Health Research - Masters

Study Masters Health Research

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Health Research - Masters
  • Type Online, Full-time, Part-time, Campus based
  • Start date Part-time: September and January - see Full time route: September (campus-based). September and January (online/distance)Stand-alone modules: most modules are available as Continuing Professional Development

CPD Coordinator Nursing, Midwifery & Health,
University of Stirling,
Stirling FK9 4LA
Scotland UK
+44 (0) 1786 466 336

There is an increasing need for health professionals to be directly or indirectly involved with a range of research, evaluation, service audit or governance activities. Current policy and practice developments are placing greater emphasis on the Clinical Academic Career pathway and there are now many health professionals with a clinical/practice and research focus to their roles. These developments point to the need for rigorous, high-quality, interdisciplinary and flexible research training 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. Stand-alone modules are available for those interested in Continuing Professional Development.

Course objectives

The MRes Health Research develops skilled and knowledgeable multi-disciplinary healthcare 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, for example, in user involvement and the use of new technologies.

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 and experience concurrently and an emphasis on proactive team and network collaborations.

Entrance 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 provide evidence of your proficiency such as a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 (6.0 in all bands).

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.

Our range of pre-sessional courses.

Modes of study

Online, campus-based or blended approach.

Course start date

Part-time: September and January - see semester dates
Full time route: September (campus-based). September and January (online/distance)
Stand-alone modules: most modules are available as Continuing Professional Development

Structure and content

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

Unusual in healthcare 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 is another important focus, with the opportunity for either a 10 or 20-day research placement offered to all MRes students. The exploration of new and innovative methods is a core feature of the course, with optionality and flexibility in course design ensuring an individualised, bespoke learning experience.

The modules taken will differ slightly depending on whether a student is taking the campus-based or online/distance learning route of the course.  Examples of our modules are:

  • The Practice of Health Research 1 and 2
  • Qualitative Research
  • Quantitative Research
  • Research Ethics and Governance
  • Public Health Approaches
  • Health Research Placement

Full-time students will be expected to take 12 months to complete the MRes course. Part-time students are expected to take two or three years. 

Delivery and assessment

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

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

Why study Health Research - Masters at Stirling?

Course Director

Dr Nicola Ring

RAE rating

In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), 20 percent of research in Nursing, Midwifery & Health was described as ‘World-leading’ and a further 65 percent as of ‘International Significance’, placing us firmly as the leading nursing and midwifery department in Scotland, and one of the top ten in the UK.

Staff in our Research Centres and courses are keen to work with MRes students to meet identified learning goals in both research dissertation and placement activities through active mentoring and supervision. For further information about our Research Centres and courses, visit:

Our students

The MRes has an interdisciplinary focus and a varied choice of modules to develop critical understanding of different methodologies of research. The flexibility of the course design is enabling me to undertake a research placement in the Western Isles which will complement the theoretical understanding of taught research methods.

The use of WebCT (now called Succeed) is such a beneficial tool to enhance learning opportunities. It facilitates access to electronic library resources, lectures etc. Excellent support is offered to MRes students from a team of highly motivated and enthusiastic teaching staff. I am finding the course to be both stimulating and challenging. As well as hoping to achieve the formal qualification my current future career plans include embracing the challenges of the rigours of health research. On a personal note, I was born in Airthrey Castle, one of the first NHS maternity hospitals, which is situated in the beautiful grounds of the campus and now home to Stirling University's School of Law.

Seonaid McKay MRes student


What I'm enjoying most is the focus on very practical skills. The taught theory is immediately put into practice by having to submit very realistic pieces of work, sometimes with very tight deadlines, which are as close as you'll get to actual research. The optional placement is a chance to practice skills in a live situation, working with skilled research teams or individuals. The Stirling campus is a thriving research community that sits comfortably within the academic setting, you have access to a range of very skilled people who can provide guidance and advice. I didn’t really know what to expect from the MRes but engaging in learning at this level, in what seems like a short space of time, has revealed a lot about my own abilities. I've surprised myself in how capable I am and that a lot of skills I already have are transferable into this type of work.

Stephen Heller-Murphy, MRes student


I decided to apply for the MRes in Health Research as I felt it is a natural progression from the Honours programme. The additional learning will help to underpin my practice and I feel, make me a better practitioner. I am naturally analytical and hope to be able to build on these skills to provide a more meaningful service to our clients in the future. I see research as a way to identify how we can improve the service we provide within the National Health Service by providing evidence-based practice and including the client's perspective of the service they receive. The benefit of the MRes course is that it is a multi-disciplinary course which means that a variety of opinions and experiences are shared and this has helped me to consider situations from other health and social care professionals perspectives as well as from a nursing perspective.

I also hope that this course will help me to broaden my knowledge base in that I will be carrying out research relating to other disciplines within health and social care provision as well as within my own.

Lynne Black, MRes student


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. Our students have been very successful in gaining recognition for their research work and for winning funding for PhD study.

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.


information on possible sources of funding


2014/15 Overseas PG Cert - £3,630 PG Dip - £7,270 MRes - £11,400
2014/15 Home/EU PG Cert - £1,330 PG Dip - £2,670 MRes - £4000
2013/14 Overseas PG Cert - £3,630 PG Dip - £7,270 MRes - £10,900
2013/14 Home/EU PG Cert - £1,330 PG Dip - £2,670 MRes - £4000


2014/15 Overseas PG Cert - £1,330 PG Dip - £2,670 MRes - £4000
2014/15 Home/EU PG Cert - £1,340 PG Dip - £2,670 MRes - £4000
2013/14 Overseas PG Cert - £1,330 PG Dip - £2,670 MRes - £4000
2013/14 Home/EU PG Cert - £1,330 PG Dip - £2,670 MRes - £4000