You are viewing this course for September start 2024

MRes Biosciences at Aberystwyth University makes an ideal stepping-stone for those considering PhD or company-based research and provides an opportunity for you to explore your interest in the biosciences in depth while showing a commitment to a research-focused career. Our course is flexible, allowing you to explore and specialise in an area of biology that fascinates you with the personalised support of a supervisor. The breadth of research and expertise in the life sciences at Aberystwyth means that you can undertake research in any one of the many areas of specialisation including, zoology, plant breeding, microbiology, bioinformatics, animal or equine science, marine biology and ecology.

Typical Entry Requirements

Entry Requirements 2:2 Bachelors (Honours) degree in a relevant subject area or equivalent. Subject to agreement with project supervisor. Non-graduates will be considered individually based on relevant work experience.

English Language Requirements IELTS 6.5 with minimum 5.5 in each component, or equivalent

Other Requirements Applicants are encouraged to submit an up-to-date CV as part of their application.

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Fees and Finance

Course Fees:

Please see the tuition fee pages for current tuition fees. Please note that all fees are subject to an annual increase.


Funding opportunities may be available, please check the funding calculator for details.

Course Overview

  • You can conduct your research project in either the Department of Life Sciences or the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences, both of which have been judged world leading in areas such as zoology, grassland science, biochemistry, animal science, marine biology, microbiology, plant biology and ecology.
  • We have excellent research facilities including aquariums (marine, freshwater, tropical), a bioinformatics hub, ion-torrent sequencers, and extensive glass house facilities. 
  • We operate several farms and own significant tracts of natural woodland, while our coastal location close to several nature reserves and national parks offers unique opportunities for a broad range of bioscience research. 
  • You'll have the opportunity to work within research teams with your supervisor, research staff and other postgraduate students. 
  • This course is suitable for students who are not yet ready or do not wish to begin a PhD, but who would like to develop their research skills. It is also suitable for students who would like to combine research with taught elements of a postgraduate course. 

About this course


12 months full-time or 24 months part time. The academic year (September to September) is divided into three semesters: September to January; January to June; June to September.

Contact Time:

Depending on module choice, up to 10 hours per week are typically spent in taught modules in semesters 1 and 2. The rest of the time in semesters 1 and 2 and the whole of semester 3 are spent conducting your research project. Depending on your topic, this may include laboratory, field or computer-based research, supported by regular meetings with your supervisor.


The programme comprises 180 credits. There are 60 credits of taught modules completed during Semester 1 and Semester 2. The dissertation (120 credits) is conducted throughout the year.

Modules September start - 2024

Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.

* Also available partially or entirely through the medium of Welsh



This course is an ideal stepping-stone for those considering a PhD or company-based research. Graduates of this course have gone on to work as research assistants or have progressed to doctoral study/PhDs.


Throughout this course you will:

  • Develop strong data collection/analysis, fieldwork and laboratory skills.
  • Enhance your scientific communication and team work skills.
  • Write for a range of audiences including academics and the wider public.
  • Enhance your analytical abilities and problem-solving skills.
  • Develop study and research skills.
  • Develop and sustain a self-initiated programme of study underpinned by good time management skills.
  • Work effectively and independently.
  • Enhance your project management skills to deliver a demanding combination of research, analysis, communication and presentation.

Teaching & Learning

How will I learn?

This course can be studied one year full-time or 24 months part-time. Students on this course complete a core module centred on research methods and laboratory techniques, and take optional modules which provide an insight into themes/approaches to the biosciences.

The core element of this course is the MRes Dissertation, for which students will have supervision meetings to give them guidance before undertaking a prolonged period of experimental work/data gathering, research, and writing up of the dissertation, under the supervision of their dissertation supervisor.

All postgraduate students in the Department of Life Sciences also have a named personal tutor, with whom they can discuss personal or domestic concerns that impact on their studies.

What will I learn?

The modules included in this programme are designed to provide a fundamental basis for understanding and contributing meaningfully to biological science research. This qualification combines taught elements that focus primarily on how to undertake excellent research and how research can address grand challenges in biology that we face as a society.

This interdisciplinary research training provides you with the skills needed to complete your individual Research Dissertation. The key feature here is that you are able to explore an area of biology that fascinates you and undertake higher level research with the personalised support of a supervisor.

How will I be assessed?

Depending on module choice, the taught modules are assessed by scientific writing assignments (such as reports, critical reviews, essays and journalistic articles), presentations, contribution to group discussions in seminars and exams.

Subsequent successful submission of your dissertation leads to the award of an MRes.