Energy and Society MSc
About the Course
The MSc in Energy and Society, in association with the Durham Energy Institute, is an innovative postgraduate programme designed to appeal across the disciplines.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 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.
Who Should Apply?
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.
Programme Aims and Transferrable Skills
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.
"I feel equipped to go to the job market or to continue with further research as the skills acquired are highly sought after by employers, energy agencies and governments. The interdisciplinary nature of the course makes us graduates highly employable."
L6K807 Energy and Society MSc Postgraduate Taught 2019
The MSc in Energy and Society is an innovative postgraduate course looking at uses of energy in socio-technical perspectives. The course gives graduates a holistic understanding of energy issues, approaches to transition, technologies in practice, and the politics of energy developments. Graduates have pursued careers in the energy industry, in consultancy, in government and in community energy organisations. Using ideas from practice theory, notions of integrated energy systems, energy development and social science approach to energy, it draws together diverse disciplinary approaches and ensures that students can speak and read across disciplinary boundaries. It will be of interest to engineers seeking to understand how and why technologies 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.
Please see www.mscensocuk.wordpress.com for a student perspective on the course.
The full-time course consists of two terms of taught courses, including teaching from experts across the university and invited guest speakers, during which students are introduced to a broad range of energy issues, disciplinary approaches and analytic strategies. Students engage in ‘live projects’, and explore a range of research questions and methods in preparation for 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 course draws on leading experts in energy studies at Durham from Anthropology, Engineering, Geography, Earth Sciences and other departments. The two core taught modules are delivered via intensive block-teaching, and there is also a field study module for applied team-research.
Please see www.durham.ac.uk/anthropology/postgraduatestudy/taughtprogrammes/mscenergyandsociety for further information on current modules.
To find out more about the modules available to students studying at Durham University 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
The full-time course runs for a full year, from October to September. Full-time students attend classes between October and December (Michaelmas Term) and January and March (Epiphany), with further assessment in April and May (Easter Term), and then work under the supervision of a specialist supervisor to complete a dissertation by September.
The course is delivered through a mixture of interactive lectures, seminars, practical sessions and workshops, in addition to one-to-one dissertation supervision. Typically, lectures deliver key information on progressively more advanced themes and topics. Seminars provide an opportunity to reflect in more depth upon material delivered in lectures and gathered from independent study outside the course's formal contact hours. They give students an opportunity to engage with academic issues at the cutting-edge of research, in a learning environment focused on discussion and debate of current issues. Students also participate in a guided ‘field study’, which consists of an applied, ‘real world’ group project, where they combine experiential and theoretical learning. In 2018-19, students have an opportunity to apply for a special European ‘Erasmus+’ module, which integrates a short European co-creation camp at the culmination of the module.
Full-time students have on average 6-8 hours of formal teaching and learning contact per week, and are also expected to attend weekly departmental seminars and Durham Energy Institute research seminars and lectures, often given by prominent visiting speakers. Outside timetabled contact hours, students are expected to devote significant amounts of time to reading, discussing and preparing for classes, assignments and project work.
Throughout the course, all students meet regularly with the degree tutor, who provides academic support and guidance. Members of teaching staff have weekly office hours when they are available to meet with students on a ‘drop-in’ basis. Before the academic year starts, we provide information on preparation for the course. On arrival, we have induction sessions, including a field trip and social events, headed by the Director of Postgraduate Studies and the Degree Tutor for Energy and Society. Students also attend an “Introduction to Research Groups in Anthropology”.
Subject requirements, level and grade
A minimum 2:1 Honours degree from a UK institution (or the overseas equivalent) in any subject, or equivalent.
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||£8,500.00 per year|
|Home Student||£8,500.00 per year|
|Island Student||£8,500.00 per year|
|International non-EU Student||£18,300.00 per year|
Part Time Fees
|EU Student||£4,700.00 per year|
|Home Student||£4,700.00 per year|
|International non-EU Student||£10,100.00 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
- 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
The MSc is one of a kind in the UK. It is focused around debating energy issues through different disciplines, which truly reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the energy studies.
We are taught by leading academics in the field and benefit from the cutting edge research developed in the anthropology department and in the Durham Energy Institute. The way the course is organized gives students the opportunity to research and read about topics that are relevant to their interest.
Besides that, I feel equipped to go to the job market or to continue with further research as the skills acquired are highly sought after by employers, energy agencies and governments. The interdisciplinary nature of the course makes us graduates highly employable.
MSc Energy and Society (2013-2014)
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)