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Course content

This programme is one of five South West Doctoral Training Partnership interdisciplinary pathways that are delivered in partnership with the Universities of Bath and Exeter.

Sustainability research asks how human wellbeing can be maintained and enhanced for the long term, given rising populations, limited natural resources and a fragile environment. This field, with its clear applied focus and strong strategic future-directed policy implications, has social sciences at its heart. It also requires a broad interdisciplinary approach and an understanding of economics, law, politics and psychology of sustainability, as well as the geography and demographics of those affected.

Programme structure

Core units
-Advanced Interdisciplinary Research Design
-Contemporary Debates in Sustainable Futures
-Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods in the Social Sciences
-Introduction to Quantitative Research Methods in the Social Sciences

Optional units - These can be taken at either Bristol, Bath or Exeter. See below for an example of units offered at Bristol (nb not all units are available each academic year)
-Climate Change: Science and Impacts
-Climate Change and International Security
-Conflict, Security and Development
-Regulation of Financial Markets and Institutions
-Environmental Law
-Environmental Policy and Politics
-Environmental Politics
-The International Analysis of Poverty and Social Exclusion
-Legal Perspectives on Sustainability
-Migration Law and Policy - International, European and Human Rights Dimensions
-Theories of Development

Please view our programme catalogue (http://www.bris.ac.uk/unit-programme-catalogue/RouteStructureCohort.jsa?byCohort=Y&ayrCode=17%2F18&programmeCode=9LAWD003T) for further information on the course structure and units available.

Over the summer you will complete a research-based dissertation of up to 15,000 words, individually supervised by a tutor with relevant experience.


The MRes in Sustainable Futures offers useful preparation for a number of careers. Foremost, the MRes is the academic basis and preparation for students choosing the 1+3 programme (ie the first year is the MRes and the +3 the PhD).

The MRes emphasises ESRC-accredited research methods training, the ability to plan, research and write a sophisticated dissertation, and the ability to think in broad theoretical and interdisciplinary terms about challenging environmental issues. These provide an ideal introduction to academic research and to working for environmental ministries, agencies, consultancies and NGOs or other organisations working for environmental change. The skills of research and writing, which are central to the programme, are invaluable for work of this kind.

Another possibility is working within government agencies, again through the development of rigorous research training skills and the ability to engage in broader social and environmental understanding.

Visit the Sustainable Futures MRes page on the University of Bristol website for more details!





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