Moray House School of Education and Sport

MScR programme structure

The MSc by Research aims to provide a thorough training in research in a particular area within either Education or Sport. It is a one-year (full-time) or two-year (part-time) degree.


The MSc by Research (MScR) is a pure research degree with no taught elements and many students use it as a stepping stone to a PhD. The degree consists of a sustained piece of research culminating in either a dissertation of 30,000 words or a portfolio of smaller projects.  


In preparing their dissertation students will develop skills in:

  • Defining a suitable topic of enquiry 
  • Framing research questions and shaping appropriate research strategies 

  • Researching evidence or literature, and critically assessing it 

  • Designing and/or applying a suitable research methodology 

  • Analysing and interpreting evidence 

  • Communicating research plans and findings 

  • Effective academic referencing


It is suitable for applicants who have a sound grounding in the field of study and, ideally, have also completed a dissertation at undergraduate level to show their ability to successfully pursue independent research.

Degree structure, teaching and assessment

There are no taught elements to this programme and students are expected to be engaged in research 100% of the time. Each MSc by Research student will be assigned one supervisor with whom they will work to plan, execute, interpret and write up their independent research project.

In between meetings, students are expected to work on their own initiative, but may, of course, contact their supervisor at any time. You typically meet with your supervisor every 4 weeks. 

Dissertation studies may be field, laboratory or desk-based, reflecting the diversity of research in Moray House School of Education and Sport. They may be based on a single research study (more common in the field of Education) or a portfolio of smaller research studies with a coherent theme (more common in the field of Sport). 

The submitted dissertation will be assessed by two markers working independently. One is an internal examiner (a member of staff from the University of Edinburgh) and the other external to the University. Examiners will be nominated by the dissertation supervisor and approved by the Graduate School. There is no oral examination for the MSc by Research programme.

Our research community 

MSc by Research students are part of our large and internationally diverse Postgraduate Research Student Community. All students are offered research training workshops and seminars and are included in one or more of our Thematic Research Hubs, where they have opportunities to attend seminars and reading groups relevant to their research. We also hold a biannual PGR Research Conference called Interweaving.

About our Thematic Research Hubs

How to apply

Visit the University’s Degree Finder for detailed entry requirements, fees, international grade equivalency, language requirements and to apply.

MScR Education 

MScR Sport, Physical Education and Health Sciences 

Application and supporting documents

Your application should be submitted online. When you complete the online form you have the opportunity to upload supporting documents.  Please ensure that ALL of the following are included in your application:

  • A transcript with all of your results achieved to date 
  • Copies of your degree/diploma certificate, if you have already completed your qualification 

  • Two academic references 

  • Evidence of your competence in written and spoken English, if English is not your first language (we accept various types of English tests - see 'English Language Proficiency guidance' on the Degree Finder)

  • Certified translations, if your original documents are not in English 

  • Your Curriculum Vitae 

  • A personal statement (no more than 500 words)

  • A research proposal

Related links

Writing your MSc by Research proposal