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Climate Change Studies (MA)

Course Description


Climate change is as much a political issue as a scientific one, and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Those able to understand and address the social, ethical and political challenges it poses will be highly valuable citizens and employees.

This MA draws on both natural and social sciences to set these challenges in context. Core modules cover international agreements, national regulation and policymaking, NGO campaigns, and grassroots activism. Formal and informal responses to climate change are examined from economic, business, scientific, governmental, and civil society perspectives. Students develop an in-depth understanding of the complex relationships between climate politics and related areas of concern such as peak oil, resource depletion, biodiversity, gender, food sovereignty, and environmental security.

The course is hosted in the School of Politics, International Relations and the Environment (SPIRE) and primarily taught by members of the Centre for Environmental Action and Thought (CREATe), the UK’s pre-eminent cluster of environmental politics specialists. Additional expert input is drawn from other academic departments and from experts outside the University.

Keele’s large campus is undergoing a major redevelopment programme with sustainability at its heart. As a student on the MA in Climate Change Studies you will be able to see these exciting developments at first hand.

See the website https://www.keele.ac.uk/pgtcourses/climatechangestudies/

Course Aims

The aims of the course are to enable students to: Think, talk, and write about climate change, and the ways in which it is represented, in a systematic, critical and well-informed way. Understand, evaluate and apply a range of theories about the political consequences of climate change, and appreciate the theory and empirical reality of responses to climate change in their social and political contexts. Develop the ability to conduct and report on their own research using appropriate techniques of scholarship in the social sciences. These research skills are essential for the dissertation, but also give a good grounding for future academic or professional work.

Course Content

Completion of the MA requires 180 credits, obtained through four 30-credit modules and a 60-credit dissertation of 15,000 words. This degree is part of the overarching pathway structure for postgraduate environment degrees at Keele. Students will be eligible to undertake environment-related modules from both SPIRE and the School of Physical and Geographical Sciences.

SPIRE Modules include:
- Dimensions of Environmental Politics (Core)
- Environmental Diplomacy
- EU and the Global Commons
- Green Political Theory
- Environmental Decision-making in the UK
- US Environmental Politics and Policy
- Environmental Movements North and South

15,000-word dissertation on any aspect of climate change politics, to be agreed with supervisory staff. Students may be able to undertake relevant fieldwork to research the work of an organisation working in the field of climate change.

Teaching & Assessment

Each module is assessed by a coursework essay plus a range of skills-training exercises. Students demonstrating an outstanding level of work will receive their degree with distinction.

Additional Costs

Apart from purchasing textbooks and other sundry material, no significant additional costs are compulsory for this course.


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 Columbia, 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 (see the ‘International Applicants’ button above).

Find information on Scholarships here - http://www.keele.ac.uk/studentfunding/bursariesscholarships/

Visit the Climate Change Studies (MA) page on the Keele University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

In order to apply you must have a first degree (UK second-class honours degree or equivalent or above). Where English is not a first language, proof of English language competence will be required (IELTS 6.0 or equivalent, with a minimum of 6 in each sub-test).

Course Fees

UK/EU: Full-time £5,000, Part-time £2,750; International: £13,260

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