MA by Research (MAR)

Undertaking an MA by Research allows you to undertake extensive research into an area that interests you.

This degree will provide you with a wide range of skills and suits applicants with a clearly defined project in mind.


You will complete an original research project and submit a thesis of up to 30,000 words within one year of registration (two years for part-time study).

Your subject must have substantial significance in your field and, because of the nature of the degree, your work must be clearly focused.

How to apply

To apply, you will need to upload the following on the University’s online application system:

  • two academic references (please note that we expect all applicants to provide their own references);
  • IELTS certificate (if applicable – please see below the ‘entry criteria’ for more information on English language requirements);
  • CV;
  • your research proposal

At the heart of your application will be your research proposal. This should be a document of around 2,000 words and should normally include:

  • a clear statement about your proposed research topic;
  • an explanation and rationale of the importance of the proposed topic. This may include a section on the gaps or limitations of any existing work in that area;
  • a section indicating possible methodology and why this would be the most appropriate for your topic;
  • an approximate timetable showing a realistic plan for the completion of your research and writing within one year (or two years if part-time).

If you have any questions about the application process, contact our Postgraduate Research Administrator:

Matching your interests with ours

Before you submit an application, you should have a clear idea of our research areas.

We will also expect you to identify potential supervisors before you apply. A list of academic staff and their research interests can be found on our staff pages.

You can use your proposal to make it clear how your research will align with ours and outline why you wish to study here.

Entry requirements

  • You should ideally have a first-class or at least a good upper second-class degree;
  • You must be an expert user of written and spoken English (see below);
  • Your referees must be fully supportive of both you and your ability for advanced, independent study;
  • Your project must be appropriate for study here.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you will need to show that your language skills can meet the demands of your study. We require one of the following qualifications:

  1. An IELTS Band Score 6.5 (with not less than 6.0 in any skill area); or
  2. Internet Based TOEFL 92 (with not less than 21 in Listening and Reading, 22 in Writing, 23 in Speaking).

Please note that IELTS and TOEFL only recognise test results as valid for a period of up to 2 years after the date of the examination.

You can improve your academic English level to the standard needed to study a postgraduate research degree by taking one of the following pre-sessional courses:

Fees and funding

Fees for postgraduate research degrees

For more information about financial support opportunities, please visit the University's scholarships website.