Undergraduate prospectus 2022


Sociology and Politics of Science with Study Abroad BSc

This degree explores science in its varied and complex forms, training you to study science and scientists as part of modern society. We combine science policy, ethics, and governance, science communication, and sociology of modern science and technology. This four-year degree combines the flexibility of the Sociology and Politics of Science BSc programme with the opportunity to spend the third year studying abroad at an institution in North America.

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.

  • Modules in science policy and governance are local and global in scope. They engage with ethics, historical decision-making processes, governance of emerging technologies, science communication, and future directions in science, medicine, and technology.

  • Modules in science communication focus on the complex interactions between scientists and the public. We consider the methods of science journalism, including radio and television and online environments.

  • Practical modules in science communication build skills in public engagement with science and develop the skills of evaluating the effectiveness of science communication.

    Modules in sociology of modern science and technology engage with classic sociological theory and practical field methods.

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 programme aims to produce graduates ready to talk about science and interpret its influences in modern society without committing to a life at the laboratory bench. Science involves many more people than scientists themselves, and this degree seeks to build policymakers, communicators, and other observers who can contribute informed views to ongoing debates about science’s direction and impact. This might involve contributing to debates on science funding or ethics; weighing the value of different social priorities; or consulting on the impact of new technologies and new discoveries.

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)

  • Research Methods in Science and Technology Studies
  • Sociology of Science and Technology

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
  • Philosophy of Science II
  • Policy Issues in the Life Sciences
  • Science and Empire
  • Science and Ethics
  • Science and Religion
  • Science in Popular Culture
  • Sociology of Science and Technology
  • Thinking about Technology 
  • Medicine and Society
  • Science in Government

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 is not a comprehensive list of available modules 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
  • 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
  • Eugenics in Science and Culture
  • The Social Sciences of Inequality

Your learning

The department has a reputation for excellence in the classroom. Tutors have won local and international teaching awards and we consistently rank highly in student evaluations, obtaining 100% student satisfaction for the STS degrees from the National Student Survey in 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 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 examinations.

Detailed module descriptions are available on the department website: Sociology and Politics 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 to gain understanding of the discipline, and to develop intellectual, practical and transferable skills, such as critical thinking; retrieving, researching and analysing material; problem solving; 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.

Our graduates go on to develop successful careers in the areas of science policy, think tanks, charities, science communication, journalism, education, museums, finance and law. Many also go on to pursue further study.

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
£28,500 (2021/22)

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 and technology. 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 for an interview, but will be contacted by telephone or email or Skype to discuss your application and your interests - 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