Master of Research

Key Facts


Programme Overview


Master of Research. All GSA degree programmes are validated by the University of Glasgow. Established in 1451, the University of Glasgow is a member of the prestigious Russell Group of leading UK research universities and a founder member of Universitas 21, an international grouping of universities dedicated to setting worldwide standards for higher education.


Assessment comprises a Summative Portfolio, which constitutes a standalone body of work, at Masters level. Students can to choose to submit for a Master of Research by Research Project, whereby the portfolio may include design/creative practice and a written text of 8,000 words OR Master of Research by Thesis, where the student may submit an extended written text of 20,000 words. The Master of Research programme provides the opportunity for eligible students to surrender the Master of Research and apply to articulate into year two of PhD study.

Indicative Additional Costs
Individual departments levy material fees as indicated on this page. You should budget for each year of your programme of study and should allow for costs over and above your fees and maintenance, particularly if expensive materials or projects are chosen.

Programme Overview



The Master of Research is a pioneering postgraduate research degree offered across all Schools at The Glasgow School of Art (GSA). It offers students a unique opportunity to design and undertake a research project, which is either practice-based or theoretical.

The programme is offered at GSA’s Campus in Glasgow, GSA Highlands & Islands or across both Campuses. The Master of Research prepares students for doctoral study and offers the potential for eligible students to apply to convert to a PhD at Year 2 (FT). It is available full-time (1 year) or part-time (2 years).

This is not a taught programme - it combines tailored research training, delivered in seasonal schools: winter; spring and autumn at our Creative Campus, Highlands & Islands, alongside a substantial component of independent research under the direction of a supervisory team. 

The Master of Research is suited to students who wish a dedicated space to continue a research project or to creative practitioners who wish to develop their research practice in a specific context. Student’s creative practice is the focus of the iterative research approach and is a major aspect of its experiential nature. This involves exploring creative practice through critical inquiry: making, reading, writing, thinking, discussion and reflection.

Candidates will embark on interdisciplinary research inquiries that address contextually located social and cultural challenges, which are driven and informed through engagement with communities. The development and expression of participatory practice is central to the research ethos. In summary, the programme is:

  • In participation with people and their communities
  • Contextually located with emergent research questions
  • Iterative with a cumulative build-up of inquiry
  • Impact driven

Outputs will reflect the importance of practice based research and knowledge exchange in practice. It is anticipated that students will take an active part in developing the GSA postgraduate culture through their shared research interests. The programme seeks to develop world-class researchers who wish to enhance their professional practice or pursue an academic career.

Due to Covid-19 and ongoing government restrictions, the MRes Research Training Programme, Seasonal Schools, and meetings amongst supervisory teams will take place remotely through teleconferencing platforms such as Zoom. Students will be able to access the Library through an online booking system. New students can find more information on our Pre-Enrolment Gateway, and continuing students on the GSA Student Intranet, Canvas, email and e-bulletins, and staff on the GSA Staff Intranet, email and e-bulletins.

How to Apply

We enrol Master of Research students in January each year. The deadline for applications for a January 2023 start is 30th November 2022. Your application will be forwarded to assessors for review based on academic merit and research quality when you have submitted to GSA Registry the following:

  • Completed Postgraduate Application Form
  • Completed MRes Research Proposal Form
  • Copies of entry qualification certificates (Transcript/mark sheet)
  • Two Academic References (word count 500 maximum per reference)
  • Electronic submission of Portfolio in support of the application (in ppt. or jpg. Format), if appropriate


Information on postgraduate fees and current funding opportunities can be found here.

International Applicants

International applicants will need to provide an IELTS for UKVI (Academic) test taken at a UKVI approved test centre with a suitable score. Our current requirement  is IELTS 6.5 (no less than 6.5 in each component) and a full list of UKVI approved test centres can be found here. If the language of instruction at the applicants last university is English, international applicants will not need to provide this qualification. 

In addition to your application you will also need to submit a copy of your passport (if applicable).

UKVI Requirements 

Full information about Tier 4 Student Visa requirements is available here

Further Information

If you would like to discuss the MRes programme and your research interests please contact Professor Lynn-Sayers McHattie Following this, we encourage you to send Lynn a draft of your MRes Research Proposal form. This will be reviewed by a member of GSA research faculty with relevant expertise in your research area, and you will then be invited to attend a one-to-one meeting to support the writing and submission of your Research Proposal and MRes application.