Science and Engineering for Social Change BSc

London, Stratford (UCL East)
Science and Engineering for Social Change BSc (2024)

Make a positive mark on the world by gaining in-demand skills needed to solve key challenges of society. By studying a broad range of topics through this degree – taught from engineering, social and political perspectives – you will gain multi-disciplinary knowledge that is sought-after in business, charity, government and policy roles. Delivered by a university that is globally recognised for its cross-disciplinary and real-world expertise, this programme will help you become a next generation leader in social change. 

UK students International students
Study mode
3 academic years
UK tuition fees (2023/24)
Overseas tuition fees (2023/24)
Programme starts
September 2023
Application deadline
25 Jan 2023
UCAS course code

Entry requirements

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 information

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

Contextual offer

32 more about contextual offers
A total of 15 points in three higher level subjects, with no higher level score below 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 30 credits at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit, all from Level 3 units.

Successful completion of the WBQ Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate plus 2 GCE A levels at grades AAB.

A,A,B at Advanced Highers (or A,A at Advanced Higher and B,B,B at Higher)

D3,D3,M1 - D3,M1,M1 in three Cambridge Pre-U Principal Subjects

Not acceptable for entrance to this programme.

Not acceptable for entrance to this programme.

Not acceptable for entrance to this programme.

International applications

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

Access and widening participation

UCL is committed to widening access to higher education. If you are eligible for Access UCL you do not need to do anything in addition to the standard UCAS application. Your application will be automatically flagged when we receive it.

Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates

The Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates (UPC) prepare international students for a UCL undergraduate degree who don’t have the qualifications to enter directly. These intensive one-year foundation courses are taught on our central London campus.

Typical UPC students will be high achievers in a 12-year school system which does not meet the standard required for direct entry to UCL.

For more information see:

English language requirements

The English language level for this programme is: Level 2

Information about the evidence required, acceptable qualifications and test providers can be found on our English language requirements page.

A variety of English language programmes are offered at the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education.

Course overview

Science and engineering offer the answers to many of society’s challenges, while policy identifies and responds to these most complex global issues. Bringing these concepts together produces graduates fit to work in corporate, charity or government roles, who understand scientific and technical principles, and have the policy skills needed to create practical solutions to pressing problems.  

This degree is underpinned by the proven principle that better policies are created when a broad diversity of thought and experience feeds into them. Interdisciplinary by design, this programme will equip you with crucial technical knowledge along with the research, analytical and management skills you need to address global, local and individual challenges. You will study subjects ranging from policy design and project management, to innovation, engineering design and infrastructure development. Strong industry links will allow you to work on real world problems with industry and community partners, while a third-year placement or project module allows you to apply your knowledge and prepare you for your future career. The programme will be based at UCL East, giving you access to accessible, state-of-the-art facilities with shared labs and workshop spaces open to all. 

Now is a time when many local and global communities urgently require better solutions to their problems, and this degree will equip you with the skills to respond meaningfully. Taught by UCL Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (UCL STEaPP) and UCL Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering (UCL CEGE), you will learn from world-leading academics and renowned industry experts (REF 2021). 

What this course will give you

As a degree that is jointly delivered by UCL STEaPP and UCL CEGE within the UCL Faculty of Engineering, you will benefit from an original programme of content delivery that brings key disciplines and principles together. Your exposure to experts across all related fields will allow you to combine practical, applicable knowledge from engineering and the physical sciences, with a comprehensive understanding of government and decision-making practices. 

The individuals delivering this degree are top academics and industry experts, bringing together academics, policymakers, practitioners and science and engineering experts from UCL STEaPP and UCL CEGE. Their joint purpose is to help change the world for the better, and you will become part of this community. 

A Professional Practice strand runs throughout this programme, enabling you to work with existing institutions, and local community groups in east London. Putting theory into practice from day one of your degree, you will identify, define and solve real world problems. 

Further details on the modules can be found on the STEaPP website.

Teaching and learning

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).

Upon successful completion of 360 credits, you will be awarded a BSc (Hons) in Science and Engineering for Social Change.


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 are subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

With four unique strands running throughout each year of study, this degree brings together the key pillars of science and engineering for social change on a continuous basis. The Context strand looks at the social and technical infrastructures in society, while the Conversation strand tackles how engineers and policymakers think. The Culture strand introduces you to concepts of design in science and policymaking, and the Professional Practice strand incorporates practical, real-world projects.

In the first year of this programme, you will take modules covering both public policy and engineering to understand the foundations of major policymaking institutions and how decisions are made. You will learn this while building your knowledge of engineering thinking and practice.  As the year continues, you will begin to understand the notion and opportunities of co-design in policy, where stakeholders become part of the design process.

In year two, you will explore how innovation – including technical innovation and socio-technical innovation – creates new types of societies. You will also look at urban design from an engineering policy perspective, get to grips with the role of mathematics and modelling in engineering thinking, and consider issues of justice, representation and inclusion.

In the third and final year of this degree, you will explore the role and engagement of engineering sciences in government, business and civil society. Using insights from a live programme of research in this field, you will extend your knowledge about the role of engineers in government. You will also address the philosophical and cultural dimensions of dealing with pressing social and technical challenges facing the world. 

Further details on the modules can be found on the STEaPP website.

Compulsory modules

Innovation: from Technological to Social and Public

Engineering for Policy & Policy for Engineering

Policy Design II: Inclusion by Co-design

Philosophy of Culture for Scientists and Engineers

Engineering in Society 2: Think Global, Act Local

Designing Urban Developments

Engineering Thinking II

Compulsory modules

Collective Intelligence

Engineering Thinking in Government

Science and Engineering as Cultures

Science, Religion and Public Policy

Engineering in Society Project 3: Professional Practice Placement

Designing Infrastructure

Innovation: Engineering & The Art of the Possible

Your learning

This programme prioritises learning through a real-world context and this, in combination with a vibrant and challenging intellectual environment, will give you first-hand experiences of policymaking in practice. You will learn through a mix of lectures, seminars, tutorials, problem-based learning, portfolio building, reflective practice, and critical reading of academic literature, technical and policy texts. Teaching is delivered by leading researchers and practitioners from UCL STEaPP and UCL CEGE. 

In your third year, you will undertake a placement or project module that includes 140 hours of work experience across terms 1 and 2. Placements or projects are related to either the policy, charity or industry sectors. Students may source their external placement with departmental support or may be allocated a project internally. During the placement or project, you will use a skills assessment tool to track your technical skills and subject knowledge against key criteria relevant to careers in policy. 

In Years 1 and 2, during a typical week, you will spend approximately 13 hours of your time in contact with academic staff: 4 hours in lectures, 4 hours in seminars/problem classes/tutorials and 5 hours in laboratories/studio sessions/tutor-led e-learning or completing field work. You will be completing approximately 27 hours of independent work, including independent study, individual or group project work or working on assessments.

In Year 3, during a typical week, you will spend approximately 10 hours of your time in contact with academic staff: 4 hours in lectures, 4 hours in seminars/problem classes/tutorials and 2 hours in tutor-led e-learning or completing field work. You will be completing approximately 30 hours of independent work, including independent study, individual or group project work or working on assessments, or completing your final year placement or project.

The hours provided above are indicative and are subject to change.


You will be assessed through a mix of practical exercises, presentations, group work, reflective assessments, coursework, written examination and portfolio development. 


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 foundation of your career

All students receive support to help them get job-ready through the degree programme. This includes a final employability assessment and practical workshops on different aspects of finding a job. Graduates of this programme will find themselves with the relevant skills to apply for roles in a range of environments, which could include policy development, policy implementation, corporate strategy, charity and the third sector. 


The core skills taught on this programme are based on feedback from employers in the policy and engineering fields, including governmental bodies, national academies and third-sector organisations. Thus, as a graduate of the Science and Engineering for Social Change BSc, you will come away with a variety of skills that directly respond to a current professional need in business, charity, government and policy roles.

In particular, you will understand the contribution of engineering, social sciences, and technology to complex global issues. Acquiring a rare balance of technical and non-technical skills, you will be able to traverse the worlds of both science and policymaking to create informed solutions to societal problems. Graduates also gain a suite of highly transferable skills, including innovative and flexible thinking, multi-disciplinary critical analysis, and stakeholder communications across sectors. Problem solving, team working, and leadership attributes are all honed throughout the programme too. 

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time
Tuition fees (2023/24) £9,250
Tuition fees (2023/24) £32,100

The fees indicated are for undergraduate entry in the 2023/24 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 2023/24 entrants for each year of study on the programme, unless otherwise indicated below.

Full details of UCL's tuition fees, tuition fee policy and potential increases to fees can be found on the UCL Students website:

Additional costs

There are no additional costs for this programme. 

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).

Funding your studies

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.


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.

Next steps

Your application

All applications are considered individually and carefully. In addition to academic requirements, we are looking for applicants who are highly motivated and have high expectations for their future achievements. We recognise you may not be able to write a personal statement that reflects your interest in this programme and that addresses your other UCAS choices. This will not adversely affect your application. You should use your personal statement to demonstrate your ability to use and reflect on diverse information sources; an interest in helping societies develop a better quality of life for all; and an interest in combining technical and social scientific knowledge to solve pressing global issues. This could be through a range of relevant interests or experiences, although we have no specific requirements for what should be included.

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.


For further information on UCL's selection process see: How we assess your application.

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.