Research Scientist MRes Degree Apprenticeship

Learn to undertake scientific investigations and communicate information accurately and effectively to a range of audiences, whilst also developing commercial and leadership skills. If you are already working in bioscience or biomedical laboratories, in research or technical roles, and are looking to advance your career in research, this work-based programme could be the right choice for you.

Start date: September

Course type
Work-based degree

Course format

No placements


3 years PT

UCAS code(s)

Start date

Course outline and modules

For employees

This postgraduate level apprenticeship will develop your skills and knowledge as a research scientist. You will develop your existing knowledge, and advance your theoretical and practical knowledge, in the laboratory environment, and also when communicating your research. With our Business for the Biosciences module, you will also develop commercial and leadership skills to help you to maximise your research impact and value. The programme content is tailored to your individual professional development needs, giving you a bespoke experience that will give you all the skills, knowledge, and practical experience required to succeed in your role and advance your career.

For employers

This postgraduate Level 7 apprenticeship programme has been designed to support the development of graduate scientists into talented researchers. The programme content is tailored to the professional development needs of the apprentice, giving them a bespoke experience. Apprentices will develop their existing knowledge, and also develop advanced theoretical and practical knowledge, both in the laboratory, and when communicating their research. With a focus also on developing commercial and leadership skills, this programme will ensure each apprentice develops a well-rounded set of skills, knowledge, competencies, and practical experience to ensure success for themselves and for you.

Qualifications awarded on completion of the programme

By completing this programme you will be awarded with:

  • MRes Research Scientist
  • Apprenticeship Certificate

The award aligns with several of the competencies/attributes required for the professional recognition of Chartered Member status by the Royal Society of Biology, the Royal Society of Chemistry, and the Institute of Physics.

Who is this apprenticeship for?

This Level 7 degree apprenticeship will provide the practical and theoretical training for aspiring research scientists who want to advance their careers and gain a formal degree qualification. It is intended for those already working in bioscience or biomedical roles who want to develop their skills and knowledge of bioscience research challenges, and to develop commercial and leadership skills.

Programme content 

This programme is taught at postgraduate level (apprenticeship Level 7) part-time over three years. It includes four core taught modules and a final dissertation research project. Each module is taught over a period of 12 weeks:

  • Essential Laboratory Skills
  • Professional Research and Communication Skills
  • Research Competency Assessment
  • Business for the Biosciences
  • Research Project

Real-world learning

You will spend most of your time doing a full-time job as well as studying for your apprenticeship part-time through a combination of online seminars outside of office hours and occasional sessions on campus. Everything is structured to fit around your job and is designed in partnership with employers.

Entry requirements

To be considered for this programme Aston University expects applicants to have a professionally recognised bachelors degree (or equivalent) in a STEM subject.

You will also need to meet the government's eligibility criteria:

  • Be employed in a job in England with responsibilities aligned with the degree content
  • Have a minimum of Grade C/4 in GCSE Mathematics and English (or equivalent) by the end of the apprenticeship
  • Have been a UK/EU/EAA resident for the past three years or more prior to starting the course
  • Have left full time education when the apprenticeship you are applying for is due to start.
  • Be aged at least 16 years old

How to apply

If you are already employed in this industry, you should discuss with your manager if your organisation is working in partnership with Aston University. If they are, you will make an application through your employer.

If your employer is not yet an Aston partner, they can get in touch with our Apprenticeships Team to find out more information about working with us.

Learning, teaching and assessment

This programme is taught through blended on campus and distance learning. Teaching takes place through short blocks of lectures, and online, via our virtual learning environment, a platform which gives apprentices access a comprehensive range of study materials, academic journals, databases, and much more. Online learning activity gives apprentices the flexibility to study from any location without the need to frequently travel to the Aston University campus.

In addition to online learning, all apprentices are supported by a professional skills coach, an academic, and professional supervisor. The coaches and supervisors meet with apprentices once per module, either in person or online, to provide advice, and to help bridge the gap between theory and practice.


By successfully completing this programme, you will be awarded with an MRes Research Scientist. You will also achieve an apprenticeship certificate that is graded at pass, merit or distinction. The programme will be assessed through a combination of class tests, coursework, presentations, and practical assessments. Projects and assignments are mostly work-based, relating directly to the apprentice’s role in their organisation, adding immediate value for both the learner and the employer.

End point assessment

The apprenticeship programme concludes with the end point assessment (EPA). The EPA gives the apprentice the opportunity to showcase their academic, personal, and professional development achievements developed during the apprenticeship. the apprentice takes part in a professional discussion to demonstrate their competencies and how they have applied their learning in the workplace. They will also be required to give a presentation showing the impact of their final work-based project on their organisation. After the EPA, the assessors will consider what grade should be awarded for the apprenticeship – fail, pass, merit, or distinction.


You will not have to pay tuition fees as a degree apprentice as the cost is met by the UK government and your employer. In addition to your fees being paid, you will also earn a salary while you study, so there is no need to apply for Student Finance support.

The funding band for this degree apprenticeship is £18,000. This is the full cost of your apprenticeship which will be paid for using your employer's apprenticeship levy.