Master by Research (MRes)


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

Master by Research (MRes) is a one-year research-focused postgraduate programme delivered at the Institute of Cancer Therapeutics and Faculty of Life Sciences. It provides training for working as a professional scientist, or in preparation for a PhD.

There are six specialisms available to you:

  • MRes Cancer Drug Discovery
  • MRes Cancer Pharmacology
  • MRes Drug Toxicology and Safety Pharmacology
  • MRes Molecular and Cell Biology
  • MRes Chemical Biology
  • MRes Pharmaceutical Technology

The programme places a strong emphasis on developing laboratory-based research skills and expertise. A six-month research project offers you an opportunity to acquire skills, and to put them into practice by carrying out cutting-edge research with a real-world impact.

The programme is organised around research-engaged learning, where the classroom and lab are sites for the production and application of new knowledge. The curriculum is designed around the principle of ‘spiral learning’ where core skills, knowledge, and competencies are reinforced and developed as you study.

The approach to assessment for learning is aligned to both the spiral curriculum and the principle of research-engaged learning. It is also authentic in encompassing the disciplinary and professional skills you will need to pursue a career in the associated scientific and academic fields.

Entry requirements

To be admitted to the programme, applicants must have an undergraduate Honours qualification (minimum 2: 1) or equivalent in a scientific discipline, usually within chemistry, biology, pharmacy, biomedicine, or related fields. Candidates with a 2:2 or equivalent degree who can show relevant experience will also be considered.

For North American students a GPA of normally 2.5 and above (on a scale of 4.0), or an equivalent, is required.


  • Entry to this programme requires a pass at A-level Chemistry OR having taken an undergraduate module in a relevant chemical subject.

English language requirements

  • If your native language is not English, or the official language of your first degree is not English, you will need to pass a test in English approved by the University before you can be admitted. The International English Language Testing System test (IELTS) administered by the British Council is the test which is preferred by the University.

You will need to achieve an overall score of at least 6.0, with at least 5.5 in each of the four sub-tests (speaking, listening, reading, writing). Testing facilities are available at most British Council overseas offices. When you take the test, you should ask for a copy of your Test Report Form to be sent to the University.

Alternative English language tests include:

  • The Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE-A), for which you will need to achieve an overall score of at least 55, with at least 51 in each of the four sub-tests
  • TOEFL, for which you will need to score at least 80 on the internet-based test, with sub-tests not less than Speaking 20, Listening 17, Reading 18, Writing 17

If you do not meet the IELTS requirement, you can take a University of Bradford pre-sessional English course. See the Language Centre for more details.

If you do not meet the IELTS requirement, you can take a University of Bradford pre-sessional English course.

What you will study

First semester

The programme has a central core of modules in the first semester which are designed to train you in widely used laboratory techniques, research methodology, and in critical analysis and thinking.

The 20-credit Practical Skills in Research module is designed around common laboratory techniques and skills including:

  • Flow cytometry
  • Western blot
  • Statistical analysis

You will have a series of workshops to learn these techniques with a lab session where you carry out the procedure.

During the first semester, you will gain knowledge of the breadth of cutting-edge research at ICT and either choose or suggest a research project plan.

In the 20-credit Critical Appraisal module, you are assigned a topic under the supervision of one of our academics and are asked to write a 5000-word critical review. You will receive a wide range of training and advice on:

  • Scientific writing
  • Compiling scientific data
  • Data analysis
  • Scientific presentation

The remaining 20-credit module will provide you with the core academic knowledge required in your chosen specialism. Listed by specialism, the modules are as follows:

  • MRes Cancer Drug Discovery:
    Principles of Drug Discovery
  • MRes Cancer Pharmacology:
    Molecular Basis of Cancer and Cancer Therapeutics
  • MRes Drug Toxicology and Safety Pharmacy:
    Toxicology and Safety Pharmacology
  • MRes Molecular and Cell Biology:
    Molecular and Cell Biology
  • MRes Chemical Biology:
    Bioorganic and Bioinorganic Chemistry
  • MRes Pharmaceutical Technology:
    Science of Solid Dosage Forms & Advanced Pharmaceutical Technologies

Second and third semesters

In Semesters 2 and 3 (60 credits each), you will join research laboratories within the ICT to undertake their Research Project module. During this time, you are trained in specialist laboratory techniques and conduct your chosen research.

A number of specialist workshops throughout the two semesters provide training in subjects and skills such as:

  • Proteomics
  • Bioinformatics
  • CV writing
  • Poster design and preparation
  • Scientific peer review

The large research element in the MRes enables students to undertake substantial and ambitious projects, some of which are expected to result in publication in high impact scientific journals.

Learning and assessment

The programme uses a wide range of assessment types, including:

  • Written exams
  • Extended essays
  • Poster and seminar presentations
  • Laboratory write-ups

The assessments work together to provide the real skills needed for research-active scientists. For example, in Semester 2, you will be tasked with writing a communication journal manuscript based on your initial results and to submit a scientific abstract for a poster.

In Semester 3, you will prepare and present your poster at the Faculty-wide Research Open Day, to which all the University’s internal and external stakeholders are invited. You will join other students in the cohort, to form an editorial board, set criteria and then peer-review the manuscripts prepared in Semester 2.

Employability and the skills that enhance it are a strong feature running through the curriculum design. For example, in Semester 2 you will attend a workshop about writing your CV. In Semester 3, you will participate in a mock job/PhD interview by an invited external employer/academic.

Career prospects

The largest destination of our graduates is enrolment in PhD studies (47%) including here at Bradford, as well as King’s College London, Cambridge, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle, Portsmouth and Sheffield.

Career destination of our graduates includes the NHS, Covance, Envigo, St James Hospital Leeds, Cyprotex, Chiltern, Perrigo, Dewsbury & District Hospital, Liverpool Institute of Translational Medicine, and Public Health England.

Study support

All students on the MRes programme are assigned a Personal Academic Tutor whom they regularly meet during their time here. Embedded within the programme are a number of activities to enhance your academic skills, and additional support is also provided through the Academic Skills Advice unit.

University central services are rich with support teams to assist students with every aspect of their journey through our degree programmes. From our Career and Employability Service, through our strong Students' Union, to our professional and efficient Student Finance team, there are always friendly faces ready to support you and provide you with the answers that you need.


The Institute of Cancer Therapeutics is based on the science quarter at the heart of the University campus and is part of the School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences. ‌

Our research encompasses the development of new cancer medicines from concept to clinic. The emphasis of our work is on drug target and biomarker interrogation in clinical samples and development of relevant in vitro and in vivo models for lead compound selection and progression. The research covers the three broad stages of cancer medicine and biomarker development: discovery, pre-clinical evaluation and clinical application.

Our taught and research-based postgraduate programmes benefit from an excellent research environment within an institute large enough to provide world-leading expertise across a broad range of relevant subject areas, together with a vibrant and supportive student community.

Last updated Mar 2020

About the School

At the University of Bradford, you’ll benefit from - and be a part of – teaching and research that harnesses technology for the good of society. You’ll learn from academic and industry experts who are ... Read More

At the University of Bradford, you’ll benefit from - and be a part of – teaching and research that harnesses technology for the good of society. You’ll learn from academic and industry experts who are shaping the future of their sectors in world-class facilities. We’ve invested millions of pounds in high-tech learning environments, such as our motion capture studio and new School of Management facilities. During your time with us, you can become the very best version of yourself. The University is a place where you can expand your mind and make lifelong friends; where you can grow, learn, experience. Where you can belong, and where we support you every step of the way. Read less