Pen y Fan trip with PhD / PGR students, June 1st 2021

Masters by Research Degrees (MA or MSc)

What is a Masters by Research?

A Masters by Research (M by Res) degree allows you to carry out an independent supervised research project on an approved topic of your choice. At the end of your studies you will submit a thesis of up to 40,000 words. As with all research degrees examination is a two-part process: examination of the thesis followed by a viva examination. 

You can complete your Masters by Research on a full or part time basis, on campus or remotely, if the nature of the research allows. A Masters by Research takes one year full time or two years part time, and is available in most subject areas.

There are no classes to attend as the Masters by Research is based on research. Full-time students are expected to spend around 35 hours per week on self-study and part-time students 12 hours. 

Postgraduate researchers are assigned a supervisory team who have the expertise and experience to support them in their studies. Supervisors will help you to shape your research project, give feedback on work in progress and guide you to completion.

See our current funded studentships >>

Who does it suit?

For those coming to the end of their undergraduate studies, a Masters by Research can be an attractive alternative to a taught masters. If you have enjoyed researching your dissertation, you may want to take it further or perhaps take a year to develop additional skills before joining the job market.

For professionals, a Masters by Research allows you to develop a research outlook to explore and address projects, and bring about change in your professional practice or within your organisation.

  • Undertake a piece of research on a topic that interests you
  • Develop undergraduate dissertations
  • Use it to develop the skills and confidence to progress to a PhD
  • Develop research skills and outlook which you can take throughout your career 
  • Learn how to use research to find solutions, fill gaps in knowledge and explore new products or ways of working

Why do a Masters by Research?

  • Gain specialist knowledge and research skills
  • To enhance and progress a professional career, especially if the research is an integral part of your daily work
  • Masters by Research is excellent preparation for PhD study
  • It's flexible - there are no fixed lectures to attend
  • Research can be worked around personal or work commitments
  • Distance route allows you to work in a location that best suits your requirements
  • Study on either a part-time or full-time basis
  • Fees for UK students are lower than a taught masters

Entry requirements

Applicants will normally hold a UK 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent); or appropriate, relevant qualifications / experience regarded by the University as equivalent. International applicants must evidence either a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 (including 5.5 in reading and writing) or a recent Masters from an English speaking country. Please note, some subject areas require a higher IELTS score.

How to apply

There are three admission dates - October, January and April. 

  • For October admissions the closing date for applications is 1st May.
  • For January admissions, the closing date for applications is 1st October.
  • For April admissions, the closing date for applications is 1st January.

As part of your application for a Masters by Research programme, you will need to submit a research proposal demonstrating your knowledge of your field and outlining your project’s aims and expected outcomes. When you are ready to submit an application, this is how you do it

  • MA by Research (Animation and Visual Effects)
  • MSc by Research (Applied Sciences)
  • MA by Research (Art)
  • MSc by Research (Built Environment)
  • MA by Research (Business)
  • MSc by Research (Civil / Mechanical / Aeronautical Engineering)
  • MA by Research (Communication Design & Photography)
  • MSc by Research (Computer Science)
  • MSc by Research (Cyber Security)
  • MA by Research (Drama)
  • MA by Research (Education)
  • MSc by Research (Electronic Engineering)
  • MA by Research (English)
  • MSc by Research (Health)
  • MA by Research (History)
  • MSc by Research (Informatics)
  • MA by Research (Law / Accounting & Finance)
  • MSc by Research (Mathematics)
  • MA by Research (Media, Culture & Communication)
  • MA by Research (Music & Sound)
  • MSc by Research (Police Sciences)
  • MSc by Research (Psychology)
  • MA by Research (Social Policy) 
  • MA by Research (Criminology)
  • MSc by Research (Sport)
  • MSc by Research (Sustainable Environment)

Contact us

Graduate School
8 Forest Grove
University of South Wales
Treforest Campus
CF37 1DL

Email: [email protected]
Follow us on Twitter


Studying your research degree by distance allows you to benefit from our support and expertise, while conducting your research from anywhere in the world