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Course content

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.

About this degree

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 provided it contributes to a coherent programme of study.

In addition, students choose three ancillary modules which may be options from our degrees, or 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.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: History and Philosophy of Science MSc

Careers

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.

Recent career destinations for this degree

  • Art Gallery Curator, Dia Projects
  • PhD in History of Medicine, UCL

Employability

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.

Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

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 Culture. We also use the city as a classroom, with custom-made walking tours, site visits, and special excursions.

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

The following REF score was awarded to the department: Science & Technology Studies

82%: History subjects; 75%: Philosophy subjects rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.


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

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