Undergraduate prospectus 2022


History and Philosophy of Science with Study Abroad BSc

This degree investigates the history of science from antiquity to the present and globally. This four-year degree combines the flexibility of the History and Philosophy of Science BSc programme with the opportunity to spend the third year studying abroad at an institution in North America. We aim to provide our students with the ability to build a broad perspective on the origins of science and its role in our modern world.

Key Information

Programme starts

September 2020
UCAS code
Full-time: 4 years
Application deadline
15 January 2020
London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

A Levels

No specific subjects. At least two A level subjects should be taken from UCL's list of preferred A level subjects.
English Language and Mathematics at grade C or 5.

Contextual offer

BBB (more about contextual offers)
No specific subjects. At least two A level subjects should be taken from UCL's list of preferred A level subjects.
English Language and Mathematics at grade C or 5.

IB Diploma

A total of 17 points in three higher level subjects, with no score lower than 5.

Contextual offer

32 (more about contextual offers)
A total of 15 points in three higher level subjects, with no score lower than 5.

UK applicants qualifications

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

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.

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

  • Spend your third year of study abroad. Students enrolled on the Study Abroad programme will have the opportunity to apply to study at one of the following three institutions in North America: the University of British Columbia; the University of Toronto; or the University of Washington.

  • Explore the history of science from antiquity to the present and across the world. This includes following changes as scientific knowledge moves between different cultures.

    Through our research-led teaching, acquire transferable skills well adapted to the 21st century job market.

  • Investigate how scientific knowledge is intertwined with culture and society, and how historians and sociologists understand the past based on evidence from archives, libraries, museums and oral testimonies.

  • Investigate science as a way of knowing, including its many methods, fundamental concepts, logic, and ethics, and use science to develop expertise in areas of philosophy from aesthetics to metaphysics.

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 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, underpinned by strong interdisciplinary connections.

Students have the option of study abroad in Year 3 of the degree. They will follow a programme of study developed in consultation with STS mentors, UCL study abroad staff, and academics at the partner institution. Students complete their degree in Year 4.


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 module(s)

  • History of Modern Science
  • History of Science: from Antiquity to the Enlightenment
  • STS Perspectives on Big Problems
  • Investigating Sociology and Politics of Science
  • Philosophy of Science I
  • Introduction to History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science
  • Science Policy
  • Science Communication and Public Engagement

Optional modules

There are no optional modules in year one.

Compulsory module(s)

History of Science 2 

Philosophy of Science 2

Optional modules

Students select modules from a wide range offered by the department. In year 2 students also have the option of taking up to two modules from other UCL departments. STS options may include the following, but applicants should note that this list is not comprehensive and not all modules are available each year:

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

Year abroad key information

Students enrolled on the Study Abroad programmes will have the opportunity to apply to study at one of the following three institutions:  

  • University of British Columbia, Canada
  • University of Toronto, Canada
  • University of Washington, USA

Year abroad: further details

Students will select modules offered at one of the above institutions, but assessment for the year abroad will be on a pass or fail basis, based on the performance at the Study Abroad institution. A pass is obtained by passing all modules undertaken; students who fail will be transferred to the three-year programme instead.

Our Study Abroad programme offers a tremendous opportunity to our students. Studying at one of our partner institutions for a year will enable students to enrich their knowledge of Science and Technology Studies outside of UCL and the UK.

Compulsory module(s)


Optional modules

Students select modules from a wide range offered by the department. In year 3 students also have the option of taking one module from another UCL department. STS options may include the following, but applicants should note that this list is not comprehensive and not all modules are available each year:

  • Philosophy of Medicine
  • Science Journalism
  • Disease in History
  • Governing Emerging Technologies
  • History of Astronomy and Cosmology
  • Madness and Society
  • Medicine, History and Society
  • Medical Ethics
  • Nature, Technology and the Environment
  • Philosophy of Information
  • Philosophy of Natural Sciences
  • 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
  • Sleeping and Dreaming
  • Science in Nineteenth Century London
  • Eugenics in Science and Culture
  • The Social Sciences of Inequality

Your learning

We consistently excel in student evaluations, obtaining 100% student satisfaction for the STS degrees from the National Student Survey in 2017, 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 10:1.


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

Detailed module descriptions are available on the department website: History and Philosophy of Science with Study Abroad BSc.


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.


The programme is designed to enable 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 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.

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, governments or charities. Further study, either within the discipline, or to acquire professional training for example for financial or legal careers, is popular among our graduates.

UCL is committed 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 2021/22 academic year. The UK 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 2021/22 entrants for each year of study on the programme, unless otherwise indicated below. Fees for the 2022/23 academic year will be advertised as soon as they are available.

UK students
£9,250 (2021/22)
Overseas students

Full details of UCL's tuition fees, tuition fee policy and potential increases to fees can be found on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Additional costs

In addition, please note that if you wish to study abroad during your programme at UCL, this is likely to incur additional costs. Studying abroad may cost between £200–£1,000 per month depending on where you choose to study. The cost of studying abroad can be difficult to predict as it will depend on your priorities and choices. There is more information available on the UCL Study Abroad website.

A guide including rough estimates for these and other living expenses is included on the UCL Fees and funding pages. If you are concerned by potential additional costs for books, equipment, etc., please get in touch with the relevant departmental contact (details given on this page).


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

Funding opportunities relevant to the department may appear in this section when they are available. Please check carefully or confirm with the programme contact to ensure they apply to this degree programme.

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, 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.

Application deadline: 15 January 2020


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 to an open day but will be contacted by telephone, email or Skype to discuss your application - 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.

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.

Page last modified on 5 August 2021