Course: MRes Sustainability and Adaptation

Centre for Alternative Technology

Machynlleth, Powys, Wales
September 2024

Cost: Tuition Fees for 2024: Home students £9,350 / Overseas students: £12,000

Sectors: sustainability, carbon, climate & energy, environmental policy & campaigning

Masters in Research Sustainability and Adaptation

The course offers a holistic view of sustainability through its taught modules and allows students more time than a traditional Masters course to independently research and use the concepts of sustainability and adaptation transformation to frame an analysis of environmental and climate change policy and its implications for society in research through an extended research dissertation. Focus on researching the causes and urgency of climate change, the solutions we have already, and the actions needed. 

The programme aims to be a foundation for students wishing to move into further research roles or programmes in environmental science, and sustainability, and address the issues and solutions to the climate and biodiversity crisis.

Some of the topics you’ll study include:

  • Sustainability thinking and adaptation transformation planning
  • Research philosophy, approaches, and strategy
  • Analysis techniques and research design methods

Depending on your area of research you will be able to focus on one of the following topics through your optional taught module:

  • Acute resilience pathways for cities and communities
  • Environmental politics and social and economic systems
  • Sustainable design of buildings and environmentally responsive materials and resources
  • Transformational change to meet the climate emergency
  • Risk and vulnerability assessment and adaptive capacity
  • Land use and food security
  • Restoration ecology, environmental assessments and ecosystem services, including waste and water
  • Energy provision and energy flows in buildings

How is the course taught?

Our MRes programme is taught either by distance learning or through residential blocks in one of the most imaginative environmental buildings in the UK, or in a mixture of the two. 

What qualification will you receive?

Successful completion of the programme MRes Sustainability and Adaptation at the Centre for Alternative Technology leads to the award of Master of Science (MSc) by UEL. 

Modules include

  • Introduction to Sustainability and Adaptation
  • Sustainability and Adaptation Concepts in Practice 
  • Applied Research Design
  • MRes Dissertation Module
  • Introduction to Politics and Economics of the Environment
  • Energy Flows in Buildings
  • Cities and Communities
  • Energy Provision
  • Sustainable Materials in the Built Environment
  • Food Production and Consumption
  • Communicating Transformational Social Change
  • Restoration Ecology
  • International Zero CO2 Energy

Why study at CAT?

Studying at the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) is a truly unique experience. For nearly 50 years CAT has been at the forefront of the environmental movement, pioneering low-carbon living and renewable technology. At the Graduate School of the Environment (GSE), students benefit from our extensive practical and academic knowledge, graduating with the skills needed to become leading players in the sustainability sector. Find out more about our facilities here.

Hands-on learning

At CAT, hands-on learning takes place side by side with academic study and research. Residential on-site block learning weeks are taught at the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT), an inspiring learning environment. Nestled in a disused slate quarry on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park, CAT is a living laboratory for practical, sustainable solutions. It contains some of the most innovative and renowned environmentally conscious buildings in the country, as well as one of the most diverse range of installed renewable technologies, on site water and sewage treatment, sustainably managed woodland and acres of organic gardens.


Taught over two years full-time or three years part time, students will study taught modules over the first 12 months and then move onto a 120 credit extended research Dissertation module where you will learn how to lead and manage your own research project on a sustainability-related, discipline-relevant topic of your particular interest, and write an extended dissertation on the findings.

Our taught modules are taught in blocks taken either with an intensive residential stay of five or six nights at the centre, or completely by distance learning. Students are free to choose between these teaching modes for every module. There is a choice of modules, each 8 weeks long, taken over one year or two, followed by a dissertation. It is a masters degree designed to give you the best possible experience whilst also meshing neatly with the pressures of modern professional and family life.

Immersive learning environment

Optional residential module weeks include lectures, seminars, group work and practicals. Applied work tends to dominate later in the week once we have laid the theoretical groundwork. These module weeks provide a truly immersive environment to escape daily life and apply yourself to new learning. Many eminent experts give guest lectures or hold seminars during these modules, as it is a course which seeks to draw on the expertise and learning of the whole environmental sector.

Is this the course for you?

Interested in studying this course? Join us for our next open day or contact us.

This course is created and delivered by CAT and is validated by the University of East London. 

Find out more about the course on the CAT website by following the link below.

Find out more