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I have a research question that I want to explore, so am considering completing a Master of Research (MRes) degree in the UK. I will soon finish a terminal master's program by coursework (in the US), with no thesis option, so I do not have a research background. Is research experience a typical prerequisite for an MRes?

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No, you do not need research experience to get on a UK MRes progamme. Though it will help.

It may vary by institution; this answer is based on the one MRes from my subject area.

The UCL MRes in Energy Demand Studies has the following prerequisites (taken from that linked page):

  • Good numeracy and literacy and an ability to present ideas clearly
  • An appreciation of the importance of behaviour and society in energy demand
  • An understanding of or ability to learn basic physics and engineering concepts
  • Strong performance in a science, engineering or social sciences discipline

The course, in its first half, contains a lot of taught material. This covers, amongst other things, research skills.

Having research skills, or a research track record, will help you with getting onto the more competitive courses, such as this one; and it will improve your chances of getting your study funded too.

One of the selection criteria is (ibid):

how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this challenging programme

so if you can show a research track record, that will help fulfill that criterion.

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