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Our MSc History of Science, Technology and Medicine taught master's course focuses on a broad range of mostly nineteenth and twentieth century case studies, from the local to the global.

We will explore key debates such as:

  • Why does Britain have a National Health Service?
  • Can better science education cure economic problems?
  • How did epidemic disease affect the colonial ambitions of the European powers?
  • Why do we end up depending on unreliable technologies?

Your studies will pay particular attention to the roles of sites, institutions, and schools of thought and practice, and to the changing ways in which scientists and medics have communicated with non-specialist audiences.

You will learn through lectures, seminars and tutorials and gain experience of historical essay-writing, before researching and writing an extensive dissertation on a specialised topic, supervised by experienced researchers.

This MSc focuses on humanities skills, but may be taken successfully by students from any disciplinary background. It works both as an advanced study course for students with undergraduate experience in the history of science, technology and medicine, and as a conversion route for students from other backgrounds, often in the sciences, but also including general history, social policy, and other fields.

The History of Science, Technology and Medicine pathway is appropriate if you have wide-ranging interests across the field, or are interested in the histories of the physical sciences or the life sciences in particular.

If you wish to focus on biomedicine or healthcare, you may prefer the Medical Humanities pathway. If you are particularly interested in contemporary science communication or policy, you should consider the MSc Science Communication course.

Aims

This course aims to:

  • introduce the main issues and themes of the history and historiography of science, technology and medicine within their wider social, cultural and political contexts, including communication between specialists and non-specialists;
  • provide opportunities to study particular topics of historical and contemporary significance in depth, and to support the development of analytical skills in understanding the changing form and function of science, technology and medicine in society;
  • encourage and support the development of transferable writing and presentational skills of the highest standard, and thereby prepare students for further academic study or employment;
  • provide a comprehensive introduction to research methods in the history of science, technology and medicine, including work with libraries, archives, databases, and oral history;
  • enable students to produce a major piece of original research and writing in the form of a dissertation.

Special features

Explore Manchester's history

Manchester is the classic `shock city' of the Industrial Revolution and its environmental and social outcomes, and a global city whose identity is closely tied up with scientific discovery. You'll be able to relive the development of industrial society through field trips and visits to local museums and sites of historic interest.

Research support

The Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine , is the longest-established centre for the integrated study of the field, and offers dissertation supervision in a range of specialist areas.

Opportunities for further study and experience

Take up optional classes and volunteering opportunities shared with the parallel MSc Science Communication course at Manchester, including science policy, science media, museums and public events activities.

Convenient study options

Benefit from flexible options for full or part-time study.

Teaching and learning

Teaching includes a mixture of lectures and small-group seminar discussions built around readings and other materials. We emphasise the use both of primary sources, and of current research in the field.

Most students will also visit local museums and other sites of interest to work on objects or archives.

All students meet regularly with a mentor from the Centre's PhD community, a designated personal tutor from among the staff, and, from Semester 2, a dissertation supervisor. 

Coursework and assessment

Assessment is mostly based on traditional essay-format coursework submission.

All MSc students undertake a research dissertation accounting for 60 of the 180 credits.

Career opportunities

Many of our students go on to PhD research, whether in HSTM itself, in other fields of history, or in a range of allied subjects including historical geography, science and technology studies, and museum studies. PhD graduates from the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine may go on to academic careers or to relevant specialist roles in areas including publishing, public policy research, and the museums sector.

Other graduates have gone on to a diverse range of careers involving a significant element of specialist expertise on the role of science or medicine in society. These have included museums, science centres and the heritage sector; libraries and archives; media production; journalism; specialist public relations; technical authorship and editing; and policy analyst roles.

The HSTM master's is also a valued qualification for general graduate recruitment, owing to its combination of scientific and medical context with a humanities-style focus on writing skills.


Visit the MSc History of Science, Technology and Medicine page on the The University of Manchester website for more details!

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