Undergraduate prospectus

  • Start date: September 2019

Science and Society BSc

This degree explores science in its varied and complex forms and we train you to study science and scientists as part of modern society. We combine science policy, ethics, and governance, science communication, and sociology of modern science and technology. UCL is unique in the UK in offering this BSc.

Key Information

Programme starts

September 2019
UCAS code
Full-time: 3 years
Application deadline
15 January 2019
London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

A Levels

No specific subjects.
(contextual offer)
BBB (more about contextual offers)
(contextual offer)
No specific subjects.
English Language and Mathematics at grade C or 5. For UK-based students, a grade C or 5 or equivalent in a foreign language (other than Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew or Latin) is required. UCL provides opportunities to meet the foreign language requirement following enrolment, further details at: www.ucl.ac.uk/ug-reqs

IB Diploma

A score of 17 points in three higher level subjects, with no score lower than 5.
(contextual offer)
A score of 15 points in three higher level subjects, with no score lower than 5.

UK applicants qualifications

Equivalent qualification

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (QCF) or BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma (RQF - teaching from 2016) with Distinction, Distinction, Distinction.

Pass in Access to HE Diploma with a minimum of 18 credits awarded with Distinction in the Level 3 units, the remainder of the credits in the Level 3 units awarded with Merit.

D3,D3,M1 in three Cambridge Pre-U Principal Subjects.

AAB at Advanced Highers (or AA at Advanced Higher and BBB at Higher).

Successful completion of the WBQ Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate plus 2 GCE A-Levels at grades AAB.

International applications

In addition to A level and International Baccalaureate, UCL considers a wide range of international qualifications for entry to its undergraduate degree programmes.

Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates

The Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates (UPCs) are intensive one-year foundation courses for international students of high academic potential who are aiming to gain access to undergraduate degree programmes at UCL and other top UK universities.

Typical UPC students will be high achievers in a 12-year school system which does not meet the standard required for direct entry to UCL.

For more information see: www.ucl.ac.uk/upc.

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency. Information about the evidence required, acceptable qualifications and test providers can be found on our English language requirements page.

The English language level for this programme is: Good

A variety of English language programmes are offered at the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education.

Degree benefits

  • Modules in science policy and governance are local and global in scope. They engage with ethics, historical decision-making processes, governance of emerging technologies, and future directions in science, medicine, and technology.

  • Modules in science communication focus on the complex interactions between scientists and the public. We consider the methods of science journalism, including radio and television and online environments.

  • Practical modules in public engagement and evaluation build hands-on skills with communication and conversation. You will also develop the skills of evaluating the effectiveness of science communication: what works and what doesn't?

  • Modules in sociology of modern science and technology engage with classic sociological theory and practical field methods to study science as a human activity, shaped by modern society.

Degree structure

In each year of your degree you will take a number of individual modules, normally valued at 15 or 30 credits, adding up to a total of 120 credits for the year. Modules are assessed in the academic year in which they are taken. The balance of compulsory and optional modules varies from programme to programme and year to year. A 30-credit module is considered equivalent to 15 credits in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).

This programme aims to produce graduates ready to talk about science and interpret its influences in modern society without committing to a life at the laboratory bench. Science involves many more people than scientists themselves, and this degree seeks to build policymakers, communicators, and other observers who can contribute informed views to ongoing debates about science’s direction and impact. This might involve contributing to debates on science funding or ethics; weighing the value of different social priorities; or consulting on the impact of new technologies and new discoveries.


An indicative guide to the structure of this programme, year by year.

Core or compulsory module(s)

Science Communication and Public Engagement 
History of Modern Science
History of Science: Antiquity to Enlightenment
Investigating History and Philosophy of Science
Investigating Science and Society
Philosophy of Science I
Revealing Science
Science Policy

Optional modules

There are no optional modules in year one.

Core or compulsory module(s)

There are no compulsory modules in year two.

Optional modules

Students select options from a wide range of modules offered by the department and more widely across UCL, including:

Engaging the Public with Science
Evolution in Science and Culture
Philosophy of Science II
Policy Issues in the Life Sciences
Science and Empire
Science and Ethics
Science and Religion
Science in Popular Culture
Sociology of Science and Technology
Thinking about Technology 
Applied Medicine and Society

Our intermediate- year optional modules vary from year to year to reflect current practice and the latest academic research. Students may also select options from a wide range of optional and elective modules offered by the department and throughout UCL.

Core or compulsory module(s)


Optional modules

Advanced Philosophy of Medicine
Communication of Scientific Ideas
Disease in History
Governing Emerging Technologies
History of Astronomy and Cosmology
History of Medicine
Medical Ethics
Nature, Technology and the Environment
Philosophy of Information
Philosophy of Natural Science
Science and Film Production
Science in the Age of Newton
Science, Art and Philosophy
Science, Politics, and the State in Russia and the Soviet Union
Sleep and Dreaming
Globalisation in Theory and Practice
Science Communication in Digital Environments
Philosophy of Natural Sciences
Zoos in Science and Culture

Our final-year optional modules vary from year to year to reflect current practice and the latest academic research. Students may also select options from a wide range of optional and elective modules offered by the department and throughout UCL.

Your learning

The department has a reputation for excellence in the classroom. Tutors have won local and international teaching awards and we consistently rank highly in student evaluations, obtaining 100% student satisfaction for the STS degrees from the National Student Survey in 2016, 2014, and 2013. Our teaching methods adapt to specific needs of students. Many modules include small-group discussions and active participation. The student-to-tutor ratio is approximately 4:1.


Coursework ranges from short position pieces to significant research papers. In addition to essays, we sometimes assess using posters, blogs, and multimedia projects. Practical work includes mock parliamentary reports, radio programmes, presentations, and web projects. Group work sometimes is used, as are unseen examinations.

Further Information

Detailed course descriptions are available on the department website: Science and Society BSc.


The programme is designed to enable you to gain understanding of the discipline, and to develop intellectual, practical and transferable skills, such as critical thinking; retrieving, researching and analysing material, time and project management and working effectively both independently and as part of a team.

In this scientific and technological world, this programme provides an excellent foundation for many careers, especially those at the interface of professional science and the wider culture transnationally.

Our graduates go on to develop successful careers in the areas of science policy, think tanks, charities, science communication, journalism, education, museums, finance and law. Many also go on to pursue further study.


First destinations of recent graduates (2013-2015) of this programme include:

  • Civil Servant, Home Office
  • Non-Managed Deposit Liaison, Savills

Data taken from the 'Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education' survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2014-2016 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

UCL is commited to helping you get the best start after graduation. Read more about how UCL Careers and UCL Innovation and Enterprise can help you find employment or learn about entrepreneurship.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

The fees indicated are for undergraduate entry in the 2018/19 academic year. The UK/EU fees shown are for the first year of the programme at UCL only. Fees for future years may be subject to an inflationary increase. The Overseas fees shown are the fees that will be charged to 2018/19 entrants for each year of study on the programme, unless otherwise indicated below.

UK/EU students
£9,250 (2018/19)
Overseas students
£22,790 (2018/19)

Overseas fees for the 2019/20 academic year are expected to be available in July 2018. Undergraduate UK/EU fees are capped by the UK Government and are expected to be available in October 2018. Full details of UCL's tuition fees, tuition fee policy and potential increases to fees can be found on the UCL Students website.


Various funding options are available, including student loans, scholarships and bursaries. UK students whose household income falls below a certain level may also be eligible for a non-repayable bursary or for certain scholarships. Please see the Fees and funding pages for more details.

Departmental scholarships

The scholarships listed below are for 2017 entry. Funding opportunities for students applying for 2018 entry will be published when they are available.

The Scholarships and Funding website lists scholarships and funding schemes available to UCL students. These may be open to all students, or restricted to specific nationalities, regions or academic department.

Application and next steps

Your application

Your application will be assessed on your prior and predicted academic achievement, and we will be seeking evidence of your interest in historical and contemporary issues in science and technology. You should also be able to demonstrate your ability to construct a reasoned argument and to participate in debate.

How to apply

Application for admission should be made through UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). Applicants currently at school or college will be provided with advice on the process; however, applicants who have left school or who are based outside the United Kingdom may obtain information directly from UCAS.

Application deadline: 15 January 2019


After assessing your application, we invite applicants in the UK to visit the department for an open day. This includes introductory talks from staff and tours given by current students. The afternoon meetings with academic staff provide an opportunity to discuss your personal interests and aspirations in relation to your chosen degree.

If you live outside the UK, you are not expected to travel for an interview, but will be contacted by telephone or email or Skype to discuss your application and your interests - you are, of course, welcome to visit us if this is possible for you.

For further information on UCL's selection process see: Selection of students.