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Department of Anthropology

Energy and Society MSc

The MSc in Energy and Society, in association with the Durham Energy Institute, is an innovative postgraduate programme designed to appeal across the disciplines. It will be of interest to engineers seeking to understand how and why innovations succeed or fail, to social scientists who want to improve their understanding of energy developments as well as to graduates of any discipline with an interest in today’s energy issues.

The programme draws on leading experts in energy studies at Durham from Anthropology, Engineering, Geography, Physics, Economics, Humanities and other departments. It is taught through intensive block-teaching, group field-study, original dissertation research and a range of optional modules designed to complement the core teaching. The course aims to produce highly-skilled graduates with the ability to communicate across disciplines for the sake of global environmental progress. Graduates of the MSc will be in demand from industry, community organizations, Non-Governmental Organizations and governments around the world.

The course runs for a full year, from October to September. Students attend classes between October and December (Michaelmas Term) and January and March (Epiphany Term), with some assessment activities in April and May (Easter Term). From then on, students work under the supervision of a specialist supervisor, on an individual research dissertation which is completed in September. The MSc in Energy and Society has two core modules that are taught over one intensive week each, one in Michaelmas term and one in Epiphany term. These modules are supported by regular reading seminars throughout the term. Other modules are taught weekly or, occasionally, fortnightly.

Each module we offer has a credit value. To obtain a Master’s degree you must register for and pass modules to the value of 180 credits. The dissertation is a 60 credit module. We offer some 30 credit modules, most of which are taught from October to May, and some 15 credit modules, which are taught either in Michaelmas Term or in Epiphany Term (January to March).



  • The Durham Energy Institute (DEI) is usually able to offer internships for students to work on DEI energy projects. See DEI website for details. Other funding opportunities may arise.

You can apply for this course through the University's online application process. Find entry requirements for this programme here.


Dr Simone Abram is the Degree Tutor for the MSc Energy & Society:

'My research has been in three main areas: energy, anthropologies of planning and governance, and tourism. I am currently working on environmental research projects in Norway, and collaborate with urban researchers in Paris. 

As well as being Degree Tutor for the MSc in Energy and Society, I lead two core modules, on 'energy contexts and challenges' and 'energy society and practices'. These are taught in intensive week-long bursts, with guest speakers from around the university contributing talks and seminars on their expert subjects related to energy. Hearing so many complementary perspectives on energy issues is very stimulating, and developing debates about current energy issues with Masters students has been a very exciting process. Working in partnership with local government (in Durham and in Haringey) has been crucial to developing the masters and ensuring that it is relevant as well as interesting.'

Contact Simone at

"Access to secure and sustainable energy is becoming one of the defining issues of our time. It is crucial that all dimensions of the issue from both the technical and societal perspective are well understood and this Masters Programme seeks to provide a truly interdisciplinary perspective. A very welcome development."

Nafees Meah, Director of Research Councils UK (RCUK) India (former head of science at the Department of Energy and Climate Change)
MSc Energy and Society

MSc Energy and Society

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Durham University's exciting new MSc in Energy and Society