Join our Postgraduate Open Day - Saturday 22 June

Register now

MRes Research in Human Geography

Start date
1 year full-time; 2 years part-time
Course Type
Combined research and taught

£4,778 FT (UK students)
£21,360 FT (International Students)
More detail



The MRes Research in Human Geography is in the process of being withdrawn and will not be offered starting from the academic year 2024/25. Students intending to apply for postgraduate study in Human Geography can apply to the MSc Research in Human Geography.

MSc Research in Human Geography

Our Research in Human Geography MRes combines interdisciplinary expertise from Geography, Political Science and International Studies. The course can provide a useful foundation for undertaking a PhD in Human Geography, or is ideal for those who want to acquire rigorous research skills more generally.

The MRes Research in Human Geography is a research training Masters degree. It can provide a useful foundation for undertaking a PhD in Human Geography, or is ideal for those who want to acquire rigorous research skills more generally.

The programme provides research training in theoretical, philosophical and methodological issues relevant to human geography and social science research. These include debates concerning social theory and epistemology, qualitative and quantitative techniques and their application to human geography, and research design, ethics and presentation.

The aims of the programme are:

  • To develop a deeper understanding of advanced level theoretical, philosophical and methodological debates in contemporary human geographies and related social sciences; 
  • To provide advanced training in social science research methodologies and their application in social research in general and human geography in particular
  • To develop a student's ability to communicate ideas and research effectively.

Why study this course?

The MRes Research in Human Geography is intended to develop skills in critical analysis and academic research, enabling students to acquire research skills and to understand and apply research methodologies as appropriate in a human geography context, as well as the subsequent potential development of doctoral research projects.


In essence, the MRes provides rigorous research skills with a broad human geography focus. In total, it consists of four modules – the Research Project (worth 120 credits), two human geography related research modules (Doing Human Geography and Theoretical Themes for Geographers, each worth 20 credits) and a Research Design module (also worth 20 credits and available from the College of Social Science).

Research Project

The fundamental module is the Research Project. This is the main component of the MRes programme. It will provide the academic training and research-based learning in human geography.

The research project involves study within the student’s own area of interest, but within the overall context of human geography. The project will be closely supervised by a relevant member of staff and can be in any appropriate area.

The Research Project will be a maximum of 20,000 words.

Research Design

Related to the research project, the Research Design module is taken from the generic university-wide MA in Social Research. The intention is to enable students to develop an appropriate research design for their project and consider, evaluate and interpret the value of the varied forms of evidence that they may collect. Such activity would also be integrated into human geography-specific training provided through the two ‘subject-substantive’ modules (see below) offered by the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences.

The Research Design module covers a number of different themes including i) introduction to concepts and varieties of social science research design; ii) research questions associated with design, methodology and warranting practices; iii) research claims and conclusions that can be reliably drawn from different kinds of evidence produced by different designs; iv) key design features, such as groups, timing and measurement; and v) detailed analysis of a range of research designs.

The overall intention is that students write an individual report (4,000 words; Semester 1) describing a set of research questions relevant to their own area of research (i.e. the Research Project), suggesting two or more alternate designs, and assessing these alternatives in terms of issues such as rigour, practicality, ethics, sampling, and validity.

Doing Human Geography

The Doing Human Geography module is designed to integrate theoretical perspectives and methodologies through the medium of guided student research projects. By the end of the module students are expected to have therefore developed a good grounding in methodologies in Human Geography; are able to design and write a journal style article; can appreciate the main ethical problems that are addressed by Human Geographers; have an understanding of the interplay between theory, techniques and research design; can demonstrable an ability to be able to practice critical reasoning, can apply concepts and methods to particular geographical problems and are able to exercise and demonstrate independence of thought and judgement; and finally are able to develop essential generic and transferable skills for undertaking research in Human Geography.

Assessment is via a project presentation (20%) and a 4,000 word research project proposal (80%).

Theoretical Themes for Geography

The Theoretical Themes for Geographers module aims to provide a strong theoretical foundation for geographical research within the social sciences; to explore the use of social, cultural, political and economic theory in geographical texts; and to provide a structured space for the close reading of original texts both in geography and in the wider social sciences. Consequently, on completion of the module, students should be able to identify different theoretical approaches in geography and appreciate how these relate to broader philosophical, political and methodological stances in the social sciences; identify theoretical and methodological frameworks for their own research; and produce a review of bodies of theory relevant to their own research.

Assessment is via a 5,000-word essay (100%).

Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.


Fees for 2024/25

  • Code 9784: £4,778 FT (UK students)
  • Code 9784: £21,360 FT (International Students)
  • Code 9732: £2,389 PT (UK students)

Learn more about fees and funding

Scholarships and studentships

Scholarships may be available; please contact the Postgraduate Administrator. International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.

For further information contact the School directly or get in touch with the Funding, Graduation & Awards via the online enquiries system.

Our Standard Requirements

Normally a 2:1 Honours degree or equivalent in Geography or a related discipline.

Learn more about entry requirements.

International Requirements

International Students

English language requirements

Standard English language requirements apply (IELTS: 6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in any band)

  • IELTS 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in any band
  • TOEFL: 80 overall with no less than 19 in Reading, 19 in Listening, 21 in Speaking and 19 in Writing
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) including online: Academic 64 with no less than 59 in all four skills
  • Cambridge English (exams taken from 2015): Advanced – minimum overall score of 169, with no less than 162 in any component

Modules are taught using a diverse blend of teaching styles and assessment formats. Teaching methods include lectures, seminars, and group discussions.

Assessment Methods

Assessment formats include essays, seminar papers, individual research design report and a 20,000 word research project.


Former students have developed successful academic, business and policy-based careers (for example, in policy development, international finance and accountancy, economic development and consultancy, journalism and market research for a range of public, private and voluntary organisations). Other graduates have continued to PhD research in the School and elsewhere, such as Oxford.