Taught course

Environmental Humanities

Durham University · Faculty of Arts and Humanities

Entry requirements

You will be expected to have an upper-second class degree, normally with an average of 65% or more, or the equivalent from a recognised national or international university.

Two positive academic or equivalent professional references are required.

Months of entry


Course content

The MA in Environmental Humanities explores how research in the study of the humanities disciplines can be applied to make a difference and boost the effectiveness of our response to the ever-growing global environmental crisis.

The course takes up elements from modules in departments including Anthropology, English Studies, Geography, History, Modern Languages and Cultures, Philosophy, and Theology and Religion to provide you with a firm grounding for either carrying out further research at a higher level or making a game-changing contribution to tackling environmental and climate issues.

The course is centred around two core modules. Environmental Humanities: Frameworks and Debates introduces the relevant methodological approaches and explores the innovative ways in which the arts and humanities are able to join or challenge scientific and technological responses. The second module, Climate and Energy: Intensive Study gives you an overview of current climate science and the social, political and economic aspects of energy usage.

You can structure the remainder of your course around your areas of interest. This includes an interdisciplinary dissertation and further modules chosen from topics as varied as environmental philosophy, approaches to environmental history, cross-cultural understandings of nature, and religious understandings of living in a time of crisis, as well as the opportunity to take a language module.

Our intention is to serve the societies in which we all live by producing thoughtful, critical and engaged citizens who will contribute positively in a rapidly changing and complex world. We will provide you with the tools for analysis, interpretation and expression, tools to discuss and compare models of human life and its flourishing, and tools for imagining the future.

Course structure

Core modules:

Environmental Humanities: Frameworks and Debates introduces current, cutting-edge and emergent topics and debates within interdisciplinary research in the environmental humanities. It also enables you to understand how the histories of environmental degradation and climate change are interlinked with inequalities around gender, race and class.

Climate and Energy – Intensive Study provides an overview of current issues in climate and energy, with the emphasis on energy and sustainability and an update on key energy technologies and infrastructures. It also enables you to consider the relationship between energy and society through time and explore the socio-politics of energy today from a variety of perspectives, including social, political, economic, and the use of energy in global geopolitics.

The Interdisciplinary Dissertation is carried out on a substantial topic in any discipline or disciplines represented in your programme of study. You will choose the topic under expert guidance, bringing together theories and concepts from modules across the course.

Examples of optional modules:

  • Environmental Posthumanities
  • The Four Horsemen: Pestilence, War, Famine and Death
  • The Nature of History: Approaches to Environmental History
  • Science, Technology and The Remaking of 'Nature'
  • Ecology, Colonialism/Imperialism and Literature
  • Environmental Philosophy
  • Theology, Nature and Environment
  • Social Dimensions of Risk and Resilience
  • Understanding Risk
  • Society, Energy, Environment and Resilience: Applied Environmental Anthropology
  • Advanced Studies in Anthropological Skills for Climate Change Survival
  • Advanced Studies in Development, Conflict, and Crisis in the Lower Omo Valley
  • Advanced Studies in Poison, Pollution, and the Chemical Anthropocene
  • Risk, Science and Communication
  • Risk Frontiers
  • Using Geographical Skills and Techniques
  • Global Environmental Law
  • Up to two relevant Level 3 modules (including language options from the Centre for Foreign Language Study)

Information for international students

If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for direct entry to this degree, you may be eligible to take a pre-Masters pathway programme at the Durham University International Study Centre.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

For further information see the course listing.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MA
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Recruitment and Admissions