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Course content

The MSc in Energy and Society is an innovative postgraduate programme that considers energy as socio-technical. Using ideas from practice theory, notions of integrated energy systems, energy development and social science approaches to energy, it aims to draw together diverse disciplinary approaches, and to ensure that students can speak and read across disciplinary boundaries. It will be of interest to engineers seeking to understand how and why innovations succeed or fail, to social scientists who want to improve their understanding of energy developments and to a broad range of graduates with an interest in today’s energy issues.

The full-time course consists of two terms of teaching, during which students are introduced to the range of research questions and methods, and a dissertation, involving the design, development and implementation of an independent research project. Students work closely with academic staff, and have the opportunity to become involved in active research projects.

The programme draws on leading experts in energy studies at Durham from Anthropology, Engineering, Geography, Earth Sciences and other departments. The two core taught modules are delivered via intensive block-teaching, and there is also a field study module for applied team-research. 

Please see the website for further information on current modules.

Course Learning and Teaching

The full-time course runs for a full year, from October to September. Full-time students attend classes between October and December (Michaelmas Term) and January and March (Epiphany), with further assessment in April and May (Easter Term), and then work, under the supervision of a specialist supervisor, to complete a dissertation by September.

The programme is delivered through a mixture of interactive lectures, seminars, practical sessions and workshops, in addition to one-to-one dissertation supervision. Typically, lectures deliver key information on progressively more advanced themes and topics. Seminars provide an opportunity to reflect in more depth upon material delivered in lectures and gathered from independent study outside the programme’s formal contact hours. They give students an opportunity to engage with academic issues at the cutting-edge of research in Anthropology, in a learning environment focused on discussion and debate of current issues.

Full-time students have on average 6-8 hours of formal teaching and learning contact per week, and are also expected to attend weekly departmental and Durham Energy Institute research seminars, often given by prominent visiting speakers. Outside timetabled contact hours, students are expected to devote significant amounts of time to reading, discussing and preparing for classes, assignments and project work.

Throughout the programme, all students meet regularly with the degree tutor, who provides academic support and guidance. Members of teaching staff have weekly office hours when they are available to meet with students on a ‘drop-in’ basis. Before the academic year starts, we provide information on preparation for the course. On arrival we have induction sessions, including a field trip,and social events, headed by the Director of Postgraduate Studies and the Degree Tutor for Energy and Society.. Students also attend an “Introduction to Research Groups in Anthropology”.

Career Opportunities

Students with a postgraduate qualification in Anthropology pursue a diverse array of careers in areas such as conservation, tourism, public health, health research and management, captive primate care and zoological research management, local government research and management, education (secondary, further and higher), social care, social research, in addition to academia.


Visit the Energy and Society - MSc page on the Durham University website for more details!

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