Contact Us

Admissions Tutor:
Dr Carole Reeves
e-mail: sts-admissions@ucl.ac.uk
Tel: ++44 (0)207 679 3160


Academic Administrator:
To be advised
e-mail: sts-aa@ucl.ac.uk
Tel: ++ 44 (0)207 679 

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Science and Society BSc

“Awesome course, opened my eyes to a lot of new ideas.”
Student Feedback, 2012

UCAS U80 L391

UCL admissions (link)

This degree studies science in its varied and complex modern forms. We don't train you in science, but we train you to study science and scientists as part of modern society. We combine (1) science policy, ethics, and governance, (2) science communication, engagement, and evaluation, and (3) sociology of modern science and technology. This study is supported by a wide range of modules in the history, philosophy, and social studies of science. UCL is unique in the UK in offering this single honours BSc.

Many of our students seek careers in science communication, civil service, and NGOs for science policy. Others pursue journalism and communication. Further afield, we have a solid track record preparing students for careers in law and finance, where they draw on the critical thinking and research skills we teach.

We combine:

  • science policy, ethics, and governance
  • science communication, engagement, and evaluation
  • sociology of modern science and technology

All this is supported by a wide range of modules in history and philosophy of science. UCL is unique in the UK in offering this single honours BSc.

Listen to students

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Common First Year

Our degrees follow a common first year whereby students in each degree take the same modules. We do this because we want a solid foundation for everyone. We also want to give you flexibility. At the end of the first year students have the opportunity to switch streams within the department. Our first year modules are organised into two core themes. 

Science and Society core

  • Fundamentals of Science Communication
  • Investigating Science and Society
  • Science Policy
  • Revealing Science

History and Philosophy of Science core

  • Philosophy of Science 1
  • History of Science: Antiquity to Enlightenment
  • Sources in History of Science
  • History of Modern Science

Second and Third Years

In the second and third years, you take modules following a simple plan. We have a few compulsory modules. We also ask you to take a set of modules clustering in the specialisation of your degree. Beyond this, your degree builds with a supporting group of related modules in the department and from across UCL. Most students find there is far more variety than they could possibly take up. That leads to wonderful choices every year.

Core elements

We keep compulsory modules to a minimum:

  • 2017 Global Citizenship in Action
  • 3004 Dissertation

We use a simple structure for other parts of the degree. This is designed to maximise flexibility and cater to your growing choices.

Year 2

  • 3 option modules in Science and Society
  • 2 more modules from any subject within the department

Year 3

  • 3 option modules in Science and Society
  • 2 more modules from any subject within the department

'Science and Society' options

The department offers a wide range of option modules both in Science and Society as an area of study and also across the whole range of the department, including:

2000-level

2001      Policy Issues in the Life Sciences

2002      Science in the Mass Media

2006      Science and Ethics

2011      Science, Communication and the Citizen

2014      Science Policy Issues in Global Perspective

2015      Investigating Science on a Global Scale

2016      Globalization in Theory and Practice

2023      Sociology of Science

2025      Special Topics in Science and Society

3000-level

3002      Science, Warfare and Peace

3003      Communication of Scientific Ideas

3006      Advanced Sociology of Science

3010      Popularisation of the Physical Sciences

3011      Science Writing and Reporting

3013      New Genetics and Society

3024      Frontiers of Knowledge in Science and Society

3032      Investigating Contemporary Science

3033      Communicating Science in Digital Environments

3036      Governing Emerging Technologies

(Not all modules are offered every year, and these titles evolve as we work to keep the programme on the cutting edge. We'll keep you up-to-date any changes.)

Degree Benefits

The Science and Society BSc studies modern science by using an interdisciplinary set of approaches. The aim is to produce graduates ready to talk about science and interpret its influences in modern society without committing to a life at the lab bench. Science involves many more people than scientists themselves, and this degree seeks to build policy makers, communicators, and other observers who can contribute informed views to ongoing debates about science’s direction and impact. With our focus on key skills, practical methods, and broader perspectives, we also aim to create versatile thinkers ready to engage emerging issues. This might involve contributing to debates on science funding or ethics. It might involve weighing the value of different social priorities. It might involve consulting on the impact of new technologies and new discoveries.

This degree is designed to be flexible. Our module catalogue balances practical and theory-based options. The real strength of the degree is the broad foundation it provides across a wide range of fundamental subjects, held together by strong interdisciplinary connections. This provides an excellent springboard for specialization in the final year or in further study at the postgraduate level.

Your final year culminates in a research project of your own design, resulting in a dissertation approximately the scale of a published academic paper. Normally, projects focus on case studies in science communication, science policy, or the sociology of science. Some dissertations have been published; others have served as strong portfolio items for postgraduate applications and as superb conversation starters in interviews.

Your Learning

The Science and Society BSc is taught by the Department of Science and Technology Studies, a department with a reputation for excellence in the classroom. Tutors have won local and international teaching awards. The department has recently received a UCL award for its public engagement. We consistently rank high in student evaluations. Typical comments rate us as friendly, supportive, down-to-earth, and inspirational.

Our teaching methods adapt to the specific needs of our students. Many modules include small group discussions and active participation. We make use of resources across London, from the Royal Society to the Wellcome Trust, from the Science Museum to Parliament. With 15-20 undergraduate students in each year group, we have a student-to-tutor ratio of approximately 4-to-1.

Assessment

Assessment is coordinated so you can develop skills for a wide range of academic challenges. We also want you to build a solid portfolio to demonstrate your abilities. 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 exams. Writing, presenting, and adapting to new audiences are key skills your tutors will help you to cultivate.

Page last modified on 30 oct 12 21:16 by Joe Cain


UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS)
0207 679 1328 office | +44 207 679 1328 international
sts@ucl.ac.uk | www.ucl.ac.uk/sts | @stsucl
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