Programme Specification for the 2019/0 academic year

MRes Sustainable Futures

1. Programme Details

Programme nameMRes Sustainable Futures Programme codePTR1GOAGOAC2
Study mode(s)Full Time
Part Time
Academic year2019/0
Campus(es)Cornwall Campus
NQF Level of the Final Award7 (Masters)

2. Description of the Programme

The MRes Sustainable Futures is an interdisciplinary pathway offered through the South West Doctoral Training Partnership (SWDTP) that is directly linked with the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) research challenge / theme of environment energy and resilience. The MRes Sustainable Futures seeks to produce a new generation of researchers who can address the pressing social issues of sustainability in the face of a growing global population. Sustainability research asks how human wellbeing can be maintained and enhanced for the long term given rising populations, limited natural resources and a fragile environment. The field, with its clear applied focus and strong strategic future-directed policy implications, has social sciences at its heart. It also requires a broad interdisciplinary approach, and an understanding of economics, law, politics and psychology of sustainability, as well as the geography and demographics of those affected. We therefore deliberately expose you to a broad range of material, in order to appreciate and understand interconnected perspectives, and to provide you with skills to work effectively across disciplines.

The programme aims to prepare you for a career as a professional researcher in either academic or non-academic environments. The core training in interdisciplinary social scientific philosophy, epistemology, methodology and analysis is set within a contemporary context, allowing you to apply the wider concepts and skills introduced in the broader social scientific setting to specific topics of enquiry in sustainable futures. You will be encouraged to review and critically evaluate approaches to research and their application, and also identify, evaluate and investigate your own research questions.

The MRes Sustainable Futures programme is accredited by the ESRC as part of the ESRC-funded SWDTP, a partnership of the Universities of Exeter, Bristol, Bath, and UWE. The programme builds on the research strengths of each institution through the inclusion of collaborative units (delivered jointly by the three institutions). As well as a stand-alone degree, students can also apply to do a funded interlinked 1+3 (MRes + MPhil/PhD) programme, whereby the MRes leads into a three year PhD programme, with a supervision programme which is integrated between all three institutions

3. Educational Aims of the Programme

The MRes Sustainable Futures is designed to develop a broad based and relevant knowledge of research approaches and methods as an interdisciplinary way of understanding the environment, energy and the social responses to these issues. The programme aims to provide you with a range of transferable skills appropriate to Masters level research within this interdisciplinary theme. The programme aims to equip you for careers as professional researchers in either academic or non-academic environments. The programme sets the core training in interdisciplinary social scientific philosophy, epistemology, methodology and analysis within a contemporary context, allowing you to apply the wider concepts and skills introduced in the broader social scientific setting to specific topics of inquiry in environment, energy and the social settings which frame this debate. You can take modules outside of the disciplines.

In summary the programme aims to:

  • To develop in you a thorough understanding of the academic and intellectual debates in energy policy, environmental policy, ecological economics, energy transitions, sustainability and climate change.
  • To provide you with an in-depth knowledge of key theoretical and conceptual ideas relevant to the study of energy policy, environmental policy, ecological economics, energy transitions, sustainability and climate change.
  • To develop in you an awareness of the interconnections and theoretical, historical and empirical links between the energy consumption, carbon emissions and the climate change effect.
  • To provide you with a vibrant learning environment that combines traditional forms of delivery with more student-centred learning and the use of IT-based technologies.
  • To develop your skills and ability to conduct independent research, including the selection of methodology, theoretical concepts, collection, analysis and presentation of data.
  • To develop in you expertise in different disciplinary and transdisciplinary understandings of the relationships between environment, energy and social responses   
  • To give you the opportunity to engage with relevant professionals outside the discipline of Geography including expert guest speakers in academia, industry, government, NGOs and research institutes.

4. Programme Structure

This MRes represents one of the interdisciplinary pathways in the ESRC-funded SWDTP. The SWDTP is a partnership between the Universities of Bristol, Exeter, Bath, and UWE and has been accredited to offer a hub of world-class social sciences research.

Teaching will be delivered on the Penryn campus with the exception of two inter-institutional modules that will be co-delivered with the Universities of Bath, Bristol and UWE, and the main Exeter Campus as part of the ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership requirements. Contemporary Debates in Sustainable Futures provides a systemic picture on contemporary issues and debates around sustainable futures. By taking this module, you will engage with a series of virtual seminars, delivered both live and archival through access grid to Bath, Bristol, UWE and Exeter. Students taking Interdisciplinary Research Design are introduced to the epistemological issues underlying interdisciplinary social science methodologies and will attend four workshop days hosted by Bath, Bristol and Exeter. Further details of all of the SWDTP collaborative activities are available in the SWDTP Programme handbook.

5. Programme Modules

The following tables describe the programme and constituent modules. Constituent modules may be updated, deleted or replaced as a consequence of the annual programme review of this programme.

www.exeter.ac.uk/geography/currentstudents/postgraduate/modules/cornwallcampus/

You may take optional modules as long as any necessary prerequisites have been satisfied, where the timetable allows and if you have not already taken the module in question or an equivalent module. You may also take optional modules from Bath and Bristol (timetabling and pre-requisites permitting). Due to the different credit rating of modules offered by Bath and Bristol Universities you may take up to a maximum of 190 credits.

You may take up to 30 credits of elective modules outside of the programme as long as you have obtained the explicit permission of the Programme Director, any necessary prerequisites have been satisfied, where the timetable allows and you have not already taken the module in question or an equivalent module.

Stage 1


135 credits compulsory modules, 45 credits of optional modules.

Compulsory Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
SSIM903 Advanced Interdisciplinary Research Design 15Yes
GEOM022 Dissertation in Sustainable Futures 60Yes
GEOM023 Contemporary Debates in Sustainable Futures 15Yes
GEOM408 Transdisciplinary Methods for Sustainability Science 15No
LESM501 Literature Review in Life and Environmental Sciences 30No

Optional Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
GeoP MRes SF opt 2019-0
BIOM4025 Statistical Modelling 15 No
GEOM247 Transforming Energy Systems 15 No
GEOM363B Themes in Climate Change 15 No
GEOM403 Independent Work-based Learning 15 No
GEOM404 Policy and Governance for Sustainability 15 No
GEOM407 Perspectives on Sustainable Development 15 No
HPDM029 Nature, Health and Wellbeing 15 No

6. Programme Outcomes Linked to Teaching, Learning and Assessment Methods

Intended Learning Outcomes
A: Specialised Subject Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

1. Examine and evaluate the theoretical debates and concepts relevant to sustainable futures.
2. Describe in detail how these debates currently frame the scope and the direction of research on past, present and future impacts of climate change, resource depletion and their impacts on sustainable futures.
3. Design and undertake research at an advanced level into issues relating to sustainable futures.
4. Apply appropriate research methodologies to undertake the study of sustainable futures.
5. Apply competently a range of analytical research skills and methodologies related to the study of sustainable futures.
6. Describe in detail academic research on a range of specialist selected issues and illustrate the interconnectivity between different elements of the sustainable futures.

Lectures, seminars, discussion groups, oral presentations, poster presentations, practical research skills, independent reading and synthesis.

ILOs 1-6: All modules assess subject-specific skills and knowledge using reports, written exams, presentations, debates and independent research project design and implementation.

ILOs 1-2, 6: Non-dissertation modules assess subject skills using policy brief, short articles, website reviews, essay, concept maps, student-led seminars and/or presentations.

ILOs 3-5: Key skills module trains students towards research skills using mini research methods project.

Intended Learning Outcomes
B: Academic Discipline Core Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

7. Apply conceptual and theoretical arguments in the discussion of issues relating to sustainable futures.
8. Synthesise material from a broad range of relevant areas in addressing specific questions about the processes and implications of climate change and human activities.
9. Identify and apply appropriate methodologies in the context of research on energy system and its impacts on the society.
10. Undertake research in a rigorous and ethically sound manner (when considering human subjects).
11. Demonstrate a self-reflexive approach to learning.

Lectures, seminars, discussion groups, oral presentations, poster presentations, practical research skills, independent reading and synthesis.

ILOs 7-11: Dissertation and key skills modules assess discipline core skills in independent and group research tasks.

ILOs 7-8: Non-dissertation modules assess knowledge and synthesis of discipline using essays, group presentations, policy briefs and/or peer critique and discussion.

ILOs 9-10: Key skills module assesses ability to understand risk assessment, ethical considerations and modern procedures for primary research in the discipline.

ILO 10: Assessed explicitly through the 60-credit Dissertation module.

ILO 11: Several modules assess work and progress using self-reflective diaries.

Intended Learning Outcomes
C: Personal/Transferable/Employment Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

12. Write and communicate orally subject-based knowledge and academic and research skills effectively.
13. Identify and solve problems.
14. Organise and present effectively material and ideas in different formats.
15. Manage deadlines and targets.
16. Work and learn independently.
17. Work effectively in a group.

Lectures, seminars, discussion groups, oral presentations, poster presentations, practical research skills, independent reading and synthesis.

ILOs 12-16: Assessments in all modules designed to promote transferable skills, e.g. report writing, presentations, focus groups, posters.

ILO 17: Most modules include assessment of group work, including group presentations, in-class debate, student-led seminars. Explicitly assessed during mini research methods project in key skills module.

7. Programme Regulations

Programme-specific Award Rules

Under the SWDTP agreement, in order to accommodate differences in module size offered by the Universities of UWE, Bristol and Bath, you are allowed to take up to 190 credits.

Classification

Full details of assessment regulations for all taught programmes can be found in the TQA Manual, specifically in the Credit and Qualifications Framework, and the Assessment, Progression and Awarding: Taught Programmes Handbook. Additional information, including Generic Marking Criteria, can be found in the Learning and Teaching Support Handbook.

8. College Support for Students and Students' Learning

You will be located in the Geography Department (Penryn campus), where close working relationships are fostered. You can expect reasonable access to all teaching staff through appointments and will in addition receive formative feedback from various discussion groups/in-lecture exercises throughout the delivery of each module and therefore receive essentially continuous feedback during the taught component of the programme. Project supervisors provide academic and tutorial support once you move on to the research component of the programme. In addition, the Programme Director will offer every student a meeting each term with an academic who provides guidance and feedback on assessment performance. Your progress will be monitored and you can receive up-to-date records of the assessment, achievements and progress at any stage.

9. University Support for Students and Students' Learning

Please refer to the University Academic Policy and Standards guidelines regarding support for students and students’ learning.

10. Admissions Criteria

Undergraduate applicants must satisfy the Undergraduate Admissions Policy of the University of Exeter.

Postgraduate applicants must satisfy the Postgraduate Admissions Policy of the University of Exeter.

Specific requirements required to enrol on this programme are available at the respective Undergraduate or Postgraduate Study Site webpages.

11. Regulation of Assessment and Academic Standards

Each academic programme in the University is subject to an agreed College assessment and marking strategy, underpinned by institution-wide assessment procedures.

The security of assessment and academic standards is further supported through the appointment of External Examiners for each programme. External Examiners have access to draft papers, course work and examination scripts. They are required to attend the Board of Examiners and to provide an annual report. Annual External Examiner reports are monitored at both College and University level. Their responsibilities are described in the University's code of practice. See the University's TQA Manual for details.

(http://as.exeter.ac.uk/support/admin/staff/qualityassuranceandmonitoring/tqamanual/fullcontents/)

12. Indicators of Quality and Standards

The programme is not subject to accreditation and/ or review by professional and statutory regulatory bodies (PSRBs).

13. Methods for Evaluating and Improving Quality and Standards

The University and its constituent Colleges review the quality and standard of teaching and learning in all taught programmes against a range of criteria through the procedures outlined in the Teaching Quality Assurance (TQA) Manual Quality Review Framework.

14. Awarding Institution

University of Exeter

15. Lead College / Teaching Institution

College of Life and Environmental Sciences (CLES)

16. Partner College / Institution

Partner College(s)

Not applicable to this programme

Partner Institution

University of Bristol, University of Bath, University of the West of England

17. Programme Accredited / Validated by

0

18. Final Award

MRes Sustainable Futures

19. UCAS Code

Not applicable to this programme.

20. NQF Level of Final Award

7 (Masters)

21. Credit

CATS credits ECTS credits

22. QAA Subject Benchmarking Group

23. Dates

Origin Date

13/10/2016

Date of last revision

01/04/2019