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Course content

About this course

This course 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. With over 200 members of staff, the breadth of research and expertise in the institute 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.

Why study Biosciences at Aberystwyth University?

IBERS has been judged world leading in areas such as zoology, grassland science, biochemistry, animal science, marine biology, microbiology, plant biology and ecology.

No matter which area of Biology you specialise in, you will be working alongside some of the world’s biggest names in their respective fields.

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.

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 first. It is also suitable for students that would like to combine research with the support of a taught element of a postgraduate course.

In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014) review of university achievement, 78% of our research was classed as world-leading or internationally excellent, and 76% of our work was recognised as having a practical applied impact on society at a world-class level.

Aberystwyth is a safe, vibrant, and friendly town that comprises a multinational community.

Course structure

This course can be studied one year full-time or 24 months part-time. Students on this course complete 40 credits of core modules centred on research and laboratory techniques, and 20 credits giving them an insight into themes/approaches to the biosciences. These modules are delivered via fieldtrips, practicals, lectures, workshops and tutorials.

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 IBERS also have a named personal tutor, with whom they can discuss personal or domestic concerns that impact on their studies.

Course content

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.

Core modules:

Field and Laboratory Techniques
MRes Dissertation (A)
MRes Dissertation (B)
Research Methods in the Biosciences
Frontiers in the Biosciences

Contact time

Up to 10 hours per work are 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 project this may include laboratory, field or computer-based research supported by regular meetings with your supervisor.


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 online assignments.

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


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

Visit the Biosciences - MRes page on the Aberystwyth University website for more details!





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