The People and Environment MSc will provide students with a set of theoretical and practical understandings and analytic skills drawn from the practice of leading environmental anthropologists based in Aberdeen.
The skills that students acquire during the course will be of great relevance across a range of contexts outside of academia. In particular, there is a focus on environmental contestations in areas such as conservation, landscape and access, human-animal relations and indigenous rights. The course will also furnish students with a more complex and nuanced appreciation of environmental questions and issues that will be of great benefit to those who wish to continue with postgraduate study.
This programme provides students with an ecological and philosophical education that keeps the people in. As such it supplies a foundation for future research, either within academia or the wider world, that takes full account of the perceptual, political and social dimensions of environmental issues. The emphasis on coursework, elective components and individual work with supervisors allows for great flexibility and students will have ample opportunity to develop the skills they need and to follow their own interests.
A key aim is to develop an understanding of the human dimensions that are inherent in all environmental issues. Students are shown how to use anthropological approaches and theory to gain insights into these issues and to conduct qualitative, in-depth research that can address them. We encourage students to question assumptions about human-environment relations and to develop a grounded, yet philosophically complex appreciation of them.
The course will be of great interest to anthropology graduates but will also be particularly attractive to students who have studied other environmental disciplines in the biological and environmental sciences and geography and who wish to develop a social dimension to their thinking and approach. Students will be expected to be pro-active in their style of learning, and will be encouraged to bring their own interests, connections outside academia, and aspirations for the use of anthropology in understanding environmental questions and issues.
The programme will consist of 180 credit points comprising five taught courses three at 30 credits each and two at 15 credits, and a dissertation valued at 60 credits. Three courses and the writing of a 12,000 word Dissertation based on project work will be compulsory. These courses are as follows:
Understanding People and Environment (30 credits): This course provides a grounding in core areas of ecological and environmental anthropology, and also introduces certain distinctive areas of interest at Aberdeen, namely perception, human-animal relations and conservation.
Reading Environmental Ethnography (15 credits): This course is based on reading contemporary environmental ethnography and provides a grounded focus to the themes and questions raised in the first semester and a more specific ethnographic approach to the dissertation preparation seminar.
Dissertation Preparation Seminar (15 credit points): This course provides a range of skills integral to researching and writing an MSc level dissertation.
Dissertation in People and Environment (60 credits): Students have the opportunity to produce a substantial piece of research, which draws on the knowledge and skills they have gained throughout the programme. Research can be archival, library-based or include short-term fieldwork.
The additional 60 credits will be made up from two courses chosen from a wide range of optional MSc level courses. These courses are offered both within anthropology and in other disciplines, such as geography. Students can choose appropriate options in consultation with their supervisor.
Entry to this degree programme is normally restricted to those with a good 2:1 degree or higher but other relevant experience will be considered.
All admissions are handled by the University's Student Recruitment & Admissions Service via the online prospectus.
Dr. Andrew Whitehouse (Programme Director - People and Environment)
Department of Anthropology, School of Social Science
Tel. +44 (0) 1224 272950
School of Social Science
Tel.: +44 (0) 1224 272762