Educational Research

MRes, Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma


This innovative course prepares you for doctoral studies and a career in Educational Research through a series of taught modules and a dissertation. Under the expert guidance of a team of leading academics you will learn the skills of research, from conception through to design, methodology and data collection, to analysis, interpretation and dissemination. As part of the course you will engage closely with cutting edge research projects currently being undertaken by the School of Education. 


The course has been recognised by the Economic and Social Research Council as meeting its requirements for postgraduate research training, and it now forms part of the recognised pathway in educational research for the Scottish Graduate School in the Social Sciences.

Key information

  • Degree type: MRes, Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma
  • Study methods: Full-time, Part-time
  • Start date: September
  • Course Director: Dr G Mannion

Janet McCurdie School of Education
University of Stirling
+44 (0) 1786 467937

View fees and finance

Course objectives

The MRes is designed to equip you for a career in educational research or as preparation for doctoral study (as a 1 + 3 route to PhD). You will develop a range of research skills and will engage closely with current research projects in Education.

The course will offer you:

  • A structured taught course in educational research
  • Excellent preparation for doctoral studies by research
  • First-hand experience of current research projects in the School of Education
  • The award of a Master’s degree
  • A course recognised by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

The School of Education is committed to developing capable educational researchers as well as enabling you to improve your career prospects. We aim to:

  • Recruit people with a good degree in social sciences
  • Enable you to undertake collaborative tasks and assignments
  • Enable you to successfully undertake a viable research project, relevant to existing interests in Education, and to fulfil your aims and aspirations for your future doctoral studies or work

Employability is important focus of this course, with the opportunity for a research placement offered to all MRes students.

What makes us different?

World-class library and teaching facilities

Studying for a degree means learning in different ways; managing your own time; conducting research; mastering new computer skills. We have the facilities and advice on hand to help you do all this - and do it well.

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Life at Stirling

Of the many reasons students come to Stirling, such as academic reputation and research standards, one factor is always cited: the outstanding beauty of the University's Stirling campus.

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Live Life

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

To be considered for admission to the degree, a candidate will normally have a good honours degree in Education or cognate subject from a Higher Education institution in the United Kingdom, or a degree of equivalent standard from an institution outside the United Kingdom. Exceptionally, a candidate with learning gained through extensive relevant professional experience may be considered for admission. Candidates are expected to have good numeracy skills and a willingness to engage in depth and breadth with statistical analysis

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

For more information go to English language requirements

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. View our range of pre-sessional courses.

Structure and teaching

Structure and content

The course is designed to meet the Economic and Social Research Council’s requirements for broad knowledge, practical skills and both generic and specific competencies in educational research.
It comprises taught modules and a dissertation. The taught modules are delivered by a number of subject areas, including Education. They include a short research placement in an educational setting. Further details of the modules and their content are available on our website:

Students will be required to conduct a small piece of educational research and write this up as a 15,000-word dissertation to be completed during May to September (May to December for part-time students).

Modes of study

MRes: one year
Diploma: two semesters
Certificate: one semester

MRes: five semesters
Diploma: four semesters
Certificate: three semesters

Study method

Full-time and part-time

Why Stirling?


In REF2014 Stirling was placed 6th in Scotland and 45th in the UK with almost three quarters of research activity rated either world-leading or internationally excellent.

In The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, the School of Education had the highest quality of research outputs of any Scottish University, with 100% of research impact activity rated either world-leading or internationally excellent.


In The Guardian University Guide, the School of Education is ranked first in Scotland and eighth in the UK. Criteria include; Satisfaction with Course, Satisfaction with teaching, Satisfaction with Assessment Feedback, Student/ Staff Ratio, Value Added, Career after 6 months.

The Independent Complete University Guide for 2015 has rated the School of Education, as fourth in the UK as a provider of Education programmes and for its research in Education.

The Times Good University Guide recently rated the School of Education as fourth in the UK, in its 2015 update.

Our students

Bethan Mitchell- Master of ResearchBethan Mitchell
Educational Research graduate

Why did you decide to study a postgraduate course? 

When I finished my first Masters degree (Management Learning and Leadership) I was very keen on exploring workplace and professional learning further. I was particularly interested in Actor-Network Theory and had attended a conference at Stirling University where this was discussed widely. 

What attracted you to Stirling? 

The conference content was dynamic and aligned with my interests, which indicated that Stirling University would be the best place for me to study. The other important reason was that Professor Tara Fenwick works here and she was my first choice of supervisor. 

What did you enjoy most about your time at Stirling University? 

For my Masters in Research Methods, I enjoyed the placement most. It was an excellent opportunity to go into the workplace specifically to conduct research. I presented my work at the Doctoral Conference and displayed and presented a poster at the ProPEL conference. It was a valuable and rewarding experience that I will draw on for my research degree. 

Which aspects of the programme did you enjoy the most? 

I enjoyed the workshops that were provided for the PhD students. These were a great combination of theory and discussion, and got us reading (and talking) about key theories in education research that we might otherwise not have come across.

Do you think the degree has made you more employable, or better prepared for further study? If yes, what are the key skills? What contacts/networks have you made in your time at Stirling? 

My Masters in Research Methods will help me if I seek work as a researcher. It also gave me a good grounding for the PhD; even though I already had a Masters degree, the MRes developed specific skills and knowledge. For example, the course covered NVivo (computer software for qualitative research), quantitative methods (STATA), and qualitative methods such as interviews, discourse analysis and analysing data. Not all of these are directly relevant to my PhD, but it is very useful to know and I may draw on these in the future. I would encourage students who are thinking of going into research to undertake this course.

What advice would you give a student considering studying at Stirling? 

Come and enjoy studying in a beautiful place! When you need to study there’s a great library, and when you need to think, there are lots of lovely walks. 

How would you summarise your time at Stirling? 

Hard work but rewarding, and I still have lots of hard work to come with the PhD. At least I can do this in lovely surroundings with the support of brilliant staff. 

If you have now graduated, what are you doing now? 

PhD in Education Research at Stirling 

Our staff

This masters in research is ideal for those looking to develop their understanding of the role of research in educational settings of all kinds and provides an excellent precursor to the EdD pathway. This programme is designed to assist those working in education and training in all kinds of professional settings who wish to learn how to understand, design, enact and employ cutting edge educational research to create desired impacts.

Dr Greg Mannion, Programme Director

Careers and employability

Career opportunities

The MRes is designed to enhance the career prospects of researchers in education, training and related areas of work, and professionals requiring the capacity to understand and commission research in these fields. It is essential preparation for doctoral research in education and is recognised by Economic and Social Research Council as meeting its criteria for postgraduate research training that helps students improve their employability while acquiring core research skills. Employability is an important focus of this course, with the opportunity for a research placement offered to all MRes students.

Online application process

Please choose a start date and study method from the drop-down list below, and click the Apply Now button below to begin the online application process. (Please make sure you have consulted the Postgraduate Study pages on the University website and the Online Application Guidance Notes before continuing).



2016/17 Overseas £12,450
2016/17 Home/EU £4,500
2015/16 Overseas £11,900
2015/16 Home/EU £4,500


You should expect to pay fees for every year you are in attendance and be aware fees are subject to revision and may increase annually. Students on programmes of study of more than one year should take this into account when applying.

Scholarships & funding

For information on possible sources of funding, visit:

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