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History and Philosophy of Science MSc

This programme offers breadth across a wide range of historical and philosophical themes. It also encourages intensive investigation and specialisation: a survey of nearly 3,000 years of scientific ideas and communities, and an exploration of the inner workings of science's methods and theories.

Covid-19 programme updates

Due to COVID-19, there may have been updates to this programme for the 2020 academic year. Where there has been an update, these are indicated with a red alert and a link which will provide further information.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2020

Modes and duration

Full time: 1 year
Part time: 2 years

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 1 November 2019
Close: 11 August 2020
Notification
Due to the large number of applications received, this programme is no longer accepting applications for 2020/21 entry. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. Applications for 2021/22 entry will open later in the year.

Tuition fees (2020/21)

UK/EU:
£12,120 (FT)
£6,085 (PT)
Overseas:
£24,250 (FT)
£12,120 (PT)


Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website.

Optional qualifications: This degree is also available as a PG Diploma and a PG Certificate with fees set accordingly.
Location: London, Bloomsbury

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.

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.

The English language level for this programme is: Good

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

International students

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.

Select your country:

About this degree

The programme provides broad-based training in the history of science, the philosophy of science, and an “integrated history and philosophy of science”. The historical coverage is broad, from antiquity to the present, while the philosophical coverage spans causality and the philosophy of medicine as well as the metaphysics of chemistry and computer science.

MSc students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of one core module (15 credits), five optional modules (75 credits), two ancillary modules (30 credits), and a dissertation (60 credits).

The Postgraduate Diploma programme consists of one core module (15 credits), four optional modules (60 credits) and three ancillary modules (45 credits), available in full time mode

The Postgraduate Certificate programme consists of one core module (15 credits) and three optional modules (45 credits), available in full time mode

Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MSc in History and Philosophy of Science. Upon successful completion of 120 credits, you will be awarded a PG Dip in History and Philosophy of Science. Upon successful completion of 60 credits, you will be awarded a PG Cert in History and Philosophy of Science.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.

Compulsory modules

  • Introduction to Science and Technology Studies
  • Dissertation

Optional modules

Students choose four optional modules from the History and Philosophy of Science. Please note that not every module is taught each year and the modules available vary from year to year. Therefore the list below is not exhaustive but gives an indication of what we teach. Applicants should contact the department for information on what will be offered.

  • Early Modern Science
  • Knowledge, Explanation, and Classification in Science
  • Models and Facts in Science
  • Science and Medicine Across Medieval Worlds
  • Science in the Nineteenth Century
  • Special Topics Seminar in History and Philosophy of Science: Philosophy
  • Science, Art, and Philosophy
  • Science in Antiquity
  • Causality, Mechanism and Evidence in Science

Students also choose one optional module from our sister MSc programme, Science, Technology, and Society. Module descriptions can be found on the STS website.

In addition, students choose two ancillary modules which may be options from our degrees or selected from any other programme at UCL.

Covid-19 module updates
Due to COVID-19, there may be updates to the modules for your chosen programme of study this year. Some modules may not be available or may need to be moved to a later term or year of study. These updates are relevant for 2020-21 academic year only.  The full list of modules will be available in the module catalogue from late August.  From the first week of September, you will be invited to complete module selection from Portico, our student record system. There may need to be additional updates or changes to modules during the academic year to allow for new guidance from the UK Government and Public Health England. Your department shall keep you updated of these changes as they become available.

Dissertation/research project

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. Student performance is assessed through coursework such as long and short essays, advocacy work and project work.

Covid-19 contact hours on campus
In Term One, while campus will be open, all the learning activity for the core content of your modules will take place online – including lectures, tutorials, seminars and assessments. By “core content” we mean everything you need to learn to complete the module successfully. In addition to these online contact hours, we will be offering some face-to-face educational activities for students on campus, and we will provide alternative online activities for those students unable to join us on campus. These activities, which will include contact with academic staff, will be relevant to your programme of study may include seminars, academic and employability skills workshops, small-group or individual tutorials, lab and practice-based teaching. UK Government safety guidelines will limit the amount of ‘in person’ activity we can offer and while it will vary from programme to programme, is likely to be no more than 1-2 hours per week. This will vary across departments, particularly if your programme includes laboratory/practical/studio/workshop sessions. You will be updated with more specific details as they are available and your timetable will indicate which sessions will be on campus and which will be available online.
Covid-19 assessment updates
There may be changes to the format of assessments for modules in this programme due to COVID-19. These will be summarised for each module on the module catalogue from 17 August 2020.   If any changes to assessments need to be made during the academic year due to updates in government guidance, these will be communicated to you as soon as possible from your department.    
Communicating further Covid-19 mitigation plans
We are continuing to follow UK Government guidance, as well as the expertise of our researchers, including specialists in health, education, human behaviour and infection prevention, to make sure UCL is as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. If it becomes necessary to make further changes to your programme as a result of new guidance/regulations, UCL and your department will communicate these as soon as this becomes clear. We will keep you up-to-date with our plans throughout term one, so you have the information you need to be able to take decisions that are right for your circumstances. Please ensure that you keep in touch with your department by regularly checking your UCL emails, Moodle courses, the Coronavirus FAQs for Students page and any UCL online groups or social media you follow.

Additional costs

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Accessibility

Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.

Funding

Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.

Brown Family Bursary

Note:
This scheme is now closed for 2020/21
Value:
£15,000 (1 year)
Eligibility:
UK
Criteria:
Based on both academic merit and financial need

STS Aristotle Scholarship

Note:
Deadline: 1 July 2020
Value:
Equivalent to Home fees (1 year)
Eligibility:
UK, EU, Overseas
Criteria:
Based on academic merit

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Careers

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.

Employability

During the course of this programme, students will develop a wide range of transferable skills, including writing, research, critical thinking, and working in collaboration with others. Most graduates of this programme go on to follow careers that engage with the substance of the degree, including in the museums sector, or in academia. For these students, this programme provides an excellent opportunity to develop the specialist skills and personal connections necessary to succeed. These include basic curatorial skills, developing personal contacts in London museums, and developing personal and intellectual connections with key thinkers in the field.

Why study this degree at UCL?

We have award-winning tutors, public engagement and fantastic academic programmes. As a department, Science & Technology Studies is respected across UCL for our dedication to teaching and learning. We commit ourselves to creating academic experiences that reward hard work.

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 Culture. We also use the city as a classroom, with custom-made walking tours, site visits, and special excursions.

Department: Science & Technology Studies

Application and next steps

Applications

Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £80 for online applications and £105 for paper applications. Further information can be found at: www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.

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.

Application deadlines

All applicants
11 August 2020

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

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Page last modified on 13 August 2020