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Online course

Shale Gas and Fracking: the Politics and Science

Hear from all sides of the fracking debate with this free online course. Understand what shale gas is and why it divides opinion.

Free:

  • Access to the course for its length + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps)
  • Access to quizzes and assignments
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps)
  • Access to quizzes and assignments
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Shale Gas and Fracking: the Politics and Science

Why join the course?

Shale gas is seen by many as a cheap, clean and plentiful source of energy; a low-carbon ‘game changer’ helping us meet the world’s rapidly growing demands for energy and offering greater energy security. Its rapid rise has not been without controversy, however. Earth tremors, surface and groundwater contamination, and the effects of fracking on human and animal health are all high profile concerns.

During this four-week course, we’ll study the politics, economics, and science of shale gas. We’ll examine how shale gas was formed, and how we extract it through hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’. We will look at the impact of shale gas on energy markets and energy security.

We then move on to the environmental politics of shale. What are the local effects in terms of water contamination, seismic activity, and air pollution? What are the global effects? Does shale gas offer a ‘bridge’ to a low-carbon future, or would we be walking the plank?

Finally we look at the question of what the public thinks, an area where the University of Nottingham has particular expertise, having run a public opinion survey on shale gas since 2012. Why are the US and UK experiences so different? What do the public think of allowing unconventional gas to be developed?

At the end of the course you will have improved you understanding of the costs and benefits of shale gas, and you will have made your contribution to the public debate on this important topic.

Keep up to date with announcements and discussions by following the course on Twitter @ShaleGas_MOOC. Or find out more in Wil Knight’s post for the FutureLearn blog: “Shale gas: understanding the politics and science.”

Download video: standard or HD

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for those with an interest in climate change, energy, politics, geology or science. No prior knowledge of fracking or shale gas is required.

Who will you learn with?

Sarah O'Hara

Sarah is a Professor of Geography and is currently the co-research lead on the UoN surveys of public perceptions of Shale Gas.

Mathew Humphrey

I am Professor of Political Theory at the University of Nottingham and a Co-Director of the Centre for the Study of Political Ideologies.

Who developed the course?

The University of Nottingham is committed to providing a truly international education, inspiring students with world-leading research and benefitting communities all around the world.

Buy a personalised, digital and printed certificate

You can buy a Statement of Participation for this course — a personalised certificate in both digital and printed formats, to celebrate taking part.

£34.00 + shipping

Estimate prices in preferred currency

Charges to your account will be made in GBP. Prices in local currency are provided as a convenience and are only an estimate based on current exchange rates.