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History and Philosophy of Science - MSc/PGDip/PGCert

Course Description

This programme offers breadth across a wide range of historical and philosophical themes. It also encourages intensive investigation and specialisation: a survey of nearly 3,000 years of scientific ideas and communities, and an exploration of the inner workings of science's methods and theories.

Degree information

The programme provides broad-based training in the history of science, the philosophy of science, and an “integrated history and philosophy of science”. The historical coverage is broad, from antiquity to the present, while the philosophical coverage spans causality and the philosophy of medicine as well as the metaphysics of chemistry and computer science.

MSc students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of one core module (15 credits), four optional modules (60 credits), three ancillary modules (45 credits), and a dissertation (60 credits). The Postgraduate Diploma programme consists of one core module (15 credits), four optional modules (60 credits) and three ancillary modules (45 credits), available in full time mode. The Postgraduate Certificate programme consists of one core module (15 credits) and three optional modules (45 credits), available in full time mode.

Core modules
-Introduction to Science and Technology Studies

Optional modules - students choose four options from the following:
-Science in the 19th Century
-Material Culture and Science in the 18th Century
-Early Modern Science
-Medieval Science and Medicine in Global Perspective
-Science in Antiquity
-Causality, Mechanism, and Classification in Science
-Knowledge, Evidence, and Explanation in Science
-Science, Art, and Philosophy
-Special Topics Seminar in History and Philosophy of Science

One optional module from our sister MSc programme, Science, Technology, and Society, may be substituted here provided it contributes to a coherent programme of study.

Ancillary Modules - students choose three ancillary modules which may be options from our degrees, e.g. Science in the 20th Century and Beyond, and Curating the History of Science, or they might be selected from any other programme at UCL.

Dissertation/research project
All MSc students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000–12,000 words.

Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of seminars, lectures, tutorials and research supervision. Student performance is assessed through coursework such as long and short essays, advocacy work and project work.


Our programme provides essential training for students wishing to pursue PhD level study in related fields. It also provides appropriate training for those pursuing careers in education, museum and archival curatorship, or governance and policy-making.

During the course of this programme, students will develop a wide range of transferable skills, including writing, research, critical thinking, and working in collaboration with others. Most graduates of this programme go on to follow careers that engage with the substance of the degree, including in the museums sector, or in academia. For these students, this programme provides an excellent opportunity to develop the specialist skills and personal connections necessary to succeed. These include basic curatorial skills, developing personal contacts in London museums, and developing personal and intellectual connections with key thinkers in the field.

Why study this degree at UCL?

There is no UK academic department quite like UCL Science & Technology Studies. The department combines award-winning teaching with award-winning public engagement.

We are research-active over an enormous range of topics. Our teaching builds on research not only in our subject specialties but also in the fundamentals of teaching and learning.

Our programme makes unique use of London’s attractions and resources. We have close links with the Science Museum, the National Maritime Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Wellcome Library, and UCL Museums & Collections. We also use the city as a classroom, with custom-made walking tours, site visits, and special excursions.

Visit the History and Philosophy of Science - MSc/PGDip/PGCert page on the University College London website for more details!

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Student Profiles

Aristotle studentship (UCL STS MSc programme) - 3 Awards

The Department offers up to THREE scholarships for our postgraduate taught programmes. These scholarships will pay full UK/EU fees, whether that is for the degree, diploma, or certificate programme. Payment is made directly to UCL. All those offered a place are eligible, including those with either UK/EU or overseas status (for overseas students, this studentship will pay for half the total of the overseas tuition fee). The scholarship does not include a stipend or support for accommodation.

Value of Scholarship(s)

8755 (full UK/EU fees)


Only applicants accepted for entry onto our post-graduate taught programme are eligible. This includes those accepted onto the degree, diploma, and certificate programmes. The primary criteria for the panel's decision will be: evidence of outstanding academic potential, evidence of likely difference-making for the programme, and potential for contributing to the intellectual and cultural life of the department.

Application Procedure

Persons accepted into the programme who wish to be considered for an STS Aristotle scholarship should complete the application form and submit it to our MSc Admissions team by 31 March. Only successful recipients will be notified, and these notifications will be made by 15 April.

Further Information



Brown Family Bursary - No. of awards TBC

Selection criteria:
The bursary will be awarded based on financial need only as determined by the Student Funding Office.Value, Benefits and Duration:
- The value of the bursary is £15,000. The payment is to be applied to tuition fees in the first instance, with any remainder being paid to the successful applicant towards maintenance in termly instalments.
- The bursary is tenable for one year only.
- The bursary may not be held alongside other tuition fee only awards.

Value of Scholarship(s)



- prospective full-time UK Master's students who are undertaking a one-year programme of study in the Faculties of the Built Environment, Engineering Sciences or Mathematical & Physical Sciences (BEAMS) in 2015/16
- currently holding a first-class Bachelor's degree; and
- in financial need.

Application Procedure

See http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/scholarships/graduate/UK-EU-Master/uclalumniandfriends

Further Information


Entry Requirements

A minimum of a second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

Last Updated

17 October 2016

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