MRes Interdisciplinary Study

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

Annual tuition fee 2024 entry:
UK: £6,780 full-time; £3,390 part-time
International: £23,520 full-time
More detail.

This degree combines practical experience of interdisciplinary research with a taught framework of contemporary critical theory. On our brand-new programme you have the opportunity to apply for specially-designed research positions within the University of Birmingham or create your own topic to follow your current expertise and interests. Whether you’re a fresh graduate, a returning researcher or coming from industry, this MRes is the ideal place to take your journey beyond disciplinary borders. 

A flexible curriculum 

The flexibility of this new programme means we co-create it with you. Alongside the practice of a substantial research project, you choose taught modules from across the University of Birmingham. While working with and alongside your peers and the multidisciplinary staff in Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences this MRes is a chance to undertake a truly innovative learning experience. 

Thinking beyond boundaries

Do you ask questions across disciplinary boundaries? Are you open to the possibilities of collaboration? Do you have the ambition and determination to tackle complex, real-world problems? When you start this MRes you will become part of the growing Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences department at the University of Birmingham with undergraduates and staff all tackling interdisciplinary challenges at different stages. You will have access to dozens of cultural events and become a member of our LANS Lab, a place to engage with other academics undertaking interdisciplinary research. 

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

Register your interest

What is an MRes?

A Masters of Research places your own ability to think, question and explore at the heart of the programme. You will complete a major individual research project, supervised by a specialist in the field of study, and a taught component that develops your self-reflective, critical and analytical skills.   

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

This course has taught me how to confidently articulate what my research question is, what it actually means, why I think it's worth caring about, and how it may be of benefit to people in the future.


Why study this course?

  • Interdisciplinary outlook - Tackling issues from multiple angles has never been more important and has never been so desirable. 
  • Module choice - You have an open choice of Masters level modules from across the departments at Birmingham, allowing you to gain a unique portfolio of skills.
  • Personalised support - You will be assigned an academic mentor to support your development as an interdisciplinary thinker.
  • Research resources - There are funds available to support your research and learning. These could be lab fees, conference memberships, course resources. Access to a wide array of workshops and online educational resources.
  • Expert supervision - You will pursue an interdisciplinary research project, which is supervised by academics in different academic fields at the University. 


An MRes combines taught elements with research training and an individual research project. They are ideal for someone looking to foreground their own experience and existing knowledge while learning new applicable skills. On this programme you join a research project or undertake your own piece of research alongside three taught modules. 

The Research Projects

The research project will result in a 20,000 word (or equivalent if carrying out practice-based research) thesis which is supervised by a maximum of two academics in specialist fields and an interdisciplinary tutor. 

The Taught Modules

  • The World of Interdisciplinary Research -  A core module providing training in key aspects of interdisciplinary research, including funding, multi-disciplinary group work and grant writing.
  • An innovative module (‘The Open Skills Box’) that will allow you to combine educational resources available at Birmingham with online material from outside the University (e.g. MOOCs, etc) to widen your portfolio of skills and knowledge in preparation for your research project. 
  • An open module that you can choose from the MA level modules available at Birmingham

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.


We charge an annual tuition fee. 

Annual tuition fee 2024 entry:
UK: £6,780 full-time; £3,390 part-time
International: £23,520 full-time

Fee status

Eligibility for UK or international fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students

Paying your fees

Tuition fees can either be paid in full or by instalments. Learn more about postgraduate tuition fees and funding.

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

Application deadlines

The deadline for International students (including EU) to apply is 7 May 2024. The deadline for UK students for the MRes Interdisciplinary Study is 1 August 2024.

Before you make your application

Please refer to our step-by-step process on what you should include in your application when applying for MRes Interdisciplinary Study: 

  1. Proposed Research Area. Please provide a working title for your proposed research project.
  2. Research Proposal (1000-1500 words). This should specify the subject of the proposed research, the body of ideas or theory that will be used, the aim and objectives and the methodological approach to be adopted. Find out more about how to write a research proposal. 
  3. Prospective Research Project Supervisors. For this MRes you will be given one supervisor within the Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences programme, and a supervisor from outside the programme who will help guide your research from a subject specific place. Before your application can be approved we need to confirm your supervisory team.

    Please list at least two potential supervisors based at the University of Birmingham that you have identified as being appropriate to supervise your research project, please do not contact them in the first instance.
  4. Qualification held (or predicted to hold). Please provide details about any qualifications currently held (this could include relevant professional experience) and the date obtained (or date you are predicted to obtain it).
  5. Funding. Please provide details regarding how you anticipate you will fund the tuition fees for this programme.
  6. Proposed budget requirements for the project.
  7. Your application should also include the documents listed below and can be submitted via the Apply Now button. 
  • Copies of University transcripts (when available)
  • Two references from referees who are able to comment on your academic and professional background
  • Certificates to show competence in the English language (if English is not your first language)
  • Personal statement (no more than one side of A4) outlining why you want to undertake the MRes Interdisciplinary Study

If you are successful and we are able to identify potential supervisors for you to work with, you will be invited to interview.

In the meantime, please be in touch with the Programme Lead, Dr Betsy Porritt, via the enquiry form below, 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 via the enquiry form below, for advice).

International/EU students

Academic requirements: We accept a range of qualifications from different countries - use our handy guide below to see what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements: standard language requirements apply for this course - IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band. If you are made an offer of a place to study and you do not meet the language requirement, you have the option to enrol on our English for Academic Purposes Presessional Course - if you successfully complete the course, you will be able to fulfil the language requirement without retaking a language qualification.

IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band is equivalent to:

  • TOEFL: 88 overall with no less than 21 in Reading, 20 Listening, 22 Speaking and 21 in Writing
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE): Academic 67 with no less than 64 in all four skills
  • Cambridge English (exams taken from 2015): Advanced - minimum overall score of 176, with no less than 169 in any component

Learn more about international entry requirements

International Requirements

Assessment Methods

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. 

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 be assessed using a variety of methods depending on the specific modules you choose as part of this programme. You can expect assessment methods to include elements such as extended writing, oral interviews and reflective portfolios.

Future Careers

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

  • in academic research, 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

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.

The University's Careers Network provides expert guidance and activities especially for postgraduates, which will help you achieve your career goals. 

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
  • 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.