University of Oxford: Environmental Change and Management

InstitutionUniversity of Oxford
Department Geography and the Environment
Telephone 01865 270059
Study type Taught


**The information provided on this page was correct at the time of publication (November 2019). For complete and up-to-date information about this course, please visit the relevant University of Oxford course page via**

The MPhil in Environmental Change and Management aims to give you a broad appreciation of major processes of environmental change and of the people and institutions involved in environmental management. The course seeks to produce environmental leaders who are interdisciplinary and analytical in their approach to environmental issues, and competent and aware decision makers.

The MPhil is a two year course. The second year is devoted to researching and writing a thesis of up to 30,000 words (either as a single monograph or two academic papers). In the first year, you will take the coursework associated with the MSc in Environmental Change and Management. This course has three overarching aims, to:
- examine the nature, causes and impacts of major types of environmental change. How do these changes operate and interact on global, regional and local scales? How do they relate to critical social and ecological systems?

- examine the economic, legal, cultural, and ethical underpinnings of environmental responsibility and systemic solutions, including mitigation, adaptation, - remediation, enhanced resource stewardship and other sustainable responses to environmental change at different scales and within different organisational contexts; and

- empower environmental leaders to address the world’s most pressing environmental problems through an understanding of and training in the key analytical and practical skills, and in a broad appreciation of earth systems and societies in relation to environmental change.

These aims are pursued through an introductory course, Welcome to the Anthropocene, and seven core modules:
- The Earth System and its Fundamental Processes

- Global Change and the Biosphere

- Human Systems and Environmental Change

- Environmental Economics and Policy

- Energy Systems and Climate Mitigation

- Sustainable Responses to Environmental Change

- Governing the Anthropocene.

Teaching takes place through lectures, seminars, workshops and field courses which provide in-depth exploration of key issues. The elective modules offer a tutorial-style teaching and discussion environment within smaller groups, based on a suite of contemporary research themes that reflect the specific interests of core faculty, research staff,and visiting scholars. The teaching aim is to foster knowledge, critical thinking, discussion and debate in an integrated setting, and to identify and explore theory, methods and practice in an academic space that encourages collaboration and critical dialogue. In the second year you will work on your thesis project with the support of a specialist supervisor.

Fieldwork and external visits are an important part of the teaching programme and currently include coastal and marine environmental change sites, local woodlands, Lake District National Park, the Centre for Alternative Technology (renewable energy and sustainability technologies) and a visit to the European Parliament.

You must pass the examinations set at the end of the first year in order to proceed into the second year of the MPhil. In the first year there are also two assessed essays linked to elective courses.

The second year is devoted to researching and writing a thesis of up to 30,000 words. The research topic will be devised in your first year and, once approved, a supervisor will be allocated to you. The thesis accounts for half the marks for the degree. In addition, in the second year you will take a further elective course, assessed by a submitted essay.


Master of Philosophy - MPhil

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