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Department of Geography


MPhil in Holocene Climates

An 11-month MPhil examining and explaining the histories of climate variation.

Launched in October 2020 the new MPhil in Holocene Climates explores and studies the material records of climate variation.

Climate occupies an uncomfortable place in historical enquiry. When studying the recent millennia, rich in documentary and archaeological sources, most historians and archaeologists have been reluctant to consider climatic change as a factor for understanding political, economic, social and cultural transformation. Much of the scholarship addressing these complex relationships continues to be constrained by the disciplinary limits of individuals.

The MPhil in Holocene Climates seeks to establish expertise at the interface of climate and history in a new way, beginning with the premise that exchange and dialogue across disciplinary and epistemological divides must become habitual practice. Through its focus on the generation, interpretation and integration of evidence, this program will move beyond reductionist explanations to address critical questions: How and why has climate varied during the Holocene? How have such changes and subsequent environmental factors interacted with ecological and societal processes and systems?

The programme will enhance careers both inside and outside the academy, in both public and private sectors, in national and international organisations, and in developed and developing world contexts. It is designed to accommodate students with a wide range of first-degree backgrounds and is open to international, EU and UK students.