Students preparing for their graduation ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral

Environmental Social Science - MSc, PhD

2019

The Environmental Social Science programmes are interdepartmental and benefit from expertise found across the Faculty of Social Sciences.

2019

Overview

Social science perspectives are crucial to understanding and solving environmental problems. Human behaviour produces many elements of the ‘natural’ environment, from landscapes to floods and famines. Local and national policies and international agreements regulate the environmental practices of corporations, governments and households. The social sciences have a great deal to contribute to understanding what have become defined as environmental issues, and what measures can most effectively tackle them.

The multidisciplinary Environmental Social Science programmes draw on the contributions of Anthropology, Conservation and Ecology, Law, Social Policy and Sociology. In each of these disciplines, Kent is very active in research. The programmes therefore build upon a strong base.

Think Kent video series

Drawing on her 2012 book ‘The Cosmopolitanization of Science’, Dr Joy Zhang, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Kent, uses China’s experience in stem cell research as an example to demonstrate how actors from the Global South can assume a more contributory role in steering global scientific norms.

National ratings

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, research by the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research was ranked 2nd for research power in the UK. The School was also placed 3rd for research intensity, 5th for research impact and 5th for research quality.

An impressive 94% of our research-active staff submitted to the REF and 99% of our research was judged to be of international quality. The School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of world-leading research, gaining the highest possible score of 100%.

Careers

Building on Kent’s success as the region’s leading institution for student employability, we place considerable emphasis on you gaining specialist knowledge in your chosen subject alongside core transferable skills. We ensure that you develop the skills and competences that employers are looking for including: research and analysis; policy development and interpretation; independent thought; writing and presentation as well as time management and leadership skills. You also become fully involved in the professional research culture of the School. A postgraduate degree in the area of Environmental Social Science is a particularly flexible and valuable qualification that can lead to many exciting opportunities and professions.

Recent graduates have gone on to pursue careers in environmental law, community projects, research, education, advocacy and social policy at both local and central government levels.

Study support

Research programmes involve writing a thesis on a particular topic with specialist supervision. You are given research training, which is tailored to the particular needs of your research and takes into account any training you have previously received. You also have opportunities to attend modules on relevant subjects on a non-assessed basis to fill any gaps in your background.

We offer research supervision across a broad range of topics. We are especially interested in applications that include proposals to investigate the social dimensions of environmental issues in the countries in which we have area expertise, and topics in environmental politics and environmental movements.

Postgraduate resources

Our postgraduate students have access to dedicated office space within the Department and are able to take advantage of excellent library and computing facilities. Where appropriate, research students are encouraged to expand their experience by teaching part-time in the School.

Dynamic publishing culture

Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Among others, they have recently contributed to: Environmental Politics; Global Environmental Change; Human Organization; Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute; and Sociology of Health and Illness.

Researcher Development Programme

Kent's Graduate School co-ordinates the Researcher Development Programme for research students, which includes workshops focused on research, specialist and transferable skills. The programme is mapped to the national Researcher Development Framework and covers a diverse range of topics, including subject-specific research skills, research management, personal effectiveness, communication skills, networking and teamworking, and career management skills.

Entry requirements

A good honours degree in a relevant subject or equivalent vocational experience.

All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, professional qualifications and experience will also be taken into account when considering applications. 

International students

Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information for your country.  Please note that international fee-paying students cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.

English language entry requirements

The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.

For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages. 

Need help with English?

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.

Research areas

We offer research supervision across a broad range of topics. We are especially interested in applications that include proposals to investigate the social dimensions of environmental issues in the countries in which we have area expertise, and topics in environmental politics and environmental movements.

Staff research interests

Kent’s world-class academics provide research students with excellent supervision. The academic staff in this school and their research interests are shown below. You are strongly encouraged to contact the school to discuss your proposed research and potential supervision prior to making an application. Please note, it is possible for students to be supervised by a member of academic staff from any of Kent’s schools, providing their expertise matches your research interests. Use our ‘find a supervisor’ search to search by staff member or keyword.

Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.

Professor Adam Burgess: Professor of Risk Research

Communications; mass media; risk.

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Professor William Howarth: Professor of Environmental Law

Environmental law; conservation of aquatic environment and ecosystems.

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Dr Jeremy Kendall: Senior Lecturer in Social Policy

NGOs, charities, voluntary organisations and civil society.

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Dr Rajindra K Puri: Senior Lecturer in Environmental Anthropology

Historical ecology; knowledge transmission; adaptation to climate change; wildlife trade; protected areas; South-east Asia; Borneo.

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Professor Christopher Rootes: Professor of Environmental Politics and Political Sociology

Environmental politics; protest, social and political movements; environmental citizenship; politics of climate change. 

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Dr Joy Zhang: Senior Lecturer in Sociology

Sociology of science, medicine, the environment and globalisation, especially in China.

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Fees

The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for Home/EU PG Research programmes have not yet been set by the Research Councils UK.  This is ordinarily announced in March. 

General additional costs

Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent. 

Funding

Search our scholarships finder for possible funding opportunities. You may find it helpful to look at both: