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Course content

Environmental Anthropology is an interdisciplinary study into how societies are influenced by the environment and how they manage natural resources and hazards.

This programme offers you the opportunity to acquire advanced knowledge of how different societies are influenced by the environment and manage natural resources and hazards, in relation to issues in human ecology, biodiversity management, sustainable development, environmental change and the practical applications of such knowledge.

As a graduate of this programme, you will have a range of both practical and evaluative skills, and experience of conducting empirical or other applied research. This allows you to pursue work as a researcher and will inform whatever position you take up in the future. Your expertise will be welcome in a range of organisations including national or international environmental bodies, governmental departments and nongovernmental organisations.

Students have the opportunity to study for an MA or an MSc with students who opt for the MSc being offered the opportunity to take conservation modules taught by researchers from the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE).

Visit the website https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/188/environmental-anthropology

Why study with us?

- One-year Master's programme

- Innovative teaching methods which provide practical, hands-on learning

- Good range of module choices including conservation modules supported by DICE for those taking the MSc version

- Field trip opportunities including to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the Eden Project, the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale, the Bird of Prey Centre at Leeds Castle and the Powell-Cotton Museum

- Specialist facilities including an Ethnobiology Laboratory which houses the Powell-Cotton collection of plant-based material culture from Southeast Asia

- Links with the Centre for Biocultural Diversity as well as global partners including the Institute of Ecology in Bandung, the Centre for International Forestry Research in Indonesia and the Global Diversity Foundation

- Research-led teaching by an institution specialising in postgraduate training

We follow an experiential and interactive learning method. We continue to look for innovative ways to present lectures, run seminars and workshops, write exams, design assignments, supervise students and evaluate essays and theses, to ensure that students develop practical expertise as well as an understanding of the methods used by environmental anthropologists.

Generally, you take assessed modules in Environmental Anthropology, Ethnobiological Knowledge Systems, Contemporary Issues in Ethnography, social anthropology, and Research Methods. These modules involve a combination of lectures, seminar discussions and practical laboratories. Additionally, you may opt to attend modules taught in DICE (the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology) on conservation biology, nature and tourism and the international wildlife trade.

There are also informal workshop series in practical methods in conservation social science (jointly held with DICE), cultural domain analysis, research design, and computer applications, as well as field trips.

Throughout your Master's, you spend time thinking about and preparing for your dissertation project, which is the culmination of the programme. If you are looking to study overseas you can apply for funding from outside bodies as well as for support from the School. You prepare proposals, practice methods, arrange for permits and letters of consent, and, if necessary take language classes to prepare for around eight weeks of research between April and 1 July. You then write a 15,000 word dissertation that goes beyond a simple research report to argue a theoretical point and discuss research findings in much wider contexts. Increasingly, our students are going on to publish edited versions of their projects and are making substantive contributions to the research, development or conservation projects they work with.

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

- to provide you with a broad range of knowledge in environmental anthropology, a major sub-division of anthropology, showing how it is closely linked to other academic disciplines

- to provide you with advanced level knowledge of the theoretical, methodological and policy issues relevant to understanding the subdiscipline

- introduce you to a variety of different approaches to environmental anthropology research, presented in a multidisciplinary context and at an advanced level

- facilitate your educational experience through the provision of appropriate pedagogical opportunities for learning

- provide an appropriate training if you are preparing MPhil/PhD theses, or if you are going on to employment involving the use of research methods and results in environmental anthropology

- make you aware of the range of existing material available and equip you to evaluate its utility for your research

- cover the principles of research design and strategy, including formulating research questions or hypotheses and translating them into practicable research designs.

- introduce you to the philosophical, theoretical and ethical issues surrounding research and to debates about the relationship between theory and research, about problems of evidence and inference, and about the limits to objectivity.

- develop your skills in searching for and retrieving information, using library and internet resources in a multidisciplinary and cross-national context.

- introduce you to the idea of working with other academic and non-academic agencies, when appropriate, and give you the skills to carry out collaborative research.

- develop your skills in writing, in the preparation of a research proposal, in the analysis and presentation of research results and in verbal communication

- help you to prepare your research results for wider dissemination, in the form of seminar papers, conference presentations, reports and publications, in a form suitable for a range of different audiences, including academics, policymakers, professionals, service users and the general public.

- give you an appreciation of the potentialities and problems of environmental anthropological research in local, regional, national and international settings

- ensure that the research of the Department’s staff informs the design of modules, and their content and delivery in ways that can achieve the national benchmarks of the subject in a manner which is efficient and reliable, and enjoyable to students.

Careers

As a School recognised for its excellence in research we are one of the partners in the South East Doctoral Training Centre, which is recognised by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). This relationship ensures that successful completion of our courses is sufficient preparation for research in the various fields of social anthropology. Many of our students go on to do PhD research. Others use their Master’s qualification in employment ranging from research in government departments to teaching to consultancy work overseas.

The School has a very good record for postgraduate employment and academic continuation. Studying anthropology, you develop an understanding of the complexity of all actions, beliefs and discourse by acquiring strong methodological and analytical skills. Anthropologists are increasingly being hired by companies and organisations that recognise the value of employing people who understand the complexities of societies and organisations.

Many of our alumni teach in academic positions in universities across the world, while others work for a wide range of organisations. Examples of positions held by our alumni include:

- Project director for the Global Diversity Foundation
- Curator at Beirut Botanic Gardens.

Find out how to apply here - https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/apply/

Visit the MA/MSc Environmental Anthropology page on the University of Kent website for more details!

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