UCL-IoE merger

UCL and the Institute of Education merged on December 2, 2014. Learn about the study options available to you.


Admissions Tutor

Dr Carole Reeves

Email: c.reeves@ucl.ac.uk

Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 3160

Key Facts

Research Assessment Exercise

75% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)
(What is the RAE?)

History and Philosophy of Science BSc

UCAS code: V550

This BSc, unique in the UK, investigates the history and philosophy of science around the globe, from Antiquity to the present. We explore the ways science has been used to understand and make sense of the world. The goal is to investigate science’s many methods, fundamental concepts, logic and ethics, as well as its role in the modern world.

Entry requirements

A Levels

Grades AAB-ABB
Subjects No specific subjects.
AS Levels For UK-based students a pass in a further subject at AS level or equivalent is required.
GCSEs English Language and Mathematics at grade C. For UK-based students, a grade C 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

Points 34-36
Subjects A score of 16-17 points in three higher level subjects, with no score lower than 5.

Other qualifications

For entry requirements with other UK qualifications accepted by UCL, choose your qualification from the list below:

Selected entry requirements will appear here

International applicants

International qualifications

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

Select country above, equivalent grades appear here.

Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates

UCL offers intensive one-year foundation courses to prepare international students for a variety of degree programmes at UCL.

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

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

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you will also need to satisfy UCL's English Language Requirements. A variety of English language programmes are offered at the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education.

Degree benefits

  • Explore the history and philosophy of science across the world, from Antiquity to the present. This includes following changes as scientific knowledge moves between cultures
  • Investigate how scientific knowledge and methods are intertwined with other elements of society, and how historians and sociologists draw on evidence to piece together an understanding of the past
  • Investigate science as a way of knowing, including its many methods, fundamental concepts, logic, and ethics
  • Use science as a focus for developing expertise in key areas of philosophy, from metaphysics to aesthetics

This degree aims to produce graduates ready to use deep historical and philosophical perspectives to interpret science's influence on modern society.

With our focus on key skills, practical methods, and broader perspectives, we also aim to create versatile thinkers ready to engage with emerging issues.

The real strength of the degree is its flexibility and breadth across a wide range of themes in history and philosophy, held together by strong interdisciplinary connections.

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. Our teaching methods adapt to specific needs of students. Many courses 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.

Degree structure

In each year of your degree you will take a number of individual courses, normally valued at 0.5 or 1.0 credits, adding up to a total of 4.0 credits for the year. Courses are assessed in the academic year in which they are taken. The balance of compulsory and optional courses varies from programme to programme and year to year. A 1.0 credit is considered equivalent to 15 credits in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).

Year One

Compulsory courses

Fundamentals of Science Communication
History of Modern Science
History of Science: from Antiquity to the Enlightenment
Investigating Science and Society
Philosophy of Science I
Revealing Science
Science Policy
Sources in the History of Science

Optional courses

There are no optional courses in year one.

Year Two

Compulsory courses

Global Citizenship in Action
Philosophy of Science II
Either Science and Empire or Science in the 20th Century
Science and Ethics
Science, Religion and Revolution

Optional courses

Students also select options from a wide range of courses offered by the department and throughout UCL.

Final Year

Compulsory courses


Optional courses

Communicating Science in Digital Environments
Communication of Scientific Ideas
Disease in History
Globalisation in Theory and Practice
Governing Emerging Technologies
History of Astronomy and Cosmology
Investigating Contemporary Science
Magic to Science
Philosophy of Biology
Philosophy of Cognitive Science
Philosophy of Information
Philosophy of Medicine
Philosophy of Natural Science
Science and Global History

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

Further details on department website: History and Philosophy of Science BSc


The programme is designed to allow you both 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 alone 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.

This may include science communication in print or broadcasting, education or museums; and employment in science policy or commercial posts such as in research administration, technology transfer, regulatory agencies or charities. Further study, either within the discipline, or to acquire professional training for example for financial or legal careers, is also popular among our graduates.


First destinations of recent graduates (2010-2012) of this programme include:

  • Full-time student, MSc in Media Production at Imperial College London (2011)
  • Junior Television Research Assistant, Dansk Channel 3 TV Station (2011
  • Investment Advisor, Best Invest (2010)
  • Full-time student, MSc in Medicine, Science and Society at King's College London (2010)
  • Full-time student, Graduate Diploma in Law, BPP Law School of Law (2010)

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

Your application

Your application will be assessed on your prior and projected academic achievement, and we will be seeking evidence of your interest in historical and contemporary issues in science, technology and medicine. 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.


After assessing your application, we invite applicants in the UK to visit the department for an interview/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 to interview, but will be contacted by telephone or email to discuss your application - you are, of course, welcome to visit us if this is possible for you.

Video: applying to UCL through UCAS

Fees and funding

UK & EU fee

£9,000 (2014/15)

Overseas fee

£15,200 (2014/15)

General funding notes

Details about financial support are available at: www.ucl.ac.uk/study/ug-finance

Playlist: funding for UK/EU and overseas students

Undergraduate playlist

Video channels

Page last modified on 26 feb 14 08:05