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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.

MSc Energy and Society

MSc Energy and Society

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Find out what its like to study MSc Energy and Society at Durham University

L6K807 Energy and Society MSc Postgraduate Taught  2017



Degree MSc
Mode of study Part Time + Full Time
Duration 1 year (full-time) 2 years (part-time)
Start Date 06-10-2017
Location Durham City
Department(s) Website
Telephone +44 (0)191 334 1621
Download Download as a PDF

Course Summary

Course Summary


The MSc in Energy and Society 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 and to a broad range of graduates with an interest in today’s energy issues. 

The full-time course consists of two terms of teaching, during which students are introduced to the range of research questions and methods, and a dissertation, involving the design, development and implementation of an independent research project. Students work closely with academic staff, and have the opportunity to become involved in active research projects.

The programme draws on leading experts in energy studies at Durham from Anthropology, Engineering, Geography and other departments. The two core taught modules are delivered via intensive block-teaching, and there is also a field study.

Compulsory modules

  • Dissertation
  • Context and Challenges in Energy and Society
  • Energy Society and Energy Practices
  • Field Study.

Previous optional modules have included:

  • Fieldwork and Interpretation 
  • Statistical Analysis in Anthropology
  • Computational Methods for Social Sciences *
  • Society, Energy, Environment and Resilience 
  • Academic and Professional Skills in Anthropology
  • Anthropology and Development
  • Key Issues in Sociocultural Theory
  • Low Carbon Technologies #
  • Energy Conversion and Delivery #
  • Electrical Engineering #
  • Thermodynamics and Fluid Mechanics #
  • European Institutions and the Policy Process
  • International Relations and Security in the Middle East
  • Human Rights
  • Strategic Asia and Policy Analysis
  • Religion, Nation and Citzenship in South East Asia

Modules marked with a * are not available in 2016/17

Modules marked with a # are advanced engineering modules and should normally only be taken by students with a good Engineering Degree or equivalent.

Please see for further information on modules.

Course Detail

Course Detail

To find out more about the modules available to students studying at Durham University in 2016 please click here.

Please note: Current modules are indicative. Information for future academic years may change, for example, due to developments in the relevant academic field, or in light of student feedback.

Learning and Teaching

Course Learning and Teaching

We place an emphasis on independent learning. This is supported by the University’s virtual learning environment, extensive library collections and informal contact with tutors and research staff. We consider the development of independent learning and research skills to be one of the key elements of our postgraduate taught curriculum and one which helps our students cultivate initiative, originality and critical thinking.

Students take required taught modules worth a total of 75 credits, and optional modules totaling 45 credits. On the full-time course they have on average 6 hours of formal teaching and learning contact per week, with two weeks of full-time teaching: one week for Context and Challenges in Energy and Society and one week for Energy, Society and Energy Practices. Outside timetabled contact hours, students are also expected to devote significant amounts of time to reading, discussing and preparing for classes, assignments and project work.

Following the May assessment period, students undertake their 60 credit dissertation. This crucial piece of work is a significant piece of independent research that constitutes a synthesis of theory, method and practice in anthropology and is supported by an individual supervisor and the dissertation coordinator.

Throughout the programme, all students meet regularly with the degree tutor, who provides academic support and guidance. Furthermore, all members of teaching staff have weekly office hours when they are available to meet with students on a ‘drop-in’ basis. In term time, the department also has an extensive programme of departmental and research group seminars which postgraduate students are encouraged and expected to attend. The undergraduate Anthropology Society also organises its own visiting lecturer programme. We ensure that we advertise any other relevant seminars and lectures in Durham, Newcastle and further afield, and encourage students to attend relevant conferences.

Before the academic year starts, we provide information on preparation for the course. On arrival we have induction sessions and social events, headed by the Director of Postgraduate Studies and attended by both academic and administrative staff. Students also attend an “Introduction to Research Groups in Anthropology”.


Admissions Process

Subject requirements, level and grade

A minimum 2:1 Honours degree from a UK institution (or the overseas equivalent) in a relevant subject. Please email us on for advice on relevant topics.

References play an important part in the admissions process.

English Language requirements

Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

How to apply

Fees and Funding

Fees and Funding

Full Time Fees

EU Student £7,400.00 per year
Home Student £7,400.00 per year
Island Student £7,400.00 per year
International non-EU Student £16,500.00 per year

Part Time Fees

EU Student £4,100.00 per year
Home Student £4,100.00 per year
Island Student £4,100.00 per year
International non-EU Student £9,100.00 per year

Note: Fees are subject to review and change in-line with inflation.

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and funding

Open Days and Visits

Open days and visits

Pre-application open day

Overseas Visit Schedule

Postgraduate Visits


  • 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)

Scholarship now available!

DONG Energy are offering one scholarship for an outstanding UK student who will be starting the course in October 2017. The scholarship will have a value of up to £6,000.

DONG Energy is one of the leading energy groups in northern Europe with almost 7000 employees. Headquartered in Denmark, their business is based on procuring, producing, distributing and trading in energy and related products in northern Europe. DONG Energy is one of the leading offshore wind farm developers in the world, with more than 20 years' experience in the wind power industry. The UK is one of DONG's primary markets for developing offshore wind and DONG invested £4 billion in UK renewables since 2004, helping develop the secure, low carbon energy supplies the UK needs.

This is a unique opportunity as these scholarships are only available to UK students who wish to study on the MSc Energy and Society at Durham University.

The deadline for DONG scholarship applications is 31st May 2017. By the deadline, you must have completed your Durham University MSc application and have sent a 400-500 word supporting statement of why you should be considered for a scholarship to Applicants will be notified of the outcome by 17th July 2017.