Sociology and Politics of Science BSc
This degree explores science in its varied and complex forms and we train 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. UCL is unique in the UK in offering this BSc.
- UCAS code
Full-time: 3 yearsPart-time: 6 years
- Application deadline
- 15 January 2019
- London, Bloomsbury
- No specific subjects.
- Please refer to UCL’s list of preferred A level subjects.
- English Language and Mathematics at grade C or 5. For UK-based students, a grade C or 5 or equivalent in a foreign language (other than Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew or Latin) is required. UCL provides opportunities to meet the foreign language requirement following enrolment, further details at: www.ucl.ac.uk/ug-requirements
- BBB (more about contextual offers)
- No specific subjects.
- A score of 17 points in three higher level subjects, with no score lower than 5.
- A score 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:
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.
In addition to A level and International Baccalaureate, UCL considers a wide range of international qualifications for entry to its undergraduate degree programmes.
Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates
UCL Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates (UPCs) are intensive one-year foundation courses for international students of high academic potential who are aiming to gain access to undergraduate degree programmes at UCL and other top UK universities.
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: www.ucl.ac.uk/upc.
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.
Modules in science policy and governance are local and global in scope. They engage with ethics, historical decision-making processes, governance of emerging technologies, 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 public engagement and evaluation build hands-on skills with communication and conversation. You will also develop the skills of evaluating the effectiveness of science communication: what works and what doesn't?
Modules in sociology of modern science and technology engage with classic sociological theory and practical field methods to study science as a human activity, shaped by modern society.
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.
An indicative guide to the structure of this programme, year by year.
Core or compulsory module(s)
Science Communication and Public Engagement
History of Modern Science
History of Science: Antiquity to Enlightenment
Investigating History and Philosophy of Science
Investigating Science and Society
Philosophy of Science I
There are no optional modules in year one.
Core or compulsory module(s)
There are no compulsory modules in year two.
Students select options from a wide range of modules offered by the department and more widely across UCL, including:
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
Applied Medicine and Society
Our intermediate- year optional modules vary from year to year to reflect current practice and the latest academic research. Students may also select options from a wide range of optional and elective modules offered by the department and throughout UCL.
Core or compulsory module(s)
Advanced Philosophy of Medicine
Communication of Scientific Ideas
Disease in History
Governing Emerging Technologies
History of Astronomy and Cosmology
History of Medicine
Nature, Technology and the Environment
Philosophy of Information
Philosophy of Natural Science
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
Sleep and Dreaming
Globalisation in Theory and Practice
Science Communication in Digital Environments
Philosophy of Natural Sciences
Zoos in Science and Culture
Our final-year optional modules vary from year to year to reflect current practice and the latest academic research. Students may also select options from a wide range of optional and elective modules offered by the department and throughout UCL.
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 course descriptions are available on the department website: Sociology and Politics of Science BSc.
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, 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 commited 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
The fees indicated are for undergraduate entry in the 2019/20 academic year. The UK/EU 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 2019/20 entrants for each year of study on the programme, unless otherwise indicated below.
- UK/EU students
- £9,250 (2019/20)
- Overseas students
- £23,470 (2019/20)
Full details of UCL's tuition fees, tuition fee policy and potential increases to fees can be found on the UCL Students website.
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.
If you are concerned by potential additional costs for books, equipment, etc. on this programme, please get in touch with the relevant departmental contact (details given on this page).
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.