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Who should apply, and why

Who should apply?

Given its very strong focus on research skills development, the MSc in Nature, Society and Environmental Governance serves as an ideal entry point for further advanced study, including at doctoral level, either at Oxford or elsewhere. However, an academic background in the environmental social sciences is not compulsory; candidates with a first degree in a range of academic backgrounds are accepted, including:

  • Human and Social Geography
  • Environmental Geography
  • Politics and International Relations
  • Sociology
  • Anthropology
  • Economics
  • Environmental and Natural Sciences
  • Law
  • Humanities disciplines

The course is likely to prove particularly rewarding for applicants with a desire to engage substantively with academic literatures addressing different conceptual approaches to nature-society relations, environmental politics, and environmental governance, and who wish to develop qualitative research skills appropriate for a future career in the environmental social sciences.

A major feature of the course is the bespoke nature of the teaching provided; core lectures are all specifically tailored to this Masters, with only a small minority of classes being shared with students from other programmes. The course therefore provides for the development of a strong sense of a shared cohort identity and experience, which persists throughout the academic year.

Outside of the classroom, fieldwork occupies a central role in the course teaching philosophy, which enables students to develop practical research skills and competence with methods and practices appropriate to the environmental social sciences. Several field trips take place during the MSc. Meanwhile, the dissertation (thesis) component of the course, which accounts for 30% of the overall assessment for the MSc, also requires students to undertake independent fieldwork oriented towards a carefully formulated, original research question of relevance to one or more of the core course themes.

How to apply

For more information on making an application, please see the University's admissions website:

You should also consult the University's Application Guide for information on entry requirements and selection criteria.