and is particularly interested in how religious communities have sought to shape education policy and curricula over time. He is interested in how children have been taught to understand their own faith; how adults have sought to form children’s religious, civic and cultural identities; and how children have experience and respond to the educational initiatives of adults in these areas.


Professor Maggi Savin-Baden

As someone who has always been interested in innovation and change Maggi's interest in learning this has been the focus of her research for many years. Her previous research is focussed on the impact of virtual worlds on learning and teaching, through a large Leverhulme-funded project.

Maggi has 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. She is 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.

She has published over 50 research publications and 15 books, and am currently writing 2 more.

Visit Maggi's Blog

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.

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.


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.


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 School 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