With over 6,500 candidates in more than 40 countries worldwide the MRS Advanced Certificate is the leading, fastest growing, degree level vocational qualification for the research sector.

Who’s it for?

Developed by MRS and drawing on best practice across the profession, the Advanced Certificate is designed for those who are within the first two years of their research career or for those who wish to enter the research profession.

It’s ideal for people in all areas of research (buyers, suppliers and operations staff, undergraduates, postgraduates, market and social researchers, pollsters) from a broad range of employers (large and small agencies, local and national government, FTSE 500 companies, consultancies, financial institutions, charities) – the list is endless.

Kenny Imafidon, MMRS, ClearView Research, CEO

“Despite already being in research for 5 years, I found the qualification was valuable in developing my skills as a researcher. It helped me to think more critically about how I conduct research and gave me the know-how about how I can deliver more robust studies for our clients."

What’s involved?

The MRS Advanced Certificate is a single-unit qualification, comprising 3 elements which follow the research process from problem definition to reporting on research results.

In order to reflect the inter-dependence of the various stages in the research process, the assessment of the qualification follows an integrated approach. All candidates must complete 2 components of assessment:

  • Assignment: (the Integrated Assignment, or IA): This assignment requires candidates to prepare a brief and proposal for a research project.
  • Exam:  This is a 2hrs 30mins written examination.

More information on the structure of the Advanced Certificate can be found in the Syllabus section.

The focus of the MRS Advanced Certificate is on the development of understanding of both key principles and ‘real world’ research practice, and on the application of this understanding to research problems.

The syllabus is structured into 3 elements:

  • Element 1 – The Research Context
  • Element 2 – Developing a Research Project
  • Element 3 – Analysing Data and Using Research Findings

The syllabus structure is ‘horizontal’ which allows for a integrated approach. Themes such as Ethics and critical appraisal, both fundamental to every aspect of research run through all three of the elements.


Following considerable review and consultation with our key stakeholders and syllabus experts the MRS Advanced Certificate in Market & Social Research Practice syllabus review has been reviewed. This new syllabus became effective from the January 2014 Assessment Round and the last assessment against this syllabus will be January 2020.

New Syllabus – Effective June 2020 Assessment Round

Candidates are given an overall band grade (Distinction, Merit, Pass, Fail). The overall grade is an aggregate of grades allocated over the three questions attempted in the exam. In order to achieve a Pass overall, candidates will normally need to achieve a minimum of a Pass in each question. If one answer is awarded a Fail grade, candidates will normally be expected to achieve a Merit band or above in one of the remaining two questions in order to pass.

Integrated Assignment (IA)
Candidates are given a band grade (Distinction, Merit, Pass, Fail) for the IA.

Overall Result
No overall grade is awarded for the MRS Advanced Certificate. The Results Notification and Certificate give the level of achievement in each component.

Fail/Referred Candidates
A candidate who has failed to meet the pass criteria for both components of assessment is described as Fail.

Candidates who fail to achieve the Pass criteria in one component only will have their grade for that component Referred. They will retain the grade achieved for the remaining component. In these circumstances, candidates need only re-sit/re-submit the component in which they were referred.

    • In order to be considered for the award, Referred candidates must retake the component in which they were not successful.
    • In order to be considered for the award, Fail candidates must retake both components of assessment.
    • Candidates may take each of the two components of assessment (Examination and Integrated Assignment) three times within a three-year registration period. Candidates who are unsuccessful on the third attempt must wait until the end of their initial three-year registration period before re-registering for assessment.
    • Candidates who have been successful in one component but who have been unsuccessful three times in the second component are required to retake both components of assessment in any subsequent registration period.
    • Candidates that receive a Refer or Fail grade for either component are entitled to order a report. All requests for enquiry reports must be made within 40 days of the release of the final results.  

Enquiries & Appeals Procedure can be downloaded from here

Important Notice
: It is MRS Policy not to release candidate examination scripts. There is no legal obligation for MRS to release candidate examination scripts. Indeed the Information Commissioner who is responsible for the Data Protection Act and Freedom of Information Act which regulates personal data such as assessment documentation, recognises the special nature of examination scripts and has developed specific guidance on this topic which gives awarding bodies exemption for providing such information.

The Examiner Report provides an outline detail of the question requirement, for each question selected by the candidate. Feedback is given relating to how the candidate responded to the question, this includes weaknesses and where applicable the strengths. The grade achieved by the candidates for each part question and the overall grade achieved for the question is also detailed.

You can learn the principles and techniques which underpin effective research, as well as the theories of industry best practice via a variety of routes of study.

Please click on the sections below for the different types of providers and then the individual logos for each company's website.

Face to Face or Distance learning with full tutor support, live webinars and an interactive online learning environment


Telephone: +44 20 3130 1431
Email:  hello@research-academy.co.uk

Distance learning with flexible options for personalised/full or partial tutor support via email

Email : info@themarketresearchstudycentre.co.uk 

MRBA Skills – an Education Grants & Funding Support initiative offering a small number of annual bursaries to researchers in the UK wishing to study for the MRS Advanced Certificate in Market & Social Research Practice.  Click here for more information.

Evening and Saturday classes in London.

Telephone: 0800 002 9886
Email: hello@londonmarketingset.co.uk

Evening classes in Central London with access to online resources

Telephone:+44 20 3130 1431

MRBA Skills – an Education Grants & Funding Support initiative offering a small number of annual bursaries to researchers in the UK wishing to study for the MRS Advanced Certificate in Market & Social Research Practice.  Click here for more information.

These leading global organisations are accredited by MRS to offer the MRS Advanced Certificate in Market & Social Research Practice within their graduate training, learning and development programmes.

Please click on the logos for each company's website






If you want to show your clients that your employees have the skills and knowledge to meet new challenges contact samantha.driscoll@mrs.org.uk for details on how your company can become an accredited centre.

When you enter for the MRS Advanced Certificate your relationship is with the accredited centre and not with MRS. All MRS accredited centres are required to demonstrate that they meet rigorous standards in their administration and delivery of courses leading to MRS qualifications. However, accredited centres are not directly controlled by MRS and we do not accept liability for any actions or omissions on their part.

MRS cannot contact accredited centres on the behalf of applicants. All enquiries about courses, including fees, enrolment and course commencement dates should be directed to the accredited centre.

How to accredit your Programme

For further information on accreditation for the MRS Advanced Certificate in Market & Social Research Practice, please click here.

If you are already experienced in market research you can opt for a Direct Registration route. Direct Registration candidates enter directly for assessment without following an accredited course.

All candidates who register for assessment for the MRS Advanced Certificate, who are not already an MRS Member, are required to join MRS please follow this link. This ensures that candidates have direct access to information and are bound by the MRS Code of Conduct. 

In order to register candidates must complete and submit together, both the MRS Membership Application Form (if applicable) and the Direct Registration Form to the Professional Development Co-ordinator at MRS.

All candidates who enter directly for assessment are required to complete the two components of assessment of the MRS Advanced Certificate, the examination and the Integrated Assignment.

On receipt of your registration for Direct Assessment and your completed MRS Membership application form (if applicable) you will receive an email from MRS:

  • Confirming your registration for assessment
  • Confirming the time, date and location of examination you are registered for
  • Links to MRS Code of Conduct, Resources for Candidates and IA Coversheet.

Your exam confirmation will be sent to you via first-class post 2–3 weeks before your allocated examination date.

Resit/Re-submission Form

Direct Registration Fees

June 2019 and January 2020 assessment rounds

Direct Registration Fee £490.00 + £98.00 VAT = £588.00
(Includes examination registration and integrated assignment assessment)

Examination Resit £185.00 + £37.00 VAT = £222.00

Examination Deferral £115.00 + £23.00 VAT = £138.00

IA Deferral £115.00 + £23.00 VAT = £138.00

Resub of Integrated Assignment £185.00 + £37.00 VAT = £222.00

Membership Fees
Annual Subscription Fee:
£77.25 for first year only (no joining fee).

Overseas Despatch Fee
An additional fee is payable to MRS by candidates for assessment outside of the UK. This fee covers MRS administration and examination materials despatch costs. Candidates who wish to sit the exam in their country of residence are responsible for making the British Council venue arrangements and for payment of the associated costs i.e. venue hire, invigilation, return postage & packaging etc.

Entry Criteria

Candidates for the Advanced Certificate would normally have one or more of the following:

  • One year or more of relevant experience in market or social research
  • MRS Certificate in Market & Social Research
  • Satisfactory nomination by employer
  • Satisfactory nomination by course tutor, in cases where the Advanced Certificate is being taken alongside an undergraduate degree
  • 2 A Levels (or equivalent)

Additionally, MRS recommends:

  • Mathematics and English GCSE, at Grade C or above (or equivalent)
Advanced Certificate: Language Requirements

The language used in all assessment components is English.The language should be appropriate to both the task and the professional nature of the qualification.

Candidates whose first language is not English

It is the responsibility of the centre to ensure that all candidates have an appropriate level of language competence in English to allow them to undertake and complete the assessed components of the qualification.

The English requirement for this course is Cambridge English: Advanced Proficiency 175 with no less than 162 in each component or equivalent. All candidates must have a good command of written and spoken English.

January 2020 Assessment Round

Exam: 29th January 10.00am - 12.30pm
IA Submission Date: 22nd January (Direct Cands)
IA Submission Date:  12th February (Accredited Centre Cands)

Closing Date for entries: 3rd January

Result Release Date:  w/c 20th April
Enquiry & Appeals period:  20th April – 30th May

June 2020 Assessment Round

Exam:  24th June 10.00am - 12.30pm
IA Submission Date:  17thJune (Direct Cands)
IA Submission Date:  8th July (Accredited Centre Cands)

Closing Date for entries: 3rd June

Result Release Date:  w/c 14th September
Enquiry & Appeals period: 14th Sept  – 23rd Oct

January 2021 Assessment Round

Exam: 27th January 10.00am - 12.30pm 
IA Submission Date: 20th January (Direct Cands) 
IA Submission Date:  10th February (Accredited Centre Cands)

Closing Date for entries: 5th January

Result Release Date:  w/c 19th April
Enquiry & Appeals period:  19th April – 28th  May

June 2021 Assessment Round

Exam: 30th June 10.00am - 12.30pm
IA Submission Date:  23rd June (Direct Cands)
IA Submission Date: 7th July (Accredited Centre Cands)

Closing Date for entries: 1st June

Result Release Date:  w/c 13th September
Enquiry & Appeals period: 13th Sept – 22nd Oct

Recommended Reading

To support studies towards the qualification, MRS in association with Pearson Education, has produced a recommended text book:

YMcG Textbook image.jpg

The Practice of Market Research: An Introduction

4th Edition, Yvonne McGivern

May 2013, Paperback, 608 pages
ISBN13: 9780273773115
ISBN10: 0273773119

Recommended Reading List

NEW RESOURCE: Sampling Webinars

Yvonne McGivern, Joint Chief Examiner for the MRS Advanced Certificate in Market and Social Research Practice, has produced a series of webinars on the subject of Sampling to support the syllabus. The webinars are designed to be viewed sequentially.

Sampling Webinar Part 1

Sampling Webinar Part 2

Sampling Webinar Part 3

Sampling Webinar Part 4

Sampling Webinar Part 5

Sampling Webinar Part 6 

Sampling Webinar Part 7

Integrated Assignment 

A Guide to the Integrated Assignment

Integrated Assignment Coversheet


A Guide to the Examination

Examplar Exam Paper and Answer Guide

June 2017 Exam Paper

June 2017 Answer Guide

June 2016 Exam Paper

June 2016 Answer Guide

June 2015 Exam Paper

June 2015 Answer Guide

June 2014 Exam Paper

June 2014 Answer Guide

January 2014 Exam Paper

January 2014 Answer Guide


Celebrating academic excellence

2019 winner – George Pinder

George is a Research Executive at ICM Unlimited, the specialist social and political research division at Walnut Unlimited. He joined the company in September 2017 as part of the graduate scheme, after completing a three-month graduate internship at the Gambling Commission. He specialises in quantitative research, with a specific interest in opinion polling and political polling.

George graduated from Clare College, University of Cambridge in 2017, with a BA in Human, Social, and Political Sciences (HSPS). His particular academic interests include the history of political thought and the application of statistics and methods to politics.

MRS Advanced Certificate in Market and Social Research Practice Award 

This Award is given annually for the best performance by a candidate taking the MRS Advanced Certificate in Market & Social Research Practice, the leading, fastest growing, degree level vocational qualification for the research sector.

Selection Criteria

2018 winner – Ali Digby

Ali joined Kantar Public in 2016 having completed a PhD in Economic and Social History at Cambridge University. She worked for the London School of Economics as a researcher specialising in higher education and at the Economist where she published a number of articles and graphs on contemporary economic and social issues.

At Kantar, Ali worked as a senior research executive across a variety of qualitative and mixed-methods projects covering a range of policy areas such as education, energy, transport and others. She led on projects ranging from deliberative public dialogues on fracking and the use of drones to exploratory behaviour change research around home energy efficiency.

Ali is currently pursuing a career in academia, specialising in economic and social history. She will be teaching and researching at Cambridge University from October 2018.

Click here for a list of previous winners

For more information about the awards email: researchawards@mrs.org.uk

MRBA Skills – Education Grants & Funding Support for the MRS Advanced Certificate

MRBA have launched ‘Skills’ to support researchers in the UK market and social research sector wishing to develop their skills and enhance their careers.

MRBA is supporting those at the beginning of their careers, by helping them develop their market and social research knowledge and skills for a future in the sector.  Through their new bursary, they want to help those who might be unable financially to pursue a programme of learning towards the qualification.

MRBA Skills is an Education Grants & Funding Support initiative offering a number of annual bursaries to researchers in the UK wishing to study for the MRS Advanced Certificate in Market & Social Research Practice. Click here for more information or here to watch a vox pop.

MRBA, the UK research industry’s only independent registered charity.

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