Science and Technology Studies


STS offers degrees at each university level: undergraduate, masters, and PhD



This course goes inside technology to discuss its political and ethical dimensions. Technologies shape our future in powerful and largely unaccountable ways.

Governing Emerging Technologies

Are they inevitable, or can we control the technologies that we get, anticipate their implications, prevent hazards and share their benefits? Why do we have iPads and space shuttles but we don’t all drive electric cars and have clean drinking water in the developing world?

Were the Fukushima nuclear meltdown and the financial crisis just accidents? What could regulators have done to prevent them? As science introduces new risks and ethical dilemmas, what should governments do to control research, publication, patenting and innovation? The course will teach students to think and write clearly and critically about technology. It will be assessed through an essay and a series of short blog-posts.

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Course Objectives:

The aims of this course are to get students to think and write critically about the directions of science and technology, taking into account social, political, economic and ethical questions. By the end of this course, students will be familiar with a number of case studies of emerging technologies and they will be able to apply the lessons from these to other areas of science and technology. The idea is to study concepts and cases in lectures, discuss them in seminars and apply them to new areas at the frontiers of science and innovation through students’ own writing. In addition to assessment via essay, the course also asks students to write accessibly and publicly, via a blog, about new technologies.

UCL Module Catalogue: Governing Emerging Technologies (HPSC0061)