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Course content

*Why do energy efficiency measures often fail?
*How will we transition into a post-carbon energy system?
*Why do some energy technologies spread, while others disappear?
*How can people be persuaded to change their energy habits?

The MSc in Energy and Society investigates energy systems from all angles. On this course you will look at energy in practice, what it means to make an energy transition, what we mean by energy justice, and how energy practices change.

The programme brings in leading experts in energy studies at Durham from Anthropology, Engineering, Economics, Law, Geography, Geosciences and many other departments. It is taught through intensive block-teaching, field-study, original dissertation research and a range of optional modules that complement the core teaching. You will learn about current and new energy technologies, histories of energy, how to understand energy policy, and how to study energy practices.

A broad range of optional subjects enables you to tailor the course according to your particular interests – you can take modules in law, international politics, advanced engineering, geography, risk, development or resilience, depending on your prior qualifications. In your fully supported personal research project you will deepen your expertise in your chosen area.

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.

Compulsory modules

-Dissertation
-Energy in Practice (Field Study)
-Context and Challenges in Energy
-Energy Society and Energy Practices

Optional modules from across the University and have previously included:

-Academic and Professional Skills in Anthropology
-Fieldwork and Interpretation
-Group Renewable Energy Design Project
-Key Issues in Sociocultural Theory
-Society, Energy, Environment and Resilience
-Computational Methods for Social Sciences
-Anthropology and Development
-Negotiating the Human
-Statistical Analysis in Anthropology
-Energy, Markets and Risk
-Renewable Energy and the Environment
-Risk Frontiers

Please see http://www.durham.ac.uk/anthropology/postgraduatestudy/taughtprogrammes/mscenergyandsociety for further information on modules.

Dissertation

We place an emphasis on independent learning. This is supported by the University’s virtual learning environment, extensive library collections and informal contact with tutors and research staff. We consider the development of independent learning and research skills to be one of the key elements of our postgraduate taught curriculum and one which helps our students cultivate initiative, originality and critical thinking.

The dissertation is a significant piece of independent research that constitutes a synthesis of theory, method and practice in anthropology and is supported by an individual supervisor and the dissertation coordinator.

Previous dissertations and research projects as part of the course have been undertaken in partnership with DONG Energy UK, Haringey Borough of London, National Energy Action, Durham County Council, energy enterprises and community energy schemes.

Careers

This course attracts high quality applicants from all over the world and delivers highly-skilled graduates who are able to communicate across disciplines and countries to further environmental progress and energy justice. Graduates of the MSc will be in demand from industry, community organisations, Non-Governmental Organisations and governments around the world. Graduates have gone on to work in Energy justice organisations, local authorities, energy consultancies and further Doctoral study.

Student support

Throughout the programme, all students meet regularly with the degree tutor, who provides academic support and guidance. Furthermore, all members of teaching staff have weekly office hours when they are available to meet with students on a ‘drop-in’ basis. In term time, the department also has an extensive programme of departmental and research group seminars which postgraduate students are encouraged and expected to attend. The undergraduate Anthropology Society also organises its own visiting lecturer programme. We ensure that we advertise any other relevant seminars and lectures in Durham, Newcastle and further afield, and encourage students to attend relevant conferences.

Before the academic year starts, we provide information on preparation for the course. On arrival we have induction sessions and social events, headed by the Director of Postgraduate Studies and attended by both academic and administrative staff. Students also attend an “Introduction to Research Groups in Anthropology”.

Postgraduate study at Durham University

The MSc Energy and Society is based in Durham University’s Department of Anthropology in association with the Durham Energy Institute. Durham has one of the largest Anthropology departments in the world with 40 research active academic teaching staff working across the full range of the discipline. Our Anthropology department is ranked in the top 50 of the prestigious QS World University Subject Rankings. The overall QS rankings also placed Durham 54th in the world for citations, recognising the impact and influence of its research among other academics, and 31st globally for employer reputation, giving recognition to the quality of, and international demand for, Durham’s graduates.

Students on this course can become members of the Durham Energy Institute (DEI) community and can attend its wide range of seminars and events, benefitting from its extensive network of contacts in the energy sector. DEI ( http://www.durham.ac.uk/dei/ ) covers the spectrum of energy research from technological innovation, to the social, political and economic dimensions of energy. DEI addresses energy challenges collaboratively through strong partnerships with industry, international partners, governments, community groups and other academic institutions. This ensures our research is relevant, timely and effective.

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

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