MRes Sustainable Futures

Duration Full time 1 year
Part time 2 years
  • Geography
LocationCornwall (Penryn)
Start date September


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 abroad 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 forms part of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) South West Doctoral Training Centre (SWDTC) - a hub of world - class social science research. The MRes also forms the first part of a collaborative (MRes + MPhil/PhD) pathway, which includes further collaborative elements with all three institutions in the SWDTC.

“Exeter’s Penryn Campus has opportunities to study important topics such as sustainable development and sustainable futures whilst being situated by the beautiful Cornish coast. The level of depth and variety that we are introduced to is great, and it is nice being taught by lecturers who are some of the foremost researchers in their field.”

Andrew, MRes Sustainable Futures.

Programme structure

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

Learning and teaching

The programme will adopt a range of small group teaching methods alongside the encouragement of independent study. An innovative element of the programme will be to integrate inter-institutional teaching through the ‘Contemporary Debates in Sustainable Futures’ module using the University’s Access Grid facility. In addition, you will receive specific interdisciplinary research training via the ‘Interdisciplinary Research Design’ module that will provide you with a way of discussing the challenges of working across disciplines with staff and fellow students.

Specifically, you will be exposed to the following learning and teaching methods: seminars, lectures, tutorials, guest speaker presentations, role play, virtual learning and online interaction.

Assessment methods

A variety of assessment methods will be utilised including: presentations; reflective journals; essays; group work; role play; field work note books; technical exercises; report writing; and writing a research dissertation.


The University of Exeter has an excellent reputation with graduate recruiters and our students and graduates compete very successfully in the employment market. Whatever path you follow after graduating, we're here to help and support you with all your career and employability needs.

The MRes Sustainable Futures is designed to prepare you for a career as a professional researcher in either academic or non-academic environments. The programme sets the core training in inter-disciplinary 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 and energy.

Graduate destinations

Below are a few examples of initial jobs undertaken by graduates of our Geography postgraduate programmes. This information has been taken from the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) Survey 2016/17. Please note that, due to data protection, the job titles and organisations are listed independently and do not necessarily correspond.

Recent graduates are now working as:

  • Adviser
  • Analyst Consultant
  • Ecological Planning advisory intern
  • English teacher
  • Environmental Impact Assessment Consultant
  • GIS specialist
  • Graduate Research Assistant
  • Marine and Environmental Consultant
  • Research Assistant
  • Research Officer
  • Self-employed
  • Vulnerability Assessment Framework Coordinator

Recent graduates are now working for:

  • Asian Development Bank
  • BMT Isis
  • British Gas
  • Carbon Tree
  • City of London Corporation
  • Clicper Logistics
  • EDF Energy
  • E-on Energy
  • Fable Videographics
  • FX Plus
  • Hong Kong Outstanding Education
  • Intesa Sanpaolo Group Services
  • Joint Marine Environ Guard Limited
  • Legal and General
  • Met Office
  • Overbury and Morgan Lovell
  • Ovo Energy
  • Plowright Organic
  • Sense
  • SLR Consulting Ltd
  • Sustainable Restaurant Association
  • Taylor Woodrow
  • Teamwork Energy Bureau Services Ltd
  • Tetra Pak
  • The Energy and Resources Institute
  • TTP Consulting
  • Turkish Petroleum Company
  • University of Exeter
  • University of Southampton

Further study

Further study is a popular choice for a number of students following graduation from a University of Exeter    Geography Masters programme. Below are a few examples of further study undertaken by recent graduates of our Masters programmes. This information has been taken from the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) Survey 2016/17.

  • MPH Environment, Energy and Resilience
  • MPH Geography
  • MPhil Geography
  • PhD Physical Geography

Further information

Further information is available through the Careers pages of the University’s Postgraduate Study website.

Entry requirements

All applicants are considered individually on merit, although we usually require a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant discipline.

Requirements for international students

If you are an international student, please visit our international equivalency pages to enable you to see if your existing academic qualifications meet our entry requirements.

English language requirements

IELTS (Academic)

Overall score 6.5. No less than 6.0 in any section.


Overall score 90 with minimum scores of 21 for writing, 21 for listening, 22 for reading and 23 for speaking.

Pearson Test of English (Academic)

58 with no less than 55 in all communicative skills.

Other accepted tests

Information about other acceptable tests of linguistic ability can be found on our English language requirements page.

Pre-sessional English

Applicants with lower English language test scores may be able to take pre-sessional English at INTO University of Exeter prior to commencing their programme. See our English language requirements page for more information.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees per year 2020/21

  • UK/EU: £10,900 full-time; £5,450 part-time
  • International: £21,100 full-time

Fee information

Fees can normally be paid by two termly instalments and may be paid online. You will also be required to pay a tuition fee deposit to secure your offer of a place, unless you qualify for exemption. For further information about paying fees see our Student Fees pages.

UK government postgraduate loan scheme

Postgraduate loans of up to £10,609 are now available for Masters degrees. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.


Find out about funding opportunities available to students on our taught Masters programmes.

University funding

The Scholarships, Bursaries and Studentships website has information on all available options for funding open to prospective students of taught Masters programmes. You can also use the searchable database of all Scholarships and Bursaries to find funding for which you are eligible.

Global Excellence Scholarship

We are delighted to offer Global Excellence Scholarships for students of outstanding academic quality applying to postgraduate Taught programmes starting in autumn 2020.
Please note that this scholarship isn't offered for all our masters programmes.

Contact us

If you have any queries about this programme, please contact:

Web: Enquire online
Tel: +44 (0)1326 371801

The Programme Director is Dr Louisa Evans.

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