MRS Diploma conversion course

Course overview

Our MRS Diploma conversion course is designed for people who have completed the MRS Advanced Certificate. We developed it because the Advanced Certificate covers much of Unit 1 of the MRS Diploma, and we believe you shouldn’t have to do the work twice. While the syllabuses for the MRS Advanced Certificate and MRS Diploma Unit 1 are similar, they are not identical. Moreover, the assessment for Unit 1 is more challenging than the assessment for the MRS Advanced Certificate.

Our conversion course lets you complete MRS Diploma Unit 1 in only two months. You will study online, with full access to our online learning environment, and you’ll receive guidance from our experienced tutors. After you complete Unit 1, you finish the course with the other students who started the course in your academic year.

Cost: £5,610.00 plus VAT, payable in four instalments
Study mode for Unit 1: Self-guided online study with tutor support
Study mode for Units 2-5: Online with other students taking the course in your year
Course length: Slightly less than two years of part-time study, split across four semesters (the first semester is shorter)
Dates and times: No set dates during Unit 1. For other units, live online tutorials are held on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday lunchtimes; this differs by semester.
Next course start date: 2 October 2017 (but you can start sooner if you wish)

Please read on for detailed information. Alternately, you can find out whether you’re eligible to take the course or apply now.

Why study for the MRS Diploma?
With so many new approaches to generating insight, senior researchers need the ability to judge where an approach is suitable (or not) and the ability to justify their choices to clients and colleagues coherently and confidently.

This means developing a deep understanding of research theory and practice, design considerations, practical constraints and the latest developments in research. Studying for the MRS Diploma will enable you to thoroughly evaluate traditional and new methods, ensure that your research yields valuable insights, and equip you to give persuasive explanations to clients and colleagues.

Having the MRS Diploma on your CV will set you apart in the eyes of employers when applying for senior positions. It will also give you a competitive edge with clients. The MRS Diploma is such a valuable credential that top agencies like Ipsos MORI and GfK encourage staff to complete it in-house. Our MRS Diploma students have repeatedly told us that the course was making a big difference in their work and that their managers and colleagues were favourably impressed. Some students have even been promoted to more senior roles during the course.

Once you’re awarded the MRS Diploma, you can immediately become a Certified Member of the MRS, which comes with a raft of benefits such as a free subscription to the International Journal of Market Research.

Finally, the MRS is the world’s largest research association and its Diploma is recognised internationally. According to the MRS, students from over 40 countries take the exams for its qualifications and the numbers are going up every year.

Why study for the MRS Diploma with us?
At the Research Academy we are dedicated to providing the highest quality of tuition and support for MRS Diploma students.

We aim to train good researchers, and we think participatory teaching and learning are the best way to do this. This means lots of discussion and debate, lots of asking questions and sharing ideas, and plenty of feedback on coursework and mock exam questions.

Our teaching approach gets indisputable results. Our first-attempt pass rate for the December 2013 Unit 1 exam cycle was 80%, which compares favourably with an average of 72% for all first attempts. Please note that our pass rate is based on a small sample size, and will vary over time. The average pass rate is for all students attempting Unit 1 for the first time, from 2009 to 2013.

Finally, our teaching team has a deep understanding of what market research is and what it is used for. All of us currently work in market research, social research or both, and each one of us has been a university lecturer, a trainer or both – some of us for more than 20 years.

Course structure and assessment
The MRS Diploma consists of five units, of which you need to complete four. In Year 2, you can choose between the advanced quantitative and qualitative units.

To fit with your family life, our courses are aligned to the UK academic calendar (the London Borough of Islington’s calendar, to be precise). This means you can take a break during UK half-terms.

Because the assessment is cumulative, it is best if you complete the units in sequential order. Our course is designed to let you do this, as illustrated below.

MRS Diploma conversion course structure

Unit 1: The Principles of Market & Social Research
Autumn semester of Year 1
This unit will allow you to develop the knowledge and skills required to plan, undertake and present results from market and social research, and to understand and use other information sources within this process. Unit 1 covers all the basics of market and social research, as its role is to provide a foundation on which the other units are built. Unit 1 is assessed by means of a written, pen-and-paper exam.

Unit 2: The Practice & Context of Market & Social Research
Spring semester of Year 1
This unit will help you develop an understanding of the theoretical and scientific principles which underpin market and social research, and how these impact on research in practice. The concept of ‘fitness for purpose’ is central to this. Therefore the unit also addresses critical evaluation of the practical limitations of the application of theory in the real world. Unit 2 is assessed by means of a four-part written coursework assignment.

Unit 3: Analysing & Interpreting Quantitative Market & Social Research Data
Autumn semester of Year 2
This unit will give you both the detailed knowledge and the skills to interpret and report on quantitative market research data. It therefore builds on the exploration of quantitative data gathering techniques in Unit 1 and the deeper consideration of attitudes, behaviours and measurement in Unit 2. Unit 3 is assessed by means of a written coursework assignment based on a series of tasks related to a given quantitative dataset.

Unit 4: Collecting, Analysing & Interpreting Qualitative Market & Social Research Data
Autumn semester of Year 2
This unit will give you both the detailed knowledge and the skills to gather, interpret and report on qualitative market research data. It therefore builds on the exploration of qualitative data collection techniques in Unit 1 and the deeper consideration of attitudes and behaviours in Unit 2. Unit 4 is assessed by means of a written coursework assignment in which you evaluate and critique a qualitative research process with which you have been directly involved. You will need to moderate a minimum of one focus group or conduct a minimum of four depth interviews.

You have a choice between Units 3 and 4, so that you complete only four units in total.

Unit 5: Case Studies in Market & Social Research
Spring semester of Year 2
The final unit makes use of real-life case studies to illustrate and resolve dilemmas that arise in research practice. The aim is to allow you to develop a holistic approach to problem solving using research-based intelligence. Unit 5 encompasses the entire research process, from research brief through to the research proposal, focusing on the management of the research process and analysis of the choices and decisions. It builds on the understanding of approaches and techniques covered in Units 1, 3 and 4 and develops further the criticality which is central to Unit 2. Unit 5 is assessed by means of a written, pen-and-paper exam.

For more detail on the various units and their content please download the full syllabus from the MRS.

Times, dates and locations

The course runs for two years, divided over four semesters. Each semester has ten teaching weeks, many of which feature an online tutorial. A few weeks are devoted to coursework or exam preparation. The exact structure of each unit varies with the assessment requirements and assessment date. For instance Unit 1 is quite structured while Units 2, 3 and 4  feature more independent study and one-to-one calls.

Over the course of each semester you’ll receive guidance on the unit assessment. You’ll apply what you’re learning to mock exam and coursework tasks as you go, ensuring your success with the MRS assessment. To get a feel for our semester structure, please read the Unit 1 calendar and materials sheet, which you can download together with our MRS Diploma prospectus.

Live, online tutorials are held from 1100-1200 BST/GMT on Monday, Wednesday or Thursday as follows:
Unit 1: Wednesdays 1100-1200 BST/GMT
Unit 2: Wednesdays 1100-1200 BST/GMT
Unit 3: Mondays 1100-1200 BST/GMT
Unit 4: Thursdays 1100-1200 BST/GMT
Unit 5: Thursdays 1100-1200 BST/GMT

You can take part in forum discussions and attend tutorials from any location – all you need is a computer, laptop or tablet with an internet connection. And you can chat with your tutors and classmates in the course forum at any time!

Cost, payment methods and scholarships

In academic year 2017/18, our MRS Diploma conversion course costs £5.760.00 plus VAT. This includes tuition and support, as well as the MRS registration and exam fees. It does not include the cost of the recommended course textbooks, or fees related to taking the exam outside of the UK. For more information about overseas exams, please click here.

The conversion course is great value for money – by opting for self-study with tutor support for Unit 1, you save £750.00.

You can choose to pay the course fees in four instalments, i.e. one payment per semester. The breakdown is as follows:

Cost ex. VAT
Unit 1* £1,250.00
Unit 2 £1,445.00
Unit 3/4 £1,445.00
Unit 5** £1,470.00
Total for UK-based students £5,610.00
Overseas exam fees*** £110.00
Total for students outside of the UK**** £5,720.00

*Unit 1 includes the MRS Diploma registration fee and an MRS exam fee.
**Unit 5 includes an MRS exam fee.
***Please note that MRS exam fees are higher for students outside of the UK. For more information about this, please click here.
****Please note that UK VAT applies to students in the EU, but not outside of it. To check what applies in your situation, please contact us.

You can pay your instalments by cheque, direct debit or BACS. You can also pay for the entire course up front; some employers prefer this.

The Research Academy offers an annual MRS Diploma Scholarship; please click here for more details.

Assessment and support

The MRS Diploma is assessed externally, i.e. by MRS examiners, and each unit of the Diploma is assessed individually. Units 1 and 5 are assessed via an exam; Units 2, 3 and 4 are assessed by a written coursework assignment. For details, please download the MRS Diploma syllabus.

Because we want you to do well, we’ll give you lots of support with the assessment for each unit. For units assessed by exam, the final session in the semester is devoted to exam revision and exam strategies, and the weekly task that precedes this last session includes answering mock exam questions. For units assessed by coursework, you will receive personal feedback on your assignment from one of our tutors.

During the course of each semester, you will also have the opportunity to practice with mock exam and coursework tasks. For the most important topics, you’ll get feedback from us on these tasks too.

Submitting your coursework drafts and final coursework assignments is easy. It’s all done via our online learning environment, so there’s no need to print multiple copies of your work or worry about it getting lost in the post.

If you’re studying outside the UK, you can take the exams at your local British Council – click here to learn more about this.

To learn about upcoming assessment dates, please visit the MRS website.

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