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Biological Sciences MRes

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Course description

The one-year Masters of Research (MRes) programme is an innovative route to starting out on a research career. The MRes will provide you with a unique opportunity to experience research projects over a broad range of disciplines and laboratory environments. Where better to study than in the Faculty of Life Sciences - one of the largest and most successful unified research and teaching organisations of its kind in Europe.

Our MRes programme allows you to gain research experience and professional skills, sometimes in a different area to your first degree, before deciding on a future career in industry or academic research. This will allow you to make an informed choice about the research area you want to invest your scientific career in.

You choose two laboratory placements which can be in any of the areas of research offered by the Faculty of Life Sciences. As we have over 200 research active labs we can offer you a wide range of projects to choose from. For an idea of the breadth of available projects, browse the Faculty research group pages.

The programme also helps to develop your transferable skills in essential areas such as experimental design, statistics, bioethics and science communication.

Teaching and learning

The programme comprises four compulsory components:

Research projects: Your two projects will provide experience in carrying through a substantive research project including the planning, execution and communication of original scientific research. They are assessed by written report.

Tutorials and Workshop Unit : Tutorials give you the opportunity to learn about research being carried out in the Faculty of Life Sciences and thereby to acquire a broad knowledge of biological sciences. The Bioethics Workshop gives you experience of exploring and debating some of the ethical issues that surround current scientific research. Activities for the Tutorials and Bioethics unit include preparative directed reading, private study and preparation of oral presentations. This unit is assessed by members of staff for the tutorial session and staff assessment of oral presentation during the tutorial and written reports

Science Communication Unit: This unit allows you to acquire the ability to listen to a presentation, understand the key concepts and record important details, and then summarise its contents in a brief written report. Activities include private study and preparation of written assignment. For each of 5 seminar presentations, a 500 word précis has to written. You are assessed on these assignments plus a poster and an oral presentation.

Experimental Design and Statistics Unit: This unit aims to introduce you to the procedures and tools used in the design of experiments and the methods and tools used in statistical data analysis. Activities include lectures, workshops, group discussions and e-learning. Assessment is through multiple choice exam, critical assessment of literature and online statistics exercises.

Coursework and assessment

The programme is recognised for the provision of MRes training by the BBSRC, and comprises four compulsory components:

Research projects provide experience in carrying through a substantive research project including the planning, execution and communication of original scientific research. They are assessed by written report.

The Tutorials give you the opportunity to learn about research being carried out in the Faculty of Life Sciences and thereby to acquire a broad knowledge of biological sciences.The Bioethics Workshop gives you experience of exploring and debating some of the ethical issues that surround current scientific research. Activities for the Tutorials and Bioethics unit include preparative directed reading, private study and preparation of oral presentations. This unit is assessed by peer-review of tutorial session and staff assessment of oral presentation during the tutorial and written reports.

The Teaching Seminars allow you to acquire the ability to listen to a presentation, understand the key concepts and record important details, and then summarise its contents in a brief written report. Activities include private study and preparation of written assignment. For each of 5 seminar presentations, a 500 word précis has to written.

The Experimental Design and Statistics unit aims to introduce you to the procedures and tools used in the design of experiments and the methods and tools used in statistical data analysis. Activities include lectures, workshops, group discussions and e-learning. This unit is assessed by multiple choice exam short answer and essay worksheet and critical assessment of literature.

Course unit details

This is a research focused Masters course. We do not teach using a traditional lecture-based format; instead we use an interactive approach where you learn through seminars, workshops, small group tutorials and during your research placements.

The programme starts in September and runs for 12 months. You require 180 credits to complete the programme, of which:

  • 135 credits are from research projects
  • 45 credits are from transferable skills units
Research Projects

Your projects each run for 18-weeks starting in October and April.

Transferable Skills

45 credits are achieved through completion of activities that develop your transferable skills in essential areas such as experimental design, statistics, bioethics (included in the tutorial and workshop unit) and science communication. Experimental Design and Statistics runs at the start of the year to prepare you for your research projects. Elements of the other units run throughout the year alongside your research projects.

Disclaimer: Our modules teach the current trends in life sciences. Consequently, details of our modules may vary over time. The University therefore reserves the right to make such alterations to modules as are found to be necessary. Before accepting your offer of a course, it is essential that you are aware of the current terms on which the offer is based. This includes the modules available to you. If in doubt, please contact us.

What our students say

Students on the MRes have described the course as 'a highly rewarding experience' and 'very worthwhile and enjoyable'. When asked why they had chosen to do the MRes course, students' most common responses were:

  • It's a good starting point for a career in research
  • I thought it would enhance my chances of finding a PhD
  • I wasn't sure which research area to choose for a PhD

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Support Office. Email: disability@manchester.ac.uk