Sociology and Politics of Science BSc

London, Bloomsbury
Sociology and Politics of Science BSc (2024)

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. UCL is unique in the UK in offering this BSc.

UK students International students
Study mode
Full-time
Duration
3 academic years
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
£9,250
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
£34,400
Programme starts
September 2025
Application deadline
29 Jan 2025
UCAS course code
L391

Entry requirements

Grades
AAB
Subjects
No specific subjects. At least two A level subjects should be taken from UCL's list of preferred A level subjects.
GCSEs
English Language and Mathematics at grade C or 4.

Contextual offer information

Contextual offers are typically one to two grades lower than the standard offer. Grade and subject requirements for contextual offers for this programme will be published in Summer 2024.

Points
36
Subjects
A total of 17 points in three higher level subjects, with no higher level score below 5.

Contextual offer

Contextual offers are typically one to two grade boundaries (equivalent to A levels) lower than the standard offer. IB Diploma grade and subject requirements for contextual offers for this programme will be published in Summer 2024.

UK applicants qualifications

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

Equivalent qualification

Pass in Access to HE Diploma with a minimum of 30 credits at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit, all from Level 3 units.

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (QCF) or BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma (RQF - teaching from 2016) with Distinction, Distinction, Distinction.

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

AAB at Advanced Highers (or AA at Advanced Higher and BBB at Higher).

Not acceptable for entrance to this programme.

Not acceptable for entrance to this programme.

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

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: ucl.ac.uk/upc.

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


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.

What this course will give you

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 hands-on skills in public engagement with science. 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.

At the beginning of the second year, interested students will have the opportunity to learn about the possibilities of spending a year studying abroad (traditionally in Year 3 of their degree) via the global opportunities provided by the UCL Study Abroad team.

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 Sociology and Politics of Science.

Modules

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. 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.

Students take 120 credits of modules each year, normally eight modules worth 15 credits. Modules are assessed in the academic year in which they are taken.

In Year 1 students will take eight compulsory modules.

In Year 2 students will take two compulsory modules. Students must take an additional four 15 credit modules chosen from the modules offered by the department plus an additional 30 credits of modules, usually two 15 credit modules. The additional 30 credits can be chosen from the modules offered by the department or chosen from other departments at UCL.

In Year 3 students will complete the compulsory 30 credit dissertation module. Students will also take five 15 credit modules chosen from the modules offered by the department plus one additional 15 credit module. The additional 15 credit module can be chosen from the modules offered by the department or chosen from another department at UCL.

Upon successful completion of 360 credits, you will be awarded a BSc (Hons) in Sociology and Politics of Science.
 

Your learning

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.

Students should expect to spend 150 learning hours each term (each term is 11 weeks) on each 15 credit module. This is comprised of an average of 20 contact hours (lectures and seminars) over 10 weeks of teaching with the remaining hours spent on independent study over an 11 week term. Independent study includes reading in preparation for lectures/seminars, wider reading, revising for examinations, completing written assessments and preparing presentations.

Assessment

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.

Accessibility

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

The foundation of your career

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.

Employability

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.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £9,250
Tuition fees (2024/25) £34,400

The fees indicated are for undergraduate entry in the 2024/25 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 2024/25 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

This programme has no additional costs.

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.

Scholarships

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

We particularly welcome students who are interested in the role that science, technology and medicine play in today’s world, are passionate about science and want to study science using various concepts from history, philosophy, and sociology. STS students have a strong aptitude for critical-thinking skills, and are interested in applying these skills to understand complex problems: from climate change to artificial intelligence, to privacy of data, and a lot more. Generally, our students are not only passionate about science and technology, but they are also concerned about potential negative impacts and want future careers that impact society in meaningful, positive ways across diverse sectors, from policy to industry, media and museums and galleries.

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.

Selection

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

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.