MRes Liberal Arts and Sciences

Start date
Full time: 1 year
Course Type
Postgraduate, Combined research and taught

Home: £6,300 full-time, £3,150 part-time
International: £19,320 full-time

This unique programme allows you to build your own portfolio of study and pursue a research question across disciplinary borders. Our students choose from the modules available at Birmingham, and write a dissertation / research project supervised by two specialists in different academic fields.

The programme is aimed at students whose educational or professional experiences have highlighted an important research question that would benefit from an interdisciplinary approach. It is particularly suited for those looking to have a positive impact on complex, real-world problems.

Our students are innovative thinkers, future research leaders in academia, policy, industry, and beyond. Many will go on to pursue a research career, for example with a PhD, with a role in a non-governmental or charitable organisation, or with a position in research and development in industry.

Scholarships for 2024 entry

The University of Birmingham is proud to offer a range of scholarships for our postgraduate programmes. With a scholarship pot worth over £2 million, we are committed to alleviating financial barriers to support you in taking your next steps.

Each scholarship has its own specific deadlines and eligibility criteria. Please familiarise yourself with the information on individual scholarship webpages prior to submitting an application.

Explore our scholarships

What is an MRes?

An MRes is a programme that will help you develop the skills for both doctoral study and a future career. You will complete a major individual research project, supervised by a specialist in the field of study, and a taught component that develops research and analytical skills. If you are interested in applying, we strongly encourage you to contact the admissions tutor or a member of staff with interests in your field to discuss your application in general and your proposed research topic in particular.

At Birmingham, Postgraduate Taught and Postgraduate Research students also have the opportunity to learn graduate academic languages free of charge, to support your studies.

Why study this course?

  • This course is aimed at students who want to pursue an interdisciplinary research project that is not catered for in a regular Masters programme.
  • You will choose from the modules available at Birmingham, allowing you to gain a unique portfolio of skills.
  • You will be supported in your development as an interdisciplinary thinker, with a core module providing training in interdisciplinary research skills.
  • You can opt for a placement in a business or organisation that is relevant for your project.
  • You will be encouraged to engage with the new knowledge landscape, with the opportunity to incorporate online educational resources (e.g. MOOCs) into your studies.
  • You will pursue an interdisciplinary research project, which is supervised by academics in two different departments at the University.

The postgraduate experience

The College of Arts and Law offers excellent support to its postgraduates, from libraries and research spaces, to careers support and funding opportunities. Learn more about your postgraduate experience.


The programme contains three taught modules and a 20,000-word research project.

The taught modules are:

  • a core module providing training in interdisciplinary research
  • an optional module that you can choose from the modules available at Birmingham
  • an innovative module (‘The Open Box’) that will allow you to combine educational resources available at Birmingham with online material (e.g. MOOCs, etc)
  • you can choose to replace The Open Box with a placement module at a business or organisation that is relevant for your research project.

These modules provide the intellectual framework that will allow you to tackle a 20,000-word interdisciplinary research project, which is supervised by academics in two different departments.

Please note that the optional module information listed on the website for this programme is intended to be indicative, and the availability of optional modules may vary from year to year. Where a module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you to make other choices.


Home: £6,300 full-time, £3,150 part-time
International: £19,320 full-time

Scholarships and studentships

Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available. To discover whether you are eligible for any award across the University, and to start your funding application, please visit the University's Postgraduate Funding Database.

International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.

How To Apply

Applications will open on Monday 30 November and further information will be available then.

In the meantime, please be in touch with the Programme Lead, Dr James Everest, for further details.

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

Our Standard Requirements

At least a 2.1 or equivalent in a subject area relevant for the proposed independent research project. An appropriate level of professional experience would also be acceptable (please contact the Programme Lead, Dr James Everest, for advice).

International Requirements

As an interdisciplinary student, you will have access to the full range of world-leading researchers and research facilities available at Birmingham.

If you have an idea for a research project, please be in touch with the Programme Lead, Dr James Everest, who can provide advice on supervisors who may be appropriate.

This programme places the responsibility for your education in your hands. We will support you to develop the portfolio of skills you need to approach your interdisciplinary research project. These will be assessed according to the conventions of the disciplines you are working in. 

In addition, we will provide you with training to further your development as an interdisciplinary researcher, helping you to identify and pursue the opportunities that the programme can open up. 

You will also become part of, and contribute to, the lively international community of the College of Arts and Law Graduate School, which offers dedicated research resources and a supportive working environment. Our team of academic and operational staff are on hand to offer support and advice to all postgraduate students within the College.

Assessment Methods

The programme is assessed by coursework, and completed through a 20,000 word thesis.

This programme provides the opportunity to pursue an interdisciplinary research career, for example:

  • in academia, in an interdisciplinary PhD project
  • in policy-making, in a research role in a non-governmental organisation
  • in industry, in a research and development role

    Postgraduate employability: Modern Languages

    Our Modern Languages postgraduates develop excellent communication skills, cultural awareness and foreign language skills - all highly sought after by employers at home or abroad. Postgraduates in Modern Languages also have a range of transferable skills including the ability to gather and interpret information, organisational skills and the ability to work well with others.

    Many of our graduates enter roles for which their programme prepared them, such as language teaching oe translation. Others use their transferable skills in a wide range of occupations including publishing, executive research and project management. Employers that graduates have gone on to work for include Language Connect, RWS Group, TransPerfect Global Business Solutions, University of Birmingham, University of Cambridge and University of Oxford.

    The department has an excellent employability record, and the majority of graduates go on to successful careers. Find out about how our alumni, have used the skills they developed studying Modern Languages at postgraduate level within their careers.

The University of Birmingham is the top choice for the UK's major employers searching for graduate recruits, according to The Graduate Market 2024 report.

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for your future career, but this can also be enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University and the College of Arts and Law.

The University's Careers Network provides expert guidance and activities especially for postgraduates, which will help you achieve your career goals. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated  careers and employability team who offer tailored advice and a programme of College-specific careers events.

You will be encouraged to make the most of your postgraduate experience and will have the opportunity to:

  • Receive one-to-one careers advice, including guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique, whether you are looking for a career inside or outside of academia
  • Meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs and employer presentations
  • Attend an annual programme of careers fairs, skills workshops and conferences, including bespoke events for postgraduates in the College of Arts and Law
  • Take part in a range of activities to demonstrate your knowledge and skills to potential employers and enhance your CV

What’s more, you will be able to access our full range of careers support for up to 2 years after graduation.