MRes in Health Research (Online)

University of Stirling

Program Description

MRes in Health Research (Online)

University of Stirling

There is an increasing need for health professionals to be directly or indirectly involved with a range of research, evaluation, clinical audit and quality improvement activities as part of their practice. Current policy and practice developments are also placing greater emphasis on the Clinical Academic Career pathway and there are now many health professionals with a clinical/practice and research focus on their roles. These developments point to the need for rigorous, high-quality interdisciplinary and flexible research programmes to prepare health professionals for these challenging and rewarding roles.

The MRes Health Research provides this. There is a strong emphasis placed on the application of knowledge and skills. The course can be taken as an advanced qualification in its own right or as excellent preparation for doctoral level study. Students can choose to study for a postgraduate Certificate, Diploma or Master's degree. Stand-alone modules are also available for those interested in Continuing Professional Development.

The course has been designed to suit students from a range of backgrounds. Most students (and graduates) have a health professional qualification e.g. nursing, midwifery, pharmacy, occupational therapy. Other students are from the social care or research sectors. Our students are from across the UK and overseas as online study offers flexibility around their work and family commitments.

1st for Research

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF2014) the Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport came top for health research in Scotland and was ranked 12th in the UK overall, showcasing our commitment to producing world-leading research which improves the health of people in Scotland and reduces health inequalities through an impact on policy and practice.


The course has been recognised by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as meeting its requirements for postgraduate research training.

Fully funded places are available through the ESRC, details can be found here on the pages of the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science website.

Top Reasons To Study With Us

  1. This MRes has been designed to be suitable for both novice and experienced researchers. No matter what your level of expertise may be, we will equip you with the necessary knowledge and abilities to become successfully employed as a Researcher or enrolled as a PhD student.
  2. Our MRes has an interdisciplinary focus, teaching both practical and theoretical skills. The varied choice of modules is used to develop a critical understanding of research methods and their application to health research.
  3. Students are given the opportunity to undertake a research placement based (either virtually or on campus) with world-class research teams working on live projects. Placements in the Faculty of Health Sciences and sport include the Institute of Social Marketing and the Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions Research Unit (NMAHP RU). A number of staff contributing to MRes as either lecturers, placement mentors or dissertation supervisors are based in the NMAHP RU, which is a national research unit core funded by the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government.
  4. The online learning design of our programme allows learners to study wherever and whenever suits them – from anywhere in the world, allowing you to fit study around your personal and professional life. The blended option benefits learners who would prefer an element of face-to-face interaction with MRes staff and peers.
  5. Our research training meets the criteria for accreditation from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) signifying our excellence in researcher training and development. As such, prospective students are eligible for the 1+3 studentship providing you with funding for a one year research training master's linked to a three year PhD.

Course objectives

The MRes Health Research develops skilled and knowledgeable multi-disciplinary health care researchers, able to understand and confidently use research techniques appropriate to their practice/subject area. Helping students to become conversant with approaches used by other social and healthcare researchers is also key as well as developing practical research skills.

The course builds capacity and capability in individuals, and the healthcare workforce more generally, by promoting lifelong learning. It supports those who wish to access a range of research career pathways, and/or further research training by advancing knowledge, research and practice in different settings. There is a focus on both skills, experience and an emphasis on proactive team and network collaborations.

What makes us different?

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

A minimum of a second class Honours degree (2.1 preferred) or equivalent in a relevant subject. Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS: 6.5 with 6.0 minimum in each skill
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade B
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): 60 with 56 in each component
  • IBT TOEFL: 90 with no subtest less than 20

If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard.

Structure and content

The MRes Health Research has an interdisciplinary framework drawing on the expertise of researchers and practitioners from many different fields of nursing, midwifery, the allied health professions, public health and social science.

Unusually in health science courses, this multi-disciplinary MRes develops practical and transferable skills, e.g. report writing; team working; literature searching and critical appraisal. We also collaborate online including using virtual classroom technologies (Blackboard Collaborate). The course combines high quality with flexibility and choice. Practical experience and enhanced employability are another important focus, with the opportunity for a research placement offered to all MRes students. The exploration of new and innovative methods is a core feature of the course, with flexibility in course design ensuring an individualised, bespoke learning experience.

The modules taken will differ slightly depending on the student's learning needs. Examples of our current modules are:

  • Skills for Knowledge Enquiry
  • Qualitative Research and Analysis
  • Quantitative Research and Analysis
  • Research Ethics and Governance
  • Study Design in Practice
  • Research in Practice
  • Health Research Dissertation

Each module runs once a year and is delivered in either the Autumn Semester or Spring Semester. Health research placements for the Research in Practice modules are opportunities for students to experience real-life research in action. Students are allocated to a research mentor in the Faculty to work on live research project study. Placements can be campus-based or remote working ones.

Students need to complete 6 x 20 credit modules and a 60 credit dissertation to complete the Masters Programme. Full-time students will be expected to take 12 months to complete this work. Part-time students usually take two or three years. The Post Graduate Diploma requires at least 120 credits to be awarded and the Post Graduate Certificate can be awarded upon reaching 60 credits.

The MRes in Health Research has been running successfully since 2010 – our graduates have come from all across the UK and overseas and from various backgrounds e.g. health care, social work, health promotion, social science etc.

Delivery and assessment

Students can study remotely from wherever they live at times that suit them. Online learning is flexible and can be fitted around your work and family commitments. Online students are expected to participate in virtual classes however, these sessions are usually optional. Interactive online teaching sessions are delivered in the evenings – UK time. These sessions are usually recorded so those who cannot attend can listen to the session later on.

Students who would like more face-to-face ‘real world’ learning can opt for online blended learning. Basically, they study the online modules with their peers but can choose to come to the Stirling campus for monthly ‘MRes Meet Ups’ - informal sessions where students meet their peers and MRes staff. Other researchers come to these sessions to talk about their research. Students wanting online blended learning can choose a campus-based research placement they can also opt for campus-based dissertation supervision. Those opting for online blended learning can also attend campus-based seminars delivered by faculties across the University.

Note: As of September 2015 the MRes (Health) will no longer be Tier 4 compliant with non-EU international visa requirements. We welcome international students on our online programme. International students with the relevant student visa can also choose to undertake a campus-based research placement.

If you are applying now for September 2015 – please note the website shows a campus-based programme route, this programme option is being withdrawn. Students can only opt for an online programme – either fully online or online blended.

Learning, teaching and assessment strategies

A variety of learning experiences and assessment tasks will stimulate interest, encourage participation and develop transferable skills, including:

  • Advanced literature searching and annotation
  • Designing research projects individually and as part of a team
  • Creating funding proposals and ethics applications
  • Writing research papers for submission to journals
  • Data analysis exercises
  • Verbal presentations
  • Viva (oral examinations)

Awards: It will be possible to exit the course with a Post Graduate Certificate in Health Research, a Post Graduate Diploma in Health Research or a Master’s in Health Research, depending on the number of modules undertaken and credits awarded.

Modes of study

We have a virtual learning environment where students can access module reading, podcasts of lectures and other educational resources. We also have a virtual online classroom where we can ‘real time’ teach e.g. with interactive seminars, online team-working and skills development sessions. This enables students to study with us from virtually anywhere in the world.

Career opportunities

The MRes Health Research is designed for students who wish to pursue a variety of different careers in health where research is a core component and who wish to make a contribution to applied research in a range of contemporary health and social contexts. Most of our students are employed as health professionals whilst they study part-time with us. When they complete their studies most students will stay in their clinical speciality but use their enhanced research skills/knowledge in their roles e.g. by conducting their own research or service evaluations. Other students wish to use their Masters study as preparation for a PhD. Our students have been very successful in gaining recognition for their research work and for winning funding for PhD study.


The majority of our students are already working in health or social care prior to commencement and remain employed throughout the duration of their studies.

Our students develop a wide range of transferable skills during their study that make them attractive to other employers e.g. team working; IT skills; literature searching; critical appraisal; presentation skills; writing and data analysis. Many of our students use the MRes as preparation for PhD studies. The MRes has ESRC approval as part of the 1 + 3 years PhD schemes.

Industry connections

The MRes team consists of experienced health professionals and social scientists. Through their work they collaborate with various national and international bodies.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Cost & Fees


  • Overseas 20 credit module - £840
  • Home/EU 20 credit module - £512

From 2016/7 onwards, the fees for all taught postgraduate courses are to be held at the level set upon entry.

Please note there is an additional charge for the conferral of your degree. This will be charged at the rate applicable when you complete your studies.


Start date:

  • Part-time: September and January.
  • Full-time route: September start date only
  • Stand-alone modules: most modules are available as Continuing Professional Development starting in September or January.

*Please note that full-time route is not advised for those that are in full-time employment.

Last updated September 28, 2017
Duration & Price
This course is Online
Start Date
Start date
Jan. 2018
Sept. 2018
12 - 48 months
Part time
Full time
United Kingdom - Stirling, Scotland
Start date: Jan. 2018
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Start date: Sept. 2018
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Jan. 2018
United Kingdom - Stirling, Scotland
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Sept. 2018
United Kingdom - Stirling, Scotland
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Price Home/EU: 20 credit module £512 - Overseas: 20 credit module £840