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River Science MRes

The Master of Research in River Science is an advanced postgraduate degree which can either be taken as a stand-alone qualification or as progression route into doctoral research.

This MRes aims to provide a synthesis of scientific knowledge on river geomorphology, hydrology and ecology and focuses on the application of scientifically sound and environmentally-sensitive river management. It also seeks to provide the theoretical underpinning and field and/or laboratory training necessary to undertake a River Science research project at Masters level.

The Programme aims to prepare students:
- For doctoral level study.
- To engage in a career in River Science within a government agency (e.g. Environment Agency), charity (e.g. a Rivers Trust or Wildlife Trust) or an environmental consultancy.
- To meet the global need for highly trained individuals who can make informed decisions on future research directions.
- To think for themselves in the development of a critical approach to the analysis of data and interpretation of published research.

Our MREs in River Science programme offers you:
Academic rigour: 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 its state of the art library facilities. The Institute of Science and the Environment has a number of laboratories and other specialist facilities available to your course. In addition to the large laboratory in the Darwin building, there are five other laboratories. The River Science team at Worcester have an excellent range of resources available to support your learning and your research project, including; field equipment for flow monitoring, water quality assessment, remote sensing & surveying; laboratory equipment for water quality analysis; and computer software for statistical analysis of data, GIS and image analysis.

Postgraduate Loans

Postgraduate Loans of up to £10,609 are now available for UK students. For more information visit our postgraduate loans page


How to apply

Please make your application via our online application form. If you have any questions, please contact the Research School on 01905 542182 or

Before you submit a full application, please contact Dr Ian Maddock ( to discuss your research project and the availability of appropriate supervision.

Entry qualifications

Applicants are expected to have a First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree or equivalent award in Geography, Environmental Science, Ecology, Biology, a Science subject or another relevant degree (with a strong performance in their final year undergraduate research project / dissertation / independent study), or have appropriate research or professional experience which has resulted in appropriate evidence of achievement. For example, experience in a research environment such as private research and development, or public research laboratories.

International applicants will also be required to demonstrate that they have the appropriate level of written and spoken English (normally 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.


For information on current fees, please visit our course fees page.

Course content

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.

Research Methods in River Science
This module will provide the student with the skills required to design, execute and report on a significant research project at Masters level. The module will include a review of key concepts and paradigms in River Science, development of the discipline at the interface of hydrology, geomorphology and ecology, aspects of descriptive and multivariate statistical analysis, the design and completion of a mini research project and presentation of research results as a precursor to the Thesis.

Research Thesis Preparation
This module prepares students for their specific MRes Research Thesis by producing a PDP and training needs analysis in consultation with their research supervisor. A programme of student development and outcomes will be agreed during the module.

Course content

The MRes in River Science 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).

The Institute of Science and Environment’s educational and research expertise within River Science encompasses a range of topics including fluvial geomorphology, hydrology and ecology and includes the application of field surveying and monitoring, GIS and remote sensing.

Our research specialisms lie at the interface of these traditional subjects and include hydromorphology, hydroecology, ecohydraulics, river restoration, physical habitat assessment and remote sensing and image analysis of riverine environments, including the use of our Draganflyer X6 Unmanned Aerial System (UAS). More details about the River Science Research Group at Worcester on the website.

Meet the team

Meet the team

Dr Ian Maddock
Principal Lecturer (Physical Geography)

Dr Fleur Visser
Lecturer in Physical Geography

Dr Tory Milner
Lecturer in Physical Geography