MSc. in Science and Technology in Society

Who should we believe in the global warming controversy? Are drug companies acting in our best interests? Who should have a say in deciding whether a technology comes to market? What is the relationship between science and religious belief? Or is the internet promoting democracy?

Science and technology are powerful agents of change in society. But government policies, economies, cultures and values also shape the development and direction of scientific research and technological innovation. The MSc. in Science and Technology in Society examines the social, political and cultural aspects of science, technology and innovation.

This MSc. programme provides a comprehensive introduction to the interdisciplinary field of science and technology studies. It is intended for students wanting to develop a critical understanding of the role of science, technology and innovation in society. In addition, students develop their skills in research, analysis, writing and communication.

Students from a wide variety of academic backgrounds are welcome, including science and engineering, social science and humanities. The programme is also designed for people with work experience in related fields such as science communication, social research and management consultancy.

University / Institution

The University of Edinburgh, Science, Technology and Innovation Studies


Master of Science (MSc.)

Aims of the Study Programme

A graduate of the MSc. in Science and Technology in Society will be expected to have acquired many valueable skills:

  • Possess a theoretical grounding in the interdisciplinary field of science and technology studies.
  • Display the ability to critically employ theories and concepts from science and technology studies to analyse a range of empirical examples.
  • Understand the methodological and epistemological underpinnings of a range of social science approaches for understanding science, technology and innovation.
  • Have a critical awareness of current issues in the area of science and technology studies along with an understanding of how this area intersects with other disciplinary domains.
  • Be able to communicate her acquired methodological and analytical insights to academic and non-academic audiences.
  • Be capable of translating academic findings from science and technology studies into practical suggestions for public and policy contexts.

Topics and curriculum

In Semester One, students will take four foundational core courses. These complementary core courses offer a shared understanding of the theoretical foundations and empirical scope of the interdisciplinary field of science and technology studies:

  • Science, Knowledge and Expertise
  • Understanding Technology
  • Innovation Systems: Theory and Practice
  • Introduction to Risk, Regulation and Governance

In Semester Two, students will choose from a number of optional courses that allow them to tailor their studies to suit their own aims and interests. Optional courses will allow them to build an in-depth understanding of specific empirical areas while further developing their 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. Topics include (but are not limited to): medical sociology; social studies of internet and digital technologies; energy systems, politics and policies; gender, science and technology; and the social, political and economic dimensions of modern biotechnologies.

Please consult the degree programme table (DPT) of the programme for an overview of available optional courses. Note that the records will be updated by the end of August for each academic year. Some courses might not run some years due to staff availability.

Finally, students will concentrate on researching and writing a dissertation of 15,000 words. Here, they 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.

Time to complete

The MSc. in Science and Technology in Society can be completed in one year if studied full-time, or two years as a part-time student.

Start of studies


Requirements and Admission

The University of Edinburgh welcomes applications from well-qualified students from Germany. Students must have the equivalent of a very good UK Bachelor degree in order to be considered for direct admission to postgraduate study at the University of Edinburgh. The minimum requirement is a Bachelor's degree/Diplom/Magister Artium/Diplom (FH), from an accredited higher education institution with a minimum average grade of 2.5 or better. Moreover, the following documents are required:

  • Degree certificate(s) for all previous degrees. Please note that this can be provided after assessment in most cases.
  • Final/interim transcript(s) for all previous and current degrees. Interim transcripts with current cumulative averages are acceptable for those still studying, though the final average is required if the degree has been completed.
  • Grading scale(s) for each university transcript is submitted.
  • If work experience is to be taken into consideration, an up–to–date CV and work reference is required.

Language requirements

As all students must be able to read textbooks, understand lectures, take part in classroom discussions and undertake written work in English, proof of academic-level English is required of all applicants. For more information about the language requirements, including a list of approved Secure English Language Tests (SELT), please consult this website.

Further, comprehensive information about applying for postgraduate study at the University of Edinburgh can be found here.

Target Group/Students

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.

Science and Technology in Society alumni have found rewarding employment in government and policy-making roles, consultancy, industry and business research and development. Also, many of our students progress into further levels of academia or education.

Deadline for applications

The application deadline for the MSc. in Science and Technology in Society is 13 July, 2018.

Further Information and contact persons

For further information, please visit the programme website.

You can also contact Dr. Pablo Schyfter, Science and Technology in Society Programme Director.