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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


PhD in Science and Technology Studies

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The application deadline for this programme is 5 July 2021.

You should identify and contact potential supervisors on the basis of their fit and expertise with your proposed research to advise you wish to study with them and that you are applying for scholarships. Securing agreement in principle of their supervision strengthens your application.

Edinburgh University has long been recognised as a centre of excellence that helped establish the young field of Science, Technology and Innovation Studies. It is the home for the internationally renowned "strong programme" in the sociology of scientific knowledge – that celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2016 – and of a long-standing tradition of studies in the social shaping of technology, particularly Information and Communications Technology. Other areas of significant strength include research on life science innovation, particularly in the Innogen Institute; on Energy and Environmental Sustainability and on the History of Science, Technology and Medicine. The Science, Technology and Innovation Studies subject group (STIS), together with Sociology, were rated as first in the UK for quality and breadth of research in the Research Excellence Framework 2014 (REF2014). STIS hosts the Institute for the Study of Science, Technology and Innovation which brings together scholars and specialist groups from right across the University. Those wanting to apply should contact the Postgraduate Admissions Advisor as soon as possible and much earlier than the deadline stated by the University. Programme applications do not automatically come with funding, this needs to be applied for separately.

Access to perhaps the largest and most interdisciplinary array of academic expertise in science and technology studies in the world allows us to provide training and specialized supervision for research students across a wide range of research topics. Lists of ongoing research projects in the subject group and of our academic staff and their interests can be found at  Our cohort of currently over 40 PhD students plays a key role in our dynamic research culture. Their research encompasses digital music services, organ donation, climate change science, agricultural innovation, narco-submarines and fire safety engineering. Potential applicants may be interested in our list of current research students and of completed PhDs.

We warmly invite social scientists – and also historians, philosophers, natural scientists and engineers – to apply for a PhD in Science and Technology Studies (STS). We are a recognised ESRC outlet for 1+3 and +3 PhD scholarships. This and other funding opportunities can be found here.

Students planning to join our PhD programme will normally be required to first do the foundational MSc by Research in Science and Technology Studies. Candidates with a solid background in STS may be accepted directly into our PhD programme.

Potential applicants are encouraged to contact the Postgraduate Admissions Advisor (Research) to discuss their eligibility, conditions of entrance and the availability of appropriate research supervision:  Please provide a CV and an informal 1-to-3 page written outline of your research interests to help us identify potential supervisors, who can then advise on developing the research proposal that must accompany your application. This contact should be made well in advance of the University deadline, especially if you are applying for funding (programme applications do not come with funding and are independent from funding applications).

Information on how to apply can be found here. Please do contact the Postgraduate Admissions Advisor above before formally applying to the University. Students who will need to apply for a visa to study in the UK should plan to apply at least three to four months prior to 1 September.

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