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The Department of Science and Technology Studies, UCL is an interdisciplinary centre for the integrated study of science's history, philosophy, sociology, communication and policy, located in the heart of London. Founded in 1921. Award winning for teaching and research, plus for our public engagement programme. Rated as outstanding by students at every level.
At UCL, the academic mission is paramount. Our ambition is to achieve the highest standards in our teaching and research.
Join us for BSc, MSc, and PhD study.
Staff books include:
What are you planning to do after your degree in STS? What are your options? There are plenty of exciting opportunities out there where the skills you have developed in STS will be greatly appreciated. It's never too early to start thinking about your career plans. You can discuss your future with:
- your personal tutor
- other tutors
- other students
- your family
- our designated representative at UCL Careers Service, Robert Donovan
- STS Careers Officers, Dr Jack Stilgoe (STS) and Dr Emma Tobin (HPS) Office 2.4a 22 Gordon Square
There is a wide variety of support available to help you with determining your future career direction...
STS Careers Officer
Dr Emma Tobin and Tim Nissen coordinate the Department's careers activities. Emma and Tim are available for informal discussions or advice on how you might proceed towards your desired career path. Emma can provide more specific advice to students in the HPS stream while Tim can provide more specific advise to students on the STS stream. Various events and activities will also run throughout the year to support you with your careers choices, for example an alumni session where previous graduates from within STS share their experiences and top tips. Keep an eye on your email account for announcements relating to these and other careers events that might be relevant to you.
UCL Careers Service
UCL also has a central Careers Service who are very experienced in advising students from all sorts of backgrounds about their options, to help them make decisions about careers and to locate employment for many purposes. Our department liaison is Robert Donovan, who has made a special effort to become familiar with the students within STS and their needs.
Visit the UCL Careers Service for information on:
- vacancies in full-time, temporary, or holiday employment
- working abroad
- post-graduate study
They also provide services related to applications and interviews, post-graduate study decisions, job hunting, and aptitude tests. You can discuss these and related subjects with careers advisers. Also visit the Careers Service to consult:
- Information about Libraries, Professional Institutes, Grants, Training Courses
- Post-Graduate Directories
- Vacancy Information: full-time, part-time, and vacation work
- Daily Newspapers
- Help sheets
UCL students are also entitled to use the University of London Careers Service Group.
As a special bonus, UCL graduates are eligible to join and use UCL's GradClub service up to two years after you complete your qualification at UCL. Seehttp://www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/gradclub for more information.
During the summer of 2013, Dr Emma Tobin together with our summer intern 3rd year student Sophie Osiecki met with a number of our STS alumni and recorded some podcasts for you. These will appear for you to listen to over the course of this academic year. Watch this space for podcasts coming up over the next couple of months.
Here is the first podcast:
Podcast 1 2013 - Interview with Louis Stupple Harris (mp3, 16 mins).
In this first podcast, Emma Tobin talks to Louis Stupple Harris about his career path after studying History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science at STS and his new job as Press Officer at the British Science Association. Louis gives lots of useful tips on applications, interview technique and getting internships during your degree as well as how to sell an STS degree to land you that dream job! Recorded and produced in the STS studio by our very own Sophie Osiecki in 3rd year during her summer internship.
Interviews from 2011-2013
Last year, STS's careers officer Dr Karen Bultitude met with Robert Donovan from UCL Careers Service to record a series of podcasts discussing how students can plan for life after STS. You can listen to them by clicking on the links below.
What better way to find out about life after your STS degree than to hear it directly from the people who really know? In this series of interviews staff and current students chat with former students about their careers after graduation.
Jake talks with Karen Bultitude about life in the Civil Service Fast Stream, what he's looking for when he recruits staff - and things he wishes he'd avoided.
3rd year student, Chantal Chevailler, interviews Charlotte about the path to her current role as a curator at The Science Museum.
Karen Bultitude and Olympia Brown talk about working for the Royal Institution and how Olympia got to her role there as the Science Learning Manager.
Interview 4, Marie-Claire Hawthorne (BSc History & Philosophy of Science) (mp3, 7 mins)
Chantal Chevailler chats with Marie-Clarie about internships and how the skills gained in an STS degree transfer to the workplace.
Interview 5, Megan Whewell (MSci Natural Sciences: Astrophysics & History & Philosophy of Science) (mp3, 13 mis)
In this interview Karen Bultitude and Megan Whewell discuss Megan's work at the National Space Centre which includes taking primary school children on simulated space missions!
Interview 6, Sabina Leonelli (BSc History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science) (mp3, 13 mins)
In this interview Emma Tobin and Sabina Leonelli discuss Sabina's path through MSc & PhD to becoming a senior lecturer at the University of Exeter.
Keep a portfolio of your best work - an organised collection of samples for you to show at interviews.
- Formal cv
- University record
- Writing samples - especially different formats and published material
- Screenshots of web projects, list of URLs
- List of people for recommendations
- Something people will remember as special about you, for example creative projects, photographs of major travel or sports accomplishment
- Something to represent your skills with other languages
- Something to represent important employee qualities - it's better to show skills beyond the basics. These could include:
- collegiality, teamwork, leadership
- time and project management
- ability to complete projects
- computer skills
- presentation skills
The following links provide helpful advice about putting together your portfolio:
UCL encourages students to use My Portfolio and the PPD section on Portico to keep an evidence based account of their and professional development through their years at UCL. This is an important resource towards building the ultimate C.V. We strongly encourage you to use these resources and to discuss them with your personal tutor or one of the careers tutors.
Volunteering and Internships
Paid internships are few and far between.
This year STS has funded a Summer Internship Programme. The STS department funded a number of paid internships.
Project 1: Colour Recipes in Pyrotechnic Treatises, 1450-1650
Project manager: Simon Werrett
Intern: Illari Cavedon
Subject area: history and philosophy of science
Project: Examine early modern literature on fireworks to identify evidence of colour being created in pyrotechnic recipes or decorative features of displays. Detail the ingredients used to create colour and research contemporary knowledge of the relevant materials. The research will contribute to a study of colour in fireworks prior to 1650. It is normally assumed that there was no colour in fireworks before 1800, but preliminary investigations suggest otherwise. The results of the research will be used to try out recipes and explore ingredients in the new Institute of Making. The project will be presented at a conference on colour in early modern Europe being organized at the Max Planck Institute for History of Science in Berlin in September 2013, and will provide the basis for a refereed journal article to be submitted in Autumn 2013.
Activities: Data collection involves using UCL e-resources (Early English Books Online; Gallica); PDFs of books provided by the superviser; and rare books in the British Library, if necessary.
Project 2: Intellectual property in Solar Radiation Management
Project manager: Jack Stilgoe
Intern: Bella Eacott
Subject area: science and society
Project: Examine patents relating to solar radiation management geoengineering.
Activities: Searching patent databases for relevant terms, liaising with geoengineering researchers in the UK and abroad. Analysing patent applications to investigate particular claims of purposes. A final report will be required, along with a categorisation of patent applications.
Project 3: Internship in Public Engagement
Project manager: Emma Tobin
Intern: Sophie Osiecki
Subject Area: Engagement/Science Communication/HPS
The intern will work at the STS recording studio producing audio podcasts for public dissemination. The intern is working on research development, recording, post-production and dissemination of departmental podcasts. Activities include: contacting interviewees and arranging interviews, booking studio time and liaising with academic staff to arrange interviewers, interview script preparation, recording and post-production work.
Unpaid internships are also easy to find in London.
Each member of staff knows special opportunities that become available from time to time - ask them if they know of anything in your areas of interest.
Some of the best opportunities are self-made. It never hurts to try to contact places of interest and send in a c.v.
Some general suggestions:
The skills you develop during your STS degree will enable you to (among other things) think critically, effectively communicate your ideas, and provide a convincing argument. These skills are applicable to a wide range of potential careers, for example:
- Teaching (link to TDA: Training and Development Agency for Schools). See also the new Teach First Programme for Graduates.
- Science policy civil service, particularly (for those with really good European language skills) with the European Commission
- Law conversion, especially patents
- Regulatory agencies, like the Advertising Standards Authority
- Grants administration for funding agencies, such as the Wellcome Trust, Leverhulme Trust, UK Research Councils
- Working for charities and international NGO's
- Think tanks, such as DEMOS
- English Heritage
Additionally, one of our recent postgraduates sees many opportunities for graduates with STS skills:
"I think a career path students fail to consider is sales. Of course I may be biased but this is a career path I know about and it is very different from what a lot of people have in mind. The kind of sales I have in mind is rather of the business to business kind and for hi-tech products. I think those of our students who have done some sociology of science/technology, and who may have studied a bit of sociology of organisations at some point, are especially well suited for this kind of careers. I had studied sociology of organisation during my engineering degree, and I have said many times it was one of the very few courses that were really relevant to my job (on top of being among the few I really enjoyed). To sell complex hi-tech solutions to complex organisations is a lot of 'applied sociology', it means trying to figure out the decision processes, the power games, etc, in the client's organisation. And to do that, you rely on your ears and your eyes when you meet with them, and also on your talent to do some complementary research (analyse the websites, the press, the annual reports, their comm, etc). Plus if you sell some hi-tech stuff, you have to be able to grasp sci-tech concepts, analyse them, and translate them in useful applications for your clients. ... I would be perfectly ready to talk to students about it if you think it could be useful."
Study existing job adverts
Studying current job advertisements is a good way to survey expectations and opportunities. These websites are industry wide. They're good places to survey, and you can also talk to your STS tutors about other more specialist options:
STS has been graduating students since 1996. We're currently collecting more detailed information on their career choices, and the paths they took to reach them - watch this space... In the meantime, here is a selected list of some recent graduates' current roles:
- BBC television - international sales
- Journalist for BBC Today programme
- Oxford Business School
- MPhil/PhD History of Science at Cambridge
- Started own internet company
- Journalism at City University
- Legal studies at Bristol
- Law conversion UCL
- Mentoring programme in Law
- PGCE for teaching
- MA in Medical Ethics and Law at Kings
- MA modern history at UCL
- MSc history of science at UCL
- Primary school administration
- Grants officer, charitable foundation
- Recruitment consultant
- Logistics manager for major drinks company
Thinking about continuing your studies? If you see graduate school in your future, there are three essential steps:
- Talk with staff - they know many of the colleagues and institutions involved; they may also know the specific programme you're interested in, including its strengths and idiosyncrasies.
- Think about money - it's expensive; scholarships are highly competitive; make it worth the cost. Don't just continue your studies because you don't know what else to do; make sure it will be valuable.
- Consider taking a gap year - use your time smartly e.g. perhaps spend a year doing something else; students who create a strong gap year often find themselves re-energised and re-focused when returning to studies. Wider experience is invaluable for academics and practitioners in STS.
The following list provides an overview of different existing relevant options for graduate level studies relevant to STS.
- University of Sussex - Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU)
- University of Manchester - PREST
- London Centre for the History of Science, Medicine and Technology (STS is a partner)
- University of Warwick
History of Science
- London Centre for the History of Science, Medicine and Technology (STS is a partner)
- University of Cambridge HPS MPhil
- University of Leeds HPS
- University of Manchester - CHSTM
- Durham University - HPSM
- UCL Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine (history of medicine)
- Exeter University - History and Philosophy of Biology
Science Journalism / Communication
- Imperial College London
- University of the West of England - Science Communication Unit
- University of Bath - MSc in Science, Culture and Communication
- University of Edinburgh (in science policy, but with a specialisation in science communication)
- Dublin City University
- University of Leeds MA Science Communication
- University of Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona
Philosophy of Science
- LSE/KCL MSc in Philosophy and History of Science
- University of Cambridge HPS
- University of Durham PhD programme
- University of Exeter - genomics and society
- University of Bristol - Philosophy and History of Science
- University of Leeds - HPS plus MA Philosophy of Physics
Sociology of Science / Science Studies
- University of Edinburgh
- University of Cambridge
- University of Bath - MSc in Risk, Health and Science Communication
- University of Lancaster - History Department
For taught-Masters degrees, on-line directories provide a wider range and often include some funding information. For instance:
When you find a programme you like, contact their Admissions Tutor to get further information, and especially to see if it is the right direction for you.
Page last modified on 27 sep 13 13:49 by Emma Tobin
UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS)
0207 679 1328 office | +44 207 679 1328 international
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