Introduction

MSc People and Environment is an anthropology programme that explores human-environment relations and environmental issues.

Key Facts

Duration
1 Year / 2 Years
Study Mode
Full Time or Part Time
Start Month
September
Learning Mode
On Campus Learning

Interested in this Degree?

Call +44 (0)1224 272762 Email socscipg@abdn.ac.uk Enquire Using an online form Next Steps Find out how to apply

Overview

The programme draws on the expertise of leading anthropologists to explore a wide range of human-environment relations and contemporary environmental issues. The programme fosters an understanding of how humans interact with their environment and how it becomes meaningful in different ways to different people, with a focus on areas such as conservation, landscape, relations with animals and plants and indigenous rights. There is a strong emphasis on how these different perceptions and meanings influence the political, economic and ecological dimensions of environmental issues, from conflicts over predators to debates over water management. In addition to building an informed understanding of the issues, the programme also encourages students to examine and question underlying assumptions about the possible causes and solutions to environmental problems, how people relate to other beings that share our environment and the contribution that social sciences can make to understanding environmental relations.


The programme is designed for students who seek to deepen their understanding of human-environment relations, who wish to develop vocational skills in the environmental field, or aim to carry out postgraduate research. The programme will be of interest to you if you are an anthropology graduate but will also be attractive if you have studied biology, ecology, environmental sciences or geography and wish to develop a social science dimension to your thinking and approach.

What You'll Study

The information below applies to the 1 year full time / 2 year part time on campus learning MSc programme which runs in September.

Semester 1

Compulsory Courses

Understanding People and Environment (extended) (AT5035)

This is a course in environmental anthropology, which explores theoretical ideas and major research areas in the field. It is an excellent option for students taking an MRes in anthropology who have an interest in environmental themes. It is also a great choice for students from other disciplines whose work is concerned with human-environment relations.

Semester 2

Compulsory Courses

Reading Environmental Ethnography (AT5509)

This is a reading course with fortnightly meetings for students with an interest in how anthropologists write about environmental themes.

Field Trips for People and Environment (AT5535)

Six half-day or full-day field trips in northeast Scotland. Possible sites that we will visit include Bennachie, RSPB Loch of Strathbeg, Forvie NNR, Crathes Castle, Doonies Farm, Cairngorms National Park and Tyrebagger Forest. Sites will be selected to explore a range of themes that are taught on other courses within the programme, such as conservation, landscape perception, environmental art and human-animal relations. If possible, staff from organisations will be available to guide the students and to answer their questions.

Optional Courses

Up to four courses from the following:

Roads: Mobility, Movement, Migration (AT5542)

The course explores concepts related to notions of movement and mobility, topical themes in contemporary anthropology. Students will be introduced to the following themes: roads, automobility, car cultures, migration, road narratives, and roads in film and literature. The course will rely on ethnographic material from the North, including Scotland. Students will conduct original research on the theme of road. Course assessments include an essay and short submissions on topical issues related to roads and mobility. This course offers five documentary film screenings.

Roads: Mobility, Movement, Migration (extended) (AT5539)

The course explores concepts related to notions of movement and mobility, topical themes in contemporary anthropology. Students will be introduced to the following themes: roads, automobility, car cultures, migration, road narratives, and roads in film and literature. The course will rely on ethnographic material from the North, including Scotland. Students will conduct original research on the theme of road. Course assessments include an essay and short submissions on topical issues related to roads and mobility. This course offers five documentary film screenings.

Anthropological Theory for MSc (short Version) (AT5040)

Lectures on current issues in anthropological and the main theoretical approaches in contemporary anthropology. Lectures address the concepts and themes of: culture, society, embodiment, biomedicine, technology, ontology, power, subjectivity.

Anthropological Theory for MSc (AT5027)

This course explores theoretical issues and key debates in contemporary anthropology. We begin with the questioning of the central concepts of culture and society in anthropology during the 1980s. Following this, we ask: how can anthropology proceed if the targets of its investigation can no longer be understood as objective entities? How can anthropology proceed if the anthropologist themselves is inevitably implicated in and part of those very targets? To look for possible answers, the course examines current anthropological interest in power and history, political economy and phenomenology, experience, embodiment and practice, ontology and things that speak.

The Museum Idea (AT5026)

‘The Museum Idea’ course introduces Museum Studies, focusing on the history and philosophy of museums and collecting, relating this to contemporary museum practice. It is a taught by a team of academic staff in disciplines such as Anthropology, Archaeology, Education and History of Art, and the professional staff of the University’s museums. Many class meetings will be held in the University’s museums, including display areas, conservation laboratory and reserve collections and reserve collections, with a field trip to museums in another city in Scotland.

More Than Human (AT5036)

The course is focussed on relations between humans and nonhumans, particularly animals and plants. A range of disciplinary approaches are explored, including history, cultural geography, natural science and science and technology studies, as well as anthropology.

More Than Human (extended) (AT5037)

This course explores new directions in how we think about humans and other species. Recent years have seen an upsurge in interest in how the social sciences and humanities deal with animals, plants and other organisms and we scrutinise these cutting edge ideas in depth. A lot of emphasis is placed on trying to think through real life encounters and issues, from a walk in the park to new revelations about life from the bottom of the ocean. Although the focus is on anthropological work, the course should appeal to students from a wide range of backgrounds.

Supervised Reading i (AT5029)

The course comprises a programme of readings that will be devised in advance through consultation between student and supervisor, in light of the student’s intended research interests. The student will write a 3000 word essay on the readings.

Supervised Reading II (AT5529)

The course comprises a programme of readings that will be devised in advance through consultation between student and supervisor, in light of the student’s intended research interests. The student will write a 3000 word essay on the readings.

Curating an Exhibition (AT5508)

The ‘Curating an Exhibition’ course leads to the creation and opening of the summer exhibition in King’s Museum. Working together as a team, each student also takes on a specific role, including research, writing, design, installation, events management and marketing, working closely with the relevant members of museum staff. The course makes extensive use of the University’s internationally-important museum collections and gives students an opportunity to reflect on an important aspect of museum practice.

Work Placement for MSc in People and Environment (AT5513)

This course is an opportunity for students studying for the MSc People and Environment to gain valuable work experience by doing a project-based placement with an environmental organisation.

Research Design and Practice in Anthropology (AT5532)

This course will introduce students to a range of conceptual and philosophical issues that are relevant to research design in anthropology, and will enable them to write their own research proposal. Taking its lead from critiques of knowledge production in anthropology, it will describe how the contemporary discipline has been shaped by the interplay of objectivity and subjectivity, the representation of the anthropologist and their informants, and new forms of ethical practice. Students will be enabled to respond to these trends by designing research in ways that are both theoretically informed and politically aware.

Culture and Society in Latin America (AT5533)

Culture and Society in Latin America focuses on topical issues emerging from that geographical region. The exact topics covered vary from year to year, and recent presentations have included sessions on indigenous movements and identity politics; the Amazon region and its contribution to anthropological scholarship; mestizaje and hybridity; Latin American perspectives on gender; and museums and display in Latin America. It is an interdisciplinary course taught jointly by staff from anthropology and Hispanic studies and is available to taught postgraduate students in anthropology and from other disciplines (on approval of the course coordinator).

Semester 3

Compulsory Courses

Dissertation in People and Environment (AT5902)

The Dissertation for the MSc People and Environment is a substantial piece of independent research and writing within the field of environmental anthropology. The topic is agreed with the programme coordinator, and it is generally completed during the summer months.

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

Learning Methods

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Research
  • Individual Projects

Assessment

Assessment: by in course assessment through the presentation of project and written material, as prescribed for each course and by submission of a dissertation. The degree of MSc will not be awarded to a candidate who fails to achieve CGS grade of D3 or above in the dissertation, irrespective of their marks in other courses.

Why Study People and The Environment?

  • The programme includes a detailed grounding in anthropological theory and approaches to human-environment relations.
  • Includes the option of a vocational work placement with an environmental organisation.
  • Other options include cutting edge courses in more-than-human approaches in anthropology and the anthropology of the circumpolar north.
  • The programme includes a field trip course that explores real life examples of environmental work and issues.
  • The MSc People and Environment provides an opportunity to conduct anthropological field research in human-environment relations as part of the dissertation and to receive training in anthropological methods and research design.

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

Fee information
Fee category Status Amount
Home / EU / RUK Students Tuition Fee for 2017/18 Academic Year £6,000
International Students Tuition Fee for 2017/18 Academic Year £14,300
  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Funding

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Study Anthropology Centred Environmental Issues

The recent designation of the Anthropocene, a new epoch in which humans are the major Earth-shaping force, places social sciences such as anthropology at the heart of environmental issues.

Entry Requirements

Applicants for admission will normally be expected to hold a relevant Honours degree with at least 2:1 standard from a recognised university or body. In exceptional circumstances applicants without this qualification may be admitted subject to having an alternative qualification, or an approved level of work experience, appropriate to the field of study.

Qualifications

References are not required in order for applicants to submit an application. They are not usually required in order for a decision to be made but in certain cases applicants may be asked to provide a single academic reference at the request of the academic selector.

Language Requirements

All students entering the University must provide evidence that they can use English well enough to study effectively at the University of Aberdeen.

Details of our English language entry requirements can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages. This programme requires that you meet the College of Arts and Social Sciences Postgraduate Standard level of English proficiency.

If you have not achieved the required scores, the University of Aberdeen offers pre-sessional English courses. Further details are available on our Language Centre website.

Nationals of some English-speaking countries or those who hold degrees from some English-speaking countries may be exempted from this requirement. Details of countries recognised as English-speaking can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages.

Facilities

We are a medium-sized department which allows us to be small enough to sustain an intimate and friendly atmosphere. The Department currently supports two large research projects that will be of interest to students studying the MSc People and Environment: Arctic Domus and Knowing from the Inside.

Careers

The MSc People and Environment provides opportunities to develop vocational skills and gain valuable experience in environmental work. We have strong links in fields such as nature conservation, applied research and forestry. More general career options open to students graduating in anthropology can be found on the Careers in Anthropology website.

The American Anthropological Association provides some useful advice for you to discover career paths in their 'Anthropology for Businesses' presentation. They describe the kinds of skills anthropologists bring to a range of occupations.

Our Experts

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Contact

Address
School of Social Science
University of Aberdeen
Edward Wright Building
Dunbar Street
Aberdeen

AB24 3QY
Email
Phone
+44 (0)1224 272762
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