MRes Medicine and Life Sciences

  1. Course Variations
    Nomenclature Duration Mode Of Attendance
    M.Res. 1Yr FT
    M.Res. 2Yr PT
  2. Typical offer:
    UK 2:2

Course Overview

The MRes is a one year full time programme, which provides an ideal opportunity and environment in which to gain practical training in Research Methods and to join a thriving research team within Swansea University College of Medicine. The course has been developed with an emphasis on providing students with a research-oriented approach to their learning. Students are able to tailor their studies towards a career in one of the College’s internationally recognised research themes:
– Biomarkers and Genes,
– Devices,
– Microbes and Immunity,
– Patient & Population Health and Informatics.

Key Features

The programme is committed to supporting the development of evidence within the areas of Health, Medicine and Life Science through the training of researchers whose findings will directly inform their own understanding and that of others. The ethos of this programme is to produce graduates with the research skill and knowledge to become effective researchers, who will contribute to the body of knowledge within their chosen area of interest that will have an impact upon the health and well-being of all.

  • The advantage of a MRes over other formats is that it provides a structured yet in-depth approach, taking the taught component of FHEQ Level 7 teaching as a framework for conducting research on the candidates own practice.
  • Innovative and integrated curriculum that reflects the various aspects of the research process.
  • Multidisciplinary teaching team with vast experience and expertise in conducting high quality research.
  • Research informed teaching.
  • Teaching is supported by online learning and support.
  • Flexibility for you to gain specialist knowledge.
  • A one year full-time taught masters programme designed to develop the essential skills and knowledge required for a successful research career.
  • This course is also available for two years part-time study.
  • The opportunity to conduct an individual research project with an interdisciplinary team within a supportive environment.
  • Students will be assigned a research-active supervisory team


The aim of the MRes is to provide students with a broad research training to prepare them for a research career in Medical and Life Science research with emphasis on: Biomarkers & Genes, Devices, Microbes & Immunity, and Patient & Population Health and Informatics. The course has been developed to enable graduates to pursue a variety of research careers in Medical and Life Sciences. The programme comprises both taught and research elements.

By the end of the programme students will have:

Developed necessary skills to critically interpret and evaluate research evidence; Gained experience the in analysis and interpretation of research data; Advanced knowledge at the forefront of Medical and Life Science research, with the ability to integrate the theoretical and practical elements of research training; Developed the ability to conceptualise, design and implement a research project for the generation of new evidence that informs Health, Medicine and Life Science; Developed practical research skills by working with an interdisciplinary research team; The ability to confidently communicate research ideas and conclusions clearly and effectively to specialist and non-specialist audiences; Acquired transferable skills which enhance your employability and future research career.

Entry Requirements

Admission to this course is normally on the basis of UK Honours Degree Grade 2:2 or above in an appropriate subject area – Biomedical, Health, Medical or Life Science, or an equivalent qualification for overseas applicants.

All applications are considered on individual merit, taking into account of any relevant work experience. Should you have qualifications below the required minimum or lack a suitable first degree, please feel encouraged to submit an application if you have at least two years of experience in Health and or Life Science related fields.

International applicants where English is not their first language will be required to demonstrate English language proficiency (IELTS Score 6.5/TOEFL 570) according to Swansea University guidance for postgraduate programmes.

How To Apply

Apply online and track your application status at

If you're an international student, find out more about applying for this course



Tuition Fees

Annual tuition fees for entry in the academic year 2017/18 are as follows:

UK/EU International
M.Res. Full-time £4,195 £17,850
M.Res. Part-time £2,097.50 £9,000

Tuition fees for years of study after your first year are subject to an increase of 3%.

You can find further information on fees and how to pay on our tuition fees page.

If your course starts in January, April or July 2017 please refer to the 2016/17 fee costs on our tuition fees page.

You may be eligible for funding to help support your study. To find out about scholarships, bursaries and other funding opportunities that are available please visit the University's scholarships and bursaries page.

International students and part-time study: If you require a Tier 4 student visa you must be studying full-time. If you are in the UK under a different visa category, it may be possible for you to study part-time. Please see our part-time study and visas page for more information.

Current students: You can find further information of your fee costs on our tuition fees page.

Additional Costs

The tuition fees do not cover the costs of purchasing books or stationery, printing, thesis binding or photocopying costs. There are no mandatory additional costs specified for this course.

Course Structure

Students must complete 3 modules of 20 credits each and produce a 120 credits thesis on a research project aligned to one the College’s research theme. Each taught module of the programme requires a short period of attendance that is augmented by preparatory and reflective material supplied via the course website before and after attendance.

The programme is designed in two phases:

Phase 1 – Training and Application (October – January; 60 credits)

Taught modules in Research Methods and their application to Medicine and Life Science. Personalised education and training relevant to student’s research interests. Identification of research questions and how they might be addressed.Focused on students existing knowledge and research skills.

Phase 2 – Research Project (February – September; 120 credits)

The project is selected by the student in combination with an academic supervisory team. Focussed on one of the College’s four main research themes: Biomarkers and Genes, Devices, Microbes and Immunity, and Patient & Population Health and Informatics. At the end of Part 2 students submit a 40,000 word thesis worth 120 credits leading to the award of Master of Research in Medicine and Life Science.

Attendance pattern

Students are required to attend the University for 1 week (5 consecutive days) for each module in Phase One. Attendance during Phase Two is negotiated with the supervisor.

You are also encouraged to attend the Postgraduate Taught Induction Event during the induction week and any programme associated seminars, together with Postgraduate research events.

Course Modules

PMRM01 Critical Appraisal and Evaluation

PMRM02 Data Analysis for Health and Medical Sciences

PMRM03 Research Leadership and Project Management OR any topic specific FHEQ Level 7 module from the College of Medicine ’s portfolio

Mode of delivery

The 60 credits of the taught element will be delivered face-to-face, combining formal lecturing, seminars, and group work in addition to tutor-led practical classes. The remaining 120 credits for the research element will be available as distance learning either off or on-site. Irrespective of the location for conducting the research project, students will supported through monthly online (Skype)/or face-to-face supervisory meetings.

Non-funded project 1

MRes project  – Professor Catherine Thornton, Human Immunology

1.Newborns and infants are more susceptible to infection than adults reflecting altered activity of key cell types within both the innate and adaptive arms of the immune system. Neutrophils are the most abundant leukocyte and have a front-line host defence role. The hypothesis to be tested is that altered glycolytic function underpins functional differences in newborn neutrophils. The main aim of this project will be to compare the immunometabolic profile of neutrophils from umbilical cord blood versus adult peripheral blood and relate this to functional changes in mitochondrial health, phagocytosis and cytokine outputs by these cells at these different stages of human development. The methods used would include: magnetic microbead isolation of blood neutrophils, flow cytometry/ confocal microscopy for cell phenotypes (including mitochondria) and phagocytosis, bioenergetics analysis for oxidative phosphorylation and glycolysis, and various biochemical and other inhibitors to elucidate mechanisms of action.



Non-funded project 2

MRes project  – Professor Catherine Thornton, Human Immunology

2. The placenta is a rich source of growth factors that regulate the development of multiple fetal tissues and organs. This includes neurotrophic factors with a role in neural and cognitive development but much of this evidence is from animal studies. The main objective of this study is to map neurotrophin expression by gestation associated tissues (placenta and attached membranes) using gene and protein expression analysis tools such as PCR, immunohistochemistry, and immunoblotting/immunoassay. A secondary objective is to identify how microenvironmental changes such as inflammation or glucose excess modulate the production of neurotrophic factors by these tissues. In the longer term these could be related to health and cognitive outcomes in childhood.

Non-funded project 3

MRes project  – Professor Catherine Thornton, Human Immunology

3. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are of great interest in cell based therapies for regenerative medicine. They have evolved as a mechanism to repair multiple tissue types and restore normal tissue function after damage but also have an immunoregulatory role. Many tissue types additional to the bone marrow harbour MSCs and these are mobilised in response to damage or malfunction. This project will explore the impact of maternal obesity on the phenotype and function of MSCs in the offspring with the hypothesis being that maternal obesity impairs repair and/or immunoregulatory functions of newborn MSCs. MSCs will be isolated from the umbilical cord of newborns of mothers of varying body mass index and their phenotype and function investigated using cell culture, immunoassays, flow cytometry, bioenergetics analysis and differentiation assays with a focus on neurogenesis.


Non-funded project 4

MRes project  – Professor Catherine Thornton, Human Immunology

4. The emergence of insulin resistance in women as pregnancy progresses is a normal physiological response. It is postulated to ensure the preferential provision of glucose to the fetus with maternal adipose tissue and skeletal muscle then preferentially using fatty acids. While immunological changes also form part of the normal physiological response in pregnancy how these link to the aforementioned metabolic changes remains unknown. The hypothesis to be tested is that peripheral blood leukocytes from pregnant women also show evidence of decreased glucose and increased fatty acid utilisation and this underpins functional changes in these cells. Glucose and fatty acid transporter expression on various leukocytes will be studied using flow cytometry and expression levels compared in pregnant and non-pregnant women. Neutrophils and T cells will be isolated and glycolysis and fatty acid oxidation measured using bioenergetics analysis. Function of these will be related to cytokine and other functional outputs using biochemical inhibitors of the metabolic pathways of interest.


Non-funded project 5

Development of test systems for assessing genotoxic carcinogens. Each new molecular produced by a pharmaceutical, chemical, agrochemical and cosmetics company is tested for its carcinogenic potential. Many of the existing techniques are quite slow, rely upon large animal studies and have issues regarding sensitivity and specificity. The Swansea group has been involved in the development of numerous in vitro cell based assays designed to assess chromosome damage and gene mutation, using techniques such as flow cytometry and automated image microscopy. These are developed in house along with in collaboration to large and small companies, along with many pharmaceutical stakeholders. A project in this area would lead to skills in tissue culture, cytogenetics, high-throughput, high-content platforms, hazard and risk assessments with molecular approaches linked to gene expression if required.

Non-funded project 6

Development of quantitative tools for use in assessing potential genotoxic carcinogens. Each new molecular produced by a pharmaceutical,chemical, agrochemical and cosmetics company tested for its carcinogenic potential, and concentrations that are of negligible concern to the human population often need to be identified. The Swansea group has been central in developing methods for analysing genetic toxicity data sets for use in human health risk assessment, and industrial and regulatory stakeholders including GSK, AstraZeneca, US-FDA, Health Canada, RIVM etc. continue to provide data and expertise as well. A project in this area would lead to a critical and applied understanding of how safe levels of exposure are defined, and there will be some potential for some data of potential high impact can be linked to the project to allow for real life worked examples to be generated and potentially published.