MRes Sustainable Futures

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Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law
Awards available MRes
Programme length One year full-time;
two years part-time
Location of programme Clifton campus
Part-time study available Yes
Part-time study requires daytime weekday attendance.
Open to international students Yes
Number of places Not fixed
Start date September 2017

Programme overview

This programme is one of five South West Doctoral Training Partnership interdisciplinary pathways that are delivered in partnership with the Universities of Bath and Exeter.

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. This 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.

Fees for 2017/18

Full-time fees


Part-time fees


Fees quoted are per annum and subject to annual increase.

Funding for 2017/18

The Faculty of Social Sciences and Law has an allocation of 1+3 and +3 ESRC scholarships for this interdisciplinary pathway.

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

Programme structure

Core units

  • Advanced Interdisciplinary Research Design
  • Contemporary Debates in Sustainable Futures
  • Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods in the Social Sciences
  • Introduction to Quantitative Research Methods in the Social Sciences

Optional units

These can be taken at either Bristol, Bath or Exeter. See below for an example of units offered at Bristol (nb not all units are available each academic year).

  • Climate Change: Science and Impacts
  • Climate Change and International Security
  • Conflict, Security and Development
  • Regulation of Financial Markets and Institutions
  • Environmental Law
  • Environmental Policy and Politics
  • Environmental Politics
  • The International Analysis of Poverty and Social Exclusion
  • Legal Perspectives on Sustainability
  • Migration Law and Policy - International, European and Human Rights Dimensions
  • Theories of Development

Please view our programme catalogue for further information on the course structure and units available.


Over the summer you will complete a research-based dissertation of up to 15,000 words, individually supervised by a tutor with relevant experience.

Entry requirements

An upper second-class honours degree in a relevant social sciences or law discipline (or international equivalent), and/or a Master's qualification. Previous or professional experience is not required.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

Application method Online application form
English language requirements Profile B
Further information about English language requirements
Admissions statement Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.


The MRes in Sustainable Futures offers useful preparation for a number of careers. Foremost, the MRes is the academic basis and preparation for students choosing the 1+3 programme (ie the first year is the MRes and the +3 the PhD).

The MRes emphasises ESRC-accredited research methods training, the ability to plan, research and write a sophisticated dissertation, and the ability to think in broad theoretical and interdisciplinary terms about challenging environmental issues. These provide an ideal introduction to academic research and to working for environmental ministries, agencies, consultancies and NGOs or other organisations working for environmental change. The skills of research and writing, which are central to the programme, are invaluable for work of this kind.

Another possibility is working within government agencies, again through the development of rigorous research training skills and the ability to engage in broader social and environmental understanding.

How to apply
Application deadline:

1 July 2017, although there is a February 2017 deadline for funding.

International students

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

I chose Bristol because of its outstanding academic reputation. It's reassuring to be taught by people who truly love their subject - their passion becomes contagious.


REF 2014 results

Please see full REF 2014 results for the University of Bristol.

Results are from the most recent UK-wide assessment of research quality, conducted by HEFCE. More about REF 2014 results.

Get in touch

Mrs Stephanie Dimberline Senior Postgraduate Admissions Administrator Phone: +44 (0) 117 954 5225 Email:

University of Bristol Law School
Wills Memorial Building
Queen's Road


Important disclaimer information about our programmes.

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