Sociology and Politics of Science 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. UCL is unique in the UK in offering this BSc.
- UCAS code
Full-time: 3 years
- Application deadline
- 26 January 2022
- London, Bloomsbury
- 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 score lower than 5.
- 30 (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:
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.
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: 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, 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.
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.
Upon successful completion of 360 credits, you will be awarded a BSc (Hons) in Sociology and Politics of Science.
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.
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 Communication and Public Engagement
There are no optional modules in year one.
Research Methods in Science and Technology Studies
Sociology of Science and Technology
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
Medicine and Society
Science in Government
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
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
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.
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
The fees indicated are for undergraduate entry in the 2022/23 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 2022/23 entrants for each year of study on the programme, unless otherwise indicated below.
- UK students
- £9,250 (2022/23)
- Overseas students
- £29,400 (2022/23)
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.
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.
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.
UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.
Page last modified on 13 January 2022