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Postgraduate Study

Course closed:

Anthropocene Studies is no longer accepting new applications.


The course consists of lectures, seminars, methods training, a dissertation residential and a research dissertation. The dissertation residential consists of an intense few days of individual and group learning, focused on developing the dissertation proposal and oral presentations. A 15,000-word dissertation requires students to identify, design and independently execute a small, empirically-grounded research study related to the course. Students will be supervised through the process from initial question identification through to the design and execution of research.

One to one supervision

Students will have two half hour individual or small group supervisions during each of Michaelmas and Lent Terms and up to 4 hours of one-to-one supervision in Easter Term for their dissertation. 

Seminars & classes

In Michaelmas and Lent Term students will have between 6 and 8 hours of seminar classes per term, i.e., small group learning with a tutor present and encouraging peer-to-peer learning.


Students will receive between 4 and 6 hours of formal lectures per week during Michaelmas and Lent Term. These lectures include substantive subject material about the Anthropocene (e.g. key theories, concepts, case studies, debates, controversies) and also a core module on “Interdisciplinary Concepts”, which is shared with the MPhil in Holocene Climates. This module introduces students to key ideas about the production and politics of scientific knowledge, and about human-environment interactions and their relevance for society.


The Social Science Research Methods Programme (SSRMP) offers a range of training for postgraduate students, in quantitative and qualitative methods, software packages, and elements of social science research. Courses or modules may consist of a mixture of online or in-person lectures, workshops, or labs/practicals, depending on the method being taught. ​Subject to the course/module selections, students can expect to have between approximately 5 and 15 hours of teaching in each of Michaelmas and Lent Terms.  

Prior to the beginning of a term, students will complete an online skills check to determine the Basic Statistics Stream modules best suited to their prior statistical knowledge.  On arrival at Cambridge, students will agree upon the modules they intend to take during the academic year, in consultation with their MPhil Course Director or the Deputy Director. 

Posters and Presentations

Students will participate in an intense few days of individual and group learning in the dissertation residential, focused on developing their dissertation proposal and presenting it orally.


Students will receive written and oral feedback on two formative essays submitted during Michaelmas Term. They will receive written feedback on their examination answers, their assessed coursework essay and on their dissertation.  Students will deliver an oral presentation about their dissertation plans, and receive feedback on this. They will also be required to submit a dissertation proposal to be discussed with their dissertation supervisor. Students will also receive written termly progress reports.


Thesis / Dissertation

A 15,000-word dissertation. An oral examination of the dissertation will take place at the discretion of the examiners.


One essay of up to 4,000 words.

Written examination

One 2-hour written examination.

Practical assessment

Satisfactory completion of research methods courses.

Key Information

11 Months full-time

Study Mode : Taught

Master of Philosophy

Department of Geography

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Application - related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 4, 2023
Application deadline
Dec. 5, 2023
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2024

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Course Funding Deadline
Dec. 5, 2023
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 11, 2023

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2024, Lent 2025 and Easter 2025.

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