MSc by Research Medical Studies

Duration Full time 2 years
Part time 3 years
  • Healthcare and Medicine
LocationCornwall (Truro), Exeter (St Luke‘s)
Start date Flexible monthly start dates


The University of Exeter Medical School has a lively and innovative research environment based in Exeter and Truro, but operating across the whole of the South West. Our core themes and focus on chronic disease and applied health research, align us closely with the interests of the NHS with whom we have close working relationship and our priorities will continue to reflect national needs and priorities. We have a commitment towards high-quality applied medical research spanning from the basic biomedical to applied health services.

As a postgraduate student in the School you will be part of this thriving community, benefiting from quality research-led teaching and supervision and access to outstanding facilities. We can offer a wide range of  supervision across our core research areas and are also involved with interdisciplinary research with other Colleges at Exeter.

We offer our postgraduate students a fantastic learning environment, which includes research skills training and dedicated postgraduate facilities. The School benefits from exemplary facilities in all areas as a result of recent major investments.

What is a Masters by Research?

The Masters by Research, not to be confused with the taught MRes degree, was introduced in 2009 and is offered within some Colleges. The Masters by Research, like other research degrees, contains no taught element and offers you the opportunity to pursue a research project, without entering into the commitment of a longer-term research degree. As such, it’s ideal for those in employment who are interested in pursuing a specific shorter-term research project.

A Masters by Research degree is assessed by a written dissertation of up 40,000 words. The dissertation will not need to constitute an original contribution to knowledge but will need to provide evidence that you have worked at the current limits of understanding of the subject. Unlike a taught Masters degree, there is no taught element, so dedication and enthusiasm for your subject are essential.

The MbyRes programmes are two years full time or three years part time. There is no minimum registration period and students may complete their studies within a shorter time scale. However, students who are accessing financial support through the Student Loan Company Postgraduate Research Loan should be aware that funding payments are scheduled across two years for students studying the programme on either a full time or a part time basis.

Research areas

Our research environment spans the full spectrum, from basic biomedical discovery to clinical innovation. Our research excellence includes world-leading research in many fields and we have an increasingly recognised reputation for translating new discoveries into the clinical setting.

Our research is focused around four themes:

  • Diabetes, Cardiovascular risk and Ageing
  • Environment and Human Health
  • Health Services Research
  • Neuroscience and Mental Health


Our core research themes align us closely with the interests of the NHS with whom we have close working relationship. Our priorities will continue to reflect national needs and priorities. This places our research students in a strong position for their future career.

Postgraduate research students can access our Postgraduate Researchers' Programme, which covers a range of topics to help you complete a successful research degree and to act as a springboard for your research career.

In addition, all students have access the University's Career Zone providing business contacts, support and training as well as the opportunity to meet potential employers at our regular Careers Fairs.

Graduate destinations

On completion of their research degree, 2011/12 graduates have returned to, or found employment in, the following organisations:

  • Devon Partnership NHS Trust
  • NHS (West Suffolk)
  • NHS Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital
  • Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Semmelweis University
  • Southampton General Hospital
  • Sparx (Part of the Atass Group)
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Exeter
  • University of Oxford

Entry requirements 2018

Applicants should be highly motivated and have, or expect to obtain, either a first or upper-second class BSc (or equivalent) in a relevant discipline. International applicants must also have IELTS score of 7 and above.

Requirements for international students

If you are an international student, please visit our international equivalency pages to enable you to see if your existing academic qualifications meet our entry requirements.

English language requirements

IELTS (Academic)

At least 7.0 overall and no less than 6.0 in any other section.


At least 100 with minimum scores of 21 for writing, 21 for listening, 22 for reading and 23 for speaking.

Pearson Test of English (Academic)

65 with no less than 55 in all skills.

Other accepted tests

Information about other acceptable tests of linguistic ability can be found on our English language requirements page.

Pre-sessional English

Applicants with lower English language test scores may be able to take pre-sessional English at INTO University of Exeter prior to commencing their programme. See our English language requirements page for more information.

Finance: fees and funding

Tuition fees per year 2018/19

  • UK/EU: £4,400 full-time; £2,200 part-time
  • International: £23,000 full-time

Fee information

Fees can normally be paid by two termly instalments and may be paid online. For further information about paying fees see our Student Fees pages.


We make a number of PhD studentships available annually. Please visit our funding search for the latest information.

Current available funding

Contact us

Postgraduate Admissions
Phone: 0300 555 60 60 (UK callers)*
           +44(0)1392 723044 (EU/International callers)
WebEnquire online

* Calling us on an 0300 number will cost you the same as a call to a standard landline number starting with 01 and 02.
If you have an inclusive call package for calling landline numbers on your mobile or landline telephone the call would simply be reduced from your available talk minutes. Otherwise your call will be charged at the same rate as calling a standard national rate number.

Supervision and support

You’ll usually meet your supervisor monthly, but more frequently when engaged in activities like designing your research methods, conducting your detailed analysis, or completing your thesis for submission. Your meetings may involve discussion of your progress, briefing papers or draft chapters you have written as well as training needs assessment, preparation for seminars or conference presentations, and debating current trends and future prospects in your field.

You’ll both keep personal records of supervision and three times a year you and your supervisor will write an agreed report on your interim progress, your work plans, and your on-going training needs. Your supervisor will make sure your work remains on track. That’s good for you, your sponsors, and for the University.

Your mentor

In addition to your supervisor you will also have a mentor, who will provide general guidance and pastoral support. Your mentor will contact you three times a year to ensure that any issues which may be interfering with your ability to study are being addressed.

Find a supervisor

We offer guidance on how to find a supervisor for your degree. You can also contact us to discuss matching you with a potential supervisor. 

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I love my PhD

Clinical Fellow Richard Oram tells us about his research into diabetes and why he loves his PhD. View full size.