Environmental problems are indisputably a part of the contemporary political landscape. Societies across the globe increasingly confront innumerable and often inter-related environmental challenges ranging from climate change and loss of biodiversity to local conflicts about land-use. Each of these challenges has political, economic, cultural and ethical dimensions; each provides an opportunity to rethink longstanding debates and opens up new fields of political enquiry.
SPIRE’s Masters in Environmental Politics has run since 1996 and is taught by some of the most prominent figures in the field. The course is designed for people who wish to understand and analyse the wide range of political and policy questions thrown up by increasingly complicated environmental problems. It has attracted students from all over the UK, the EU and the world. The international mix of students and staff adds greatly to the nature of discussion and learning.
Keele University has an unrivalled reputation for its work in Environmental Politics, with internationally recognised experts in various fields of social science environmental research particularly in the fields of sociology, political theory, economics, international relations, environmental ethics and public policy. Our interdisciplinary approach, together with a large and active research community on environmental issues within Keele, contributes to a thriving intellectual culture of which you can expect to be a part as an Environmental Politics student.
The course is taught over a 12 month period (September-September; January-January). It is available as a full-time and/or part-time mode of study. Students completing the course have gone on to a variety of careers in the public, private and voluntary sectors.
The aim of the MA/MRes in Environmental Politics is to provide you with an intensive period of study in which to learn about environmental politics and policy in a systematic and critical manner. It aims to provide you with a foundation in the theoretical and practical dimensions of this challenging, interdisciplinary field. In addition to your core modules for the MA/MRes, we recommend that you take our Dimensions of Environmental Politics module, which introduces five key fields of political inquiry in relation to the environment. It looks at: green political theory; the political sociology of the environment; the environment and public policy; environment and political economy; and international environmental politics. Your other chosen elective modules and your dissertation project give a broad scope in which to pursue specific environmental topics of your own choosing.
Taught masters programmes require satisfactory completion of at least 180 credits, made up of 6 taught module (120 credits) plus a 15,000 word dissertation (60 credits). The MA and MRes programmes differ in that the MA programme contains more subject-specific modules and less research training, while the MRes programme contains more research training, in preparation for a research career or for undertaking a research degree such as a PhD.
MA • Power, Knowledge and the World (30 credits) • Perspectives in Politics and International Relations (30 credits) • Research in Action (15 credits) • Three (15 credits) optional modules chosen from the list below • 15,000 word dissertation on an approved topic in Public Policy (60 credits)
MRes • Research Design and Process (20 credits) • Two 15 credits optional modules chosen from the list below • Perspectives in Politics and International Relations (30 credits) • Quantitative Data Analysis I (20 credits) • Qualitative Data Analysis (20 credits) • 15,000 word dissertation on an approved topic in Public Policy (60 credits)
Options Optional modules can be drawn from modules such as those listed below, although the precise list of available modules may vary from year to year.
• Approaches to European Integration: History and Practice • Comparative Public Management reform (recommended) • Comparative European Politics • Diplomatic Law • Diplomatic Practice • Dimensions of Environmental Politics (recommended) • Environmental Diplomacy (recommended) • Environmental Movements: North and South • Environmental Politics and Policy in India and China (recommended) • Parties and Democracy • Right-Wing Radical Parties • The Changing International Agenda • The Politics of Global Security • The Theory of Global Security • US Environmental Politics and Policy • US Foreign Policy (recommended)
Teaching & Assessment
Postgraduate teaching and learning generally takes place in a combination of large seminars and smaller discussion groups. Our academics typically lead the sessions, encouraging discussion between all students. Sometimes students will give presentations, either individually or in groups.
There is a strong emphasis on independent learning and students are expected to work on their own to produce their essays and dissertation. Most modules are assessed by a diverse range of coursework (e.g., essays, critiques, reports, presentations), though some modules may also be assessed by seminar contributions and/or written exams. Students take three modules in each semester. The taught modules are completed by May, leaving the summer months for students to write their dissertation.
SPIRE is a thoroughly international school, and is particularly welcoming to international students, as well as providing plenty of opportunities for home students to broaden their horizons.
We have staff with educational backgrounds in a wide variety of countries, such as Sweden, Canada, Bulgaria, Italy, Austria, Romania, and Turkey, who present their research all around the world. Students have the opportunity to hear visiting lecturers from various different countries, arranged through our ERASMUS partnerships.
International students will join established international communities at Keele, and will find plenty of support mechanisms in place to help them make the transition to study in the UK.