University of Oxford: Nature, Society and Environmental Governance

InstitutionUniversity of Oxford
Department Geography and the Environment
Web https://www.ox.ac.uk
Email graduate.admissions@admin.ox.ac.uk
Telephone 01865 270059
Study type Taught

Summary

**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 www.graduate.ox.ac.uk/ucas**

The rate and complexity of environmental change poses profound economic, social and political challenges for contemporary society. Developing ways to address these challenges demands intellectual rigour, innovation and flexibility, as well as the capacity to think across existing disciplinary boundaries.

The MPhil in Nature, Society and Environmental Governance is grounded in the conviction that responses to global challenges requires researchers and practitioners trained in the social sciences, with the ability to think flexibly across disciplinary and sectorial boundaries. It will enable you to develop a theoretically sophisticated and empirically grounded understanding of the dynamic relations between environment, society and policy.

This course intensively engages with ongoing theoretical debates in human geography, political geography, political ecology and science and technology studies. Students should expect to engage with theoretical material and deconstruct some of the basic assumptions underpinning terms like ‘society’, ‘governance’, ‘territory’, ‘politics’ and ‘nature’ in order to develop conceptual tools to understand contemporary global change. The focus on critical theory is complemented by modules covering foundational knowledge in economics of the environment, behavioural economics and environmental management in order to prepare you to think across traditional boundaries in the social sciences.

The course draws on the methods and approaches from across the social sciences, including fields such as human geography, anthropology, environmental economics, science and technology studies, and corporate environmental management. It also facilitates dialogue between researchers and practitioners concerning contemporary issues of environmental policy and politics.

The MPhil is a two-year course. In the first year, you will take the coursework and written examinations associated with the MSc in Nature, Society and Environmental Governance. The second year is devoted to researching and writing a thesis of 30,000 words.

There are nine core modules organised under three themes: policy and governance, theory and analysis, and research skills. Teaching takes place through lectures, seminars and workshops which provide in-depth exploration of key environmental issues. The elective modules offer a seminar-style teaching and discussion environment within smaller groups, based on a suite of contemporary research themes that reflect the specific interests of core faculty and visiting research associates.

The teaching aim is to foster discussion and debate between academic staff and students to identify and explore theory, methods and practice in an academic space that encourages a critical dialogue. In the second year you will work on your thesis project with the support of a specialist supervisor.

Field trips and external visits are an important component of the teaching delivery and include an induction field course in the UK and a three-day European field course.

At the end of the first year you take the written examinations associated with the MSc in Nature Society and Environmental Governance. You will also complete an additional policy brief assignment and two assessed essays linked to elective courses. You must pass the examinations taken at the end of the first year in order to proceed into the second year. In the first year there are two assessed essays linked to elective courses.

The second year consists largely of independent study and is devoted to researching and writing a thesis of 30,000 words. The research topic will be devised in your first year and, once approved; a supervisor will be allocated to you.

MSc

Master of Philosophy - MPhil

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