Hi, I’m Natasha and I’m currently studying Research in Human Geography 
MRes. This post contains my top five tips to transition effectively from your Undergraduate degree to an MRes based on my own experiences.

1. Make sure an MRes is right for you

This is easily one of the most important things that you will need to consider. The fees are often lower, and it’s a useful step towards a PhD. However, a 20,000 word research project can be daunting – and you’ll have extra essays to do on top of this. Your time at University will be much less structured than undergrad, so independence is important. Make sure you are prepared to be self-disciplined when it comes to your studies!

2. Have a project and a supervisor in mind before applying

Thinking about a project before applying will help guide you through the application process. Many MRes applications require you to submit a draft proposal as part of your application, so this is incredibly useful.  I needed to submit 250 words, for example – but prepare for the possibility of needing to write more. Having a supervisor in mind is also a great idea – you will be able to contact them in advance, and know whether they are the right person for you, and whether your project is a viable one.

3. Be prepared to be flexible

Be prepared to change your project and/or your supervisor. If you are advised to change your project, or you feel as if it isn’t working, then consider revising the details to suit your needs. Your supervisor is there to help if and when you run into problems so it is just as important to have an appropriate supervisor. If you have different academic interests, for example, or you aren’t getting on well, then change. Having a positive relationship with your supervisor is so important for being able to perform well and enjoy your MRes.

4. Start researching as soon as you can

I started my research in November, and it has been really beneficial so far. I’m getting a good data set, and I’m able to write up as I go – which I’m sure will help in the long run. Starting research sooner rather than later also means that you and your supervisor can spot any methodological issues and adjust with good time to complete the big write up. This also leaves time for PhD or job applications which do take up a lot of time!

5. Set your own (realistic) deadlines

Being self-disciplined is crucial when you’re studying for your MRes. You will have monthly supervisions to monitor your progress, but setting yourself your own deadlines will make sure that you are on track. It can be very difficult to motivate yourself when official deadlines are over six months away. Make sure this process isn’t stressing you out – being unrealistic will make you feel as if you’re underperforming and this is obviously something to avoid.

To summarise – it is important that you know why you want to do an MRes, and have an idea of a potential project or supervisor before applying. If you can be flexible and set realistic deadlines, then an MRes is the course for you!

Natasha is from the UK and is undertaking her MRes in Research in Human Geography.