Studying for an MA or MSc by Research (MbR) can be an excellent opportunity to develop your intellectual skills and your academic interest in a particular field. The MbR is a 12-month research project (24 months part-time). It is distinct from our taught masters programmes and involves planning, implementing and writing up a research project. You will be supervised by two members of academic staff and will be encouraged to submit your work for publication at the end of the course.
We have projects you can apply for but you are also welcome to propose your own research project.
By undertaking an original piece of research you will develop a mixture of high-level subject-specific and generic skills. These include:
- Project management (the ability to organise, plan and carry through to completion a complicated project).
- Technical expertise (project dependent but may also include good laboratory and fieldwork practice and advanced health and safety skills).
- High-level oral communication skills (especially on projects involving external partners and sponsors with whom you will liaise).
- Strong written communication skills (in writing up your research project you will become proficient at explaining complicated ideas in simple language).
- Data analysis skills (data handling, collation, and, where appropriate, statistical and graphical analysis).
- Self-motivation. Although you will be closely supervised, you will have to be strongly self-motivated to succeed.
The MbR is suitable for:
- Recent graduates who wish to follow up their first degree with more in-depth study of a particular field of interest, linked to further study such as a PhD or to a job in a particular sector (e.g. water company).
- Mid-career candidates who are currently employed, for instance in education, local government, or environmental consultancy, who want a continuing professional development opportunity that allows them to enhance their skills in areas relevant to their job.
As a MbR student you will have regular meetings with your supervisors and will receive training in research skills on the University of Leeds's research student training programme. You will join a large and dynamic community of research students in one of the UK's highest-rated Geography departments.
The MbR is assessed by a thesis of up to 30,000 words (typically 15,000-20,000 words in physical geography), and by an oral examination. One key learning outcome of the MbR is that your research should be of a publishable standard, and once you have passed your exam we will offer advice about preparing your work for publication.
An attractive feature of the MbR is that you can start at any time of year (on the first day of any month) giving you maximum flexibility in organising your post-BSc/BA learning.