Information about Master's by Research

MSc/MA by Research

The University of Bedfordshire Business School offers MA/MSc by Research. It is a structured research degree programme that allows the student to undertake an important piece of research in a topic related to the research activities of the Business and Management Research Institute (BRMI) in a constrained period of time.

The research project is the key element of the programme and provides the opportunity for the student to specialise in a particular area of study in line with the student's career interests and aspirations.

The programme is designed for candidates from a related discipline who wish to extend their knowledge and understanding of one particular area into a more in-depth study, which may not be possible by undertaking taught course postgraduate programmes.


Applicants should hold the equivalent of a 1st or 2.1 (Hons) degree. Candidates with a different class of degree may be admitted, if they can demonstrate their potential for higher degree work, e.g. by holding other qualifications, presenting published work or with relevant work experience.

For those students whose first language is not English, it is required, as a minimum, a qualification such as: International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 6.0 or Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of 580. IELTS (British Council) score of 6.0 (ideally with 7.0 in the writing component), TOEFL score of 580 paper or 235 comp, TELAS score of 2 Cambridge CPE C/CAE C.

Period of study

The programme runs over a 12 month full-time and 24 month part-time period and involves working to produce an original study. Students work largely on their own, but are guided by a supervisor.

Research areas

Students need to specify their research topics of interest in the application form. The research areas currently available for MA/MSc by Research include:

  • Human resource management
  • Information systems 
  • Innovation in SMEs 
  • Operations and project management 
  • Marketing

The precise topic of research will be negotiated with the supervisor and will be subject to approval by the Business and Management Research Institute.


Forms can be downloaded from the website or requested from the Research Graduate School ( Before completing a form, students should read the relevant material to ensure that the research areas of the Business School match their interests.

As part of the application process, the application form and related documents should be accompanied by a research proposal of about 1,000 words and another piece of written work (wherever feasible) in English (of no more than 5,000 words) that the applicant has completed as part of their previous studies to demonstrate their ability. It will be particularly helpful if the piece of work is in a topic related to the intended Master's study. In situations where an application is made to a research area offered by the Business School a formal research proposal may not be required. Candidates may also be interviewed as part of the application process.

Admissions procedure

The University's Research Graduate School will be responsible for the administration of applications. A decision on the acceptance/rejection of a candidate's proposal will depend on the quality and relevance of the research proposal, personal qualifications, relevant experience, their submitted piece of work, and the recommendations of referees.

Research student training programme and other taught courses

MA/MSc by Research students are normally required to attempt and satisfactorily complete one taught module (level M) selected from the available postgraduate modules in the Business School, or to complete a work package of similar size/level assigned by the student's supervisor. They may be allowed to attend further modules (by agreement) but would not normally participate in the diet of assessment. Students are also required, where this is feasible, to participate in research student training programmes organised by the Research Graduate School. The taught module is normally related to the proposed specialist area of research and is agreed with the module leader and research supervisor at the start of the study. In addition, for both the MA and MSc, they are required to undertake research methods training through participation in a master's level module or by negotiated study agreed by their supervisor.

Successful students may apply for admission onto higher degree research programmes (MPhil/PhD, DBA etc). Although acceptance cannot be guaranteed, the possession of a research degree would be an advantage in applying for further study.


The candidate will be expected to present a thesis that conforms to the University requirements (with the exception that an MSc thesis may be up to 25,000 words if the topic area requires it), make a presentation and participate in a viva voce examination, in conformance with the University regulations.

Summary of MA/MSc by Research in the Business School

  • Duration: One year full-time, or two years part-time
  • Suggested enrolment date: October/March
  • Supervision: A minimum of two internal supervisors
  • Thesis Submission date: One year after enrolment
  • Required course work: Research student training programme†, Research Methods and one module selected from current postgraduate modules offered by UBBS, or a work package given by the supervisor. The decision on the taught course needs to be agreed by the supervisor.
  • Research topics:   
    • Human resource management and leadership study (MA)
    • Information systems (MSc)
    • Knowledge management (MSc)
    • Language learning and assessment (MA)
    • Intercultural communication (MA)
    • Marketing (MSc)
  • Fees: Standard - as set by the University. Please see Research fees

Learning outcomes of the MA by Research and MSc by Research

The standard of the MA/MSc by Research is that expected of a candidate who has satisfactorily completed a basic research training and has undertaken a substantial piece of independent work, demanding more advanced and intensive study than a first degree, in not less than 12 months' full-time study, and has presented a satisfactory thesis.

The candidate needs to demonstrate:

  • The ability to undertake independent research
  • Competence in the investigation of the chosen topic(s)
  • Understanding of a specialist field
  • The ability to critically evaluate research data
  • The ability to undertake effective bibliographic and information searches
  • The ability to present information both orally and in written form to a professional standard
  • The ability to work effectively with research colleagues
  • Understanding of ethical issues associated with their research and the importance of good research practice

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