MSc Society, Politics and Climate Change

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New programme for 2022

Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law
Awards available MSc , MSc, PG Certificate (Postgraduate Certificate), PG Diploma (Postgraduate Diploma)
Programme length One year full-time.
Location of programme Clifton campus
Part-time study available No, full-time only
Start date October 2022

Programme overview

What are the social and political dimensions of climate change? How does climate change impact on local, state and international levels? How do we understand the actions of communities and international organizations in response to a changing planet?  

This programme investigates the complex social and political impacts of a changing climate, and examines the ways in which we can respond to crisis. While you will be made familiar with current technical arguments about the nature of the climate crisis, the focus is on its social and political dimensions. You will explore cutting edge approaches within the social sciences to understand framings of and responses to the climate crisis. You will engage with themes including: climate crisis and political economy; the effects of climate change on international relations; sustainability and development; resilience; and disasters, green transitions, and the origin and potential of green social movements to foster social and political change.

This programme is intended for those who aspire to a professional career in addressing climate change in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors. Critical skills are embedded throughout the programme to ensure that you have the requisite capacities to become a leader in addressing social and political problems arising from our changing planet, and to help shape a more sustainable future.

You will have the possibility of working on a dissertation research project for a public or private sector partner, gaining crucial experience to further your career aspirations.

Fees for 2022/23

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2022/23 are as follows:

UK: full-time
Overseas: full-time

Following the recent changes to fee assessment regulation, Channel Islands and Isle of Man students will no longer be charged a separate tuition fee. From the 2021/22 academic year they will be charged the same fees as Home students.

Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to a five per cent increase in fees each year. Find out more about tuition fees.

Alumni discount

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a 25% reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni discount.

Funding for 2022/23

Further information on funding for prospective UK, EU and international postgraduate students.

Programme structure

There are five mandatory taught units:

POLIM2041 - Society, Politics and Climate Change (20 credits);

POLIM0004 - Climate Change and International Security(20 credits);

POLIM0038 - Vulnerabilities, Capacities and Disasters(20 credits);

SOCIM0028 - Understanding Social Movements(20 credits);

and, either SOCIM0013 - Introduction to Quantitative Research Methods (20 credits), or SOCIM0011 - Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods (20 credits).

Students will also choose one optional unit (20 credits) offered by the School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies (SPAIS). A recommended list will be provided. This may include:

  • Gender and Development (POIM2032)
  • Global Justice (POLIM0005)
  • Global Civil Society (POLIM0022)
  • The Politics of (Un)sustainability (POLIM0028)
  • Consumption, Environment and Sustainable Development (SOCIM0034)
  • Conflict, Security and Development (POLIM1007)
  • Inside Science (SOCIM0024)
  • Additional Research Methods Unit (if students wish to apply for the ESRC +3 award)

In addition, students will undertake a dissertation - SPCC Applied Research Project (60 credits), with the possibility of working on a project defined by a public or private sector stakeholder.

Visit our programme catalogue for full details of the structure and unit content for the programme.

Entry requirements

An upper second-class honours degree (or international equiavelent). Degrees from all disciplines are considered.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you need to meet this profile level:
Profile C
Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.

Admissions statement

Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

Admissions statement


This programme will equip you to become a leader in the public, private and the not-for-profit sectors in preparing for, and responding to, climate change.  As such you will be ideally placed to take advantage of the growing employment market related to responding to the climate emergency.

Career skills are built into the entire programme, and opportunities will be provided to develop communication skills, working independently and part of a group, and research capacities.  Our programme has been developed with the input of stakeholders to ensure that we are providing the academic and technical training desired by employers.

Expected application closure date

Applications for 2022 have now closed and will reopen for 2023 entry in October 2022.

Request more information

Find out more about studying with us or request a prospectus.

Get in touch

Contact details

Enquiries Team Phone: +44 (0) 117 394 1649 Email:

Senior Postgraduate Admissions Administrator Phone: +44 (0) 117 331 7577 Email:

School website: Sociology, Politics and International Studies

International students

Find out more about becoming a student at Bristol, applying for a visa and the support we offer to international students.

REF 2021 results

The University of Bristol is ranked fifth for research in the UK (Times Higher Education), with 94% of our research assessed as world-leading or internationally excellent.

Full REF 2021 results for the University of Bristol.


Important disclaimer information about our programmes.

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