PDF version of History and Philosophy of Science MSc

Contact details

Dr Brendan Clarke

Email: sts-msc-admissions@ucl.ac.uk

Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 1328

Fees and funding

UK/EU 2013/14:

£8,250 (FT)

Overseas 2013/14:

£16,250 (FT)

UCL Science & Technology Studies offers up to four partial bursaries. All those admitted to the programme will automatically be considered for these awards.

For more advice please visit the STS MSc website

Full details of funding opportunities can be found on the UCL Scholarships website

More information

Key facts

Research Assessment Rating

STS: 65% History, 75% Philosophy rated 4* (world-leading) or 3* (internationally excellent)
(What is the RAE?)

The programme information on this page relates to 2013 entry. 2014 content to appear here shortly. 

History and Philosophy of Science MSc

Survey nearly 3,000 years of scientific ideas and communities. Probe the inner workings of science’s methods and theories. Combine the two for an integrated, interdisciplinary understanding. This programme offers breadth across a wide range of historical and philosophical themes. It also encourages intensive investigation and specialisation.

Degree summary

What will I learn?

The programme provides broad-based training in history of science, philosophy of science, and “integrated history and philosophy of science,” a speciality we helped to create. The historical coverage is broad, from antiquity to the present. The philosophical coverage is broad, too, from causality and the philosophy of medicine to the metaphysics of chemistry and computer science.

Why should I study this degree at UCL?

There is no UK academic department quite like UCL Science & Technology Studies. The department combines award-winning teaching with award-winning public engagement.

We are research active over an enormous range of topics. Our teaching builds on research not only in our subject specialties but also in the fundamentals of teaching and learning.

Our programme makes unique use of London’s attractions and resources. We have close links with the Science Museum, the National Maritime Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Wellcome Library, and UCL Museums & Collections. We also use the city as a classroom, with custom-made walking tours, site visits, and special excursions.

See subject website for more information:

Degree structure

Availability: Full-time 1 year; Part-time 2 years

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. The programme consists of one core module (20 credits), three optional modules (60 credits), two ancillary modules (40 credits), and a dissertation (60 credits).

A Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits) is available

A Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits) is offered.

Core Module

  • Introduction to Science and Technology Studies


  • Students must take three optional modules from a prescribed list:
  • Science in the 19th Century
  • Material Culture and Science in the 18th Century
  • Early Modern Science
  • Medieval Science and Medicine in Global Perspective
  • Science in Antiquity
  • Causality, Mechanism, and Classification in Science
  • Knowledge, Evidence, and Explanation in Science
  • Models and Facts in Science
  • Science, Art, and Philosophy
  • Special Topics Seminar in History and Philosophy of Science
  • One optional module from our sister MSc programme, Science, Technology, and Society,
  • may be substituted here provided it contributes to a coherent programme of study.
  • Ancillary Modules
  • Students must take two ancillary modules. These might be other options from
  • our own degrees, e.g. Science in the 20th Century and Beyond, and Curating the History
  • of Science or they might be selected from any other programme at UCL.


All MSc students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000–12,000 words.

Teaching and Learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of seminars, lectures, tutorials and research supervision. Students will undertake three modules in each of the first two terms. Each module normally requires attendance at one two-hour seminar per week during terms one and two. Student performance is assessed through coursework such as long and short essays, advocacy work, and project work.

Further details available on subject website:

Entry and application

Entry requirements

A minimum of a second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

For overseas equivalencies see the relevant country page.

How to apply

You may choose to apply online or download application materials; for details visit www.ucl.ac.uk/gradapps

The deadline for applications is 2 August 2013. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

Who can apply?

The programme is suitable for students with first degrees in a variety of subjects including natural sciences, social sciences, history, philosophy, other humanities, engineering and medicine. It can serve as a foundation for PhD research, or as preparation for a career in teaching, mass media, science and technology, policy, museums or scientific societies.


Our programme provides essential training for students wishing to pursue PhD-level study in related fields. It also provides appropriate training for those pursuing careers in education, museum and archival curatorship, or governance and policy-making.

Some of the careers our Master's graduates have followed include:

  • Doctoral Studies: Birkbeck College, Cambridge, Durham, Imperial College, Kent, King's College, Leeds, Queen Mary, Sussex, UCL; Princeton, Berkeley, Seoul National University; topics include history of science, technology, medicine, science policy, anthropology, etc.
  • Postdoctoral Research: Lancaster, UCL
  • Lecturer, Assistant Professor and tenure-track academic posts
  • Museum curatorial posts at the National Maritime Museum and the Science Museum
  • Political activism
  • Civil service
  • English Heritage
  • Royal Society Public Programmes Officer
  • Playwright and Director with broadcasts on BBC

Find out more about London graduates' careers by visiting the Careers Group (University of London) website:

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