School of Social and Political Science

MSc Science and Technology in Society

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The deadline to apply for September 2024 entry is Monday 1 July 2024.

Science, technology and innovation are central to contemporary society, solving and creating challenges in equal measure

This MSc programme examines the social, political and cultural dimensions of science, technology and innovation. 

We study, analyse, and critically reflect upon the interplay between science (and technology) and society. While the course does not involve ‘doing’ science, we study the ways science is produced, used, regulated and, sometimes, contested. These studies require that we look at the manifold contexts in which science and technology ‘happen’ and that we make use of the full range of key theoretical perspectives developed in the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS).

Our department hosts one of the leading international centres of interdisciplinary research and teaching in science, technology and innovation studies. You will be studying as part of a vibrant community of scholars with over fifty years of international leadership within the field.

As such, you’ll be able to call on the expertise of our highly regarded academic staff, particularly in the areas of:

  • sociology and social history of science and technology
  • sociology and economics of the life sciences and medicine
  • social shaping of technology
  • science and technology for international development
  • management of technology and innovation
  • politics of public engagement with science and technology


Is this programme for you?

We welcome students from a range of disciplinary backgrounds with a keen interest in the complex and rapidly evolving relationships between science, technology and society. While this programme is primarily suited for those with some background in the social sciences, history and the humanities, we have students from a wide range of backgrounds. Our students are united by a desire to critically understand and reflect on science and technology in their social contexts.

You should be aware that this is a social science programme and that good writing skills displaying reflection, insight and analytical ability will be required.  You will be asked to read a significant quantity of complex texts on a weekly basis in order to engage in class debates and coursework. You will also need to write lengthy essays and a dissertation.


The programme offers a comprehensive introduction to the interdisciplinary field of science, technology and innovation studies, and is intended for students wishing to develop a theoretical and practical understanding of the role of science, technology and innovation in society.

The MSc Science and Technology in Society is a social science programme whose overall educational goal is to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to understand and critically engage with the societal role of science and technology in the modern world.


This programme is delivered through: 

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • group work
  • guided independent study

Core courses

In Semester 1, you will take three foundational core courses. These complementary core courses offer a shared understanding of the theoretical foundations and empirical scope of the interdisciplinary field of science & technology studies.

Optional courses

In semester 2, you will choose from a number of optional courses that allow you to tailor your studies to suit your own aims and interests. Optional courses will allow you to build an in-depth understanding of specific empirical areas while further developing your theoretical and analytical skills. These courses can be chosen from postgraduate offerings within the Science, Technology and Innovation Studies (STIS) subject group or more broadly from the School of Social and Political Sciences.


Finally, you will concentrate on researching and writing a dissertation of 15,000 words. Here, you will identify a topic chosen in discussion with your supervisor. The dissertation provides an opportunity to develop investigative and research skills, as well as honing critical and analytical abilities by undertaking an extended piece of original writing.

Programme structure overview

Further Details

  • teaching takes place primarily through a combination of lectures and discussion-based seminar sessions
  • the assessment of courses is based, in general, on a written essay, in some cases combined with a shorter piece of work such as a book review, policy brief or blogpost.

MSc Science and Technology in Society programme handbook

Career opportunities

This programme is ideally suited to students looking to enter a career in academia, science communication, policy and government, social research and analysis, and non-governmental organisations.

You will also develop a range of highly transferable skills, such as communication and project management, which can be applied to roles in any field.

How to apply

Find out more about how to apply for this programme

Tuition fees

Award Title Duration Study mode  
MSc   1 Year Full-time Tuition fees
MSc   2 Years Part-time Tuition fees