Pathway Leader:
Professor Brian Balmer

Pathway Institution Training Route 1+3 2+3 +3 +4
Science and Technology Studies UCL History and Philosophy of Science
UCL Science, Technology and Society

The Science & Technology Studies (STS) pathway is based primarily in UCL’s Department of Science & Technology Studies, which has an international reputation for outstanding interdisciplinary work in history, philosophy and social studies of science. Its key strengths within the remit of the ESRC are (i) public engagement with science (ii) history of 20th century science and science policy and (iii) science and technology governance. The department is the largest of its type in the UK, in terms of full-time permanent staff, and offers a full range of undergraduate and post-graduate courses and degree programmes and contributes to other courses across UCL.  Recent and on-going research in the department includes: theorising, measuring and building capacity for ‘responsible research and innovation’; the history of computing; history of natural history and evolutionary biology; history of the ‘brain drain’ debate; equity in informal science learning; history and governance of military technology; sociology of geoengineering research; public attitudes to new energy technologies; and the history and sociology of economics. Staff maintain considerable links with user communities such as relevant government departments, museums, natural scientists and science-related NGOs. This vibrant research and teaching environment offers students highly interdisciplinary training that equips them to address several ESRC strategic challenges. We are also extremely well-placed to co-supervise students across departments, with recent examples including co-supervision with Anthropology, Geography, Psychology and Security and Crime Science. It is notable that many of our PhD students, and most ESRC-funded PhD students, supervised or co-supervised by the STS department who graduated in the past decade, have continued to academic careers or academic-related science policy careers.

The pathway offers two routes that cover different aspects of STS, both in 1+3 and +3 structures. The 1+3 structures are based on the MSc in Science, Technology & Society and MSc History and Philosophy of Science. The field of STS is both multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary and students enrolling on this pathway come from a wide range of disciplines. Many have little or no background in social sciences or humanities. Consequently, conversion training is required to enable all students to acquire the relevant competencies and understandings.  Students entering the +3 structure are required to demonstrate that they have received equivalent training already, via an MSc or an MA in STS.

Prospective students are encouraged to make preliminary informal enquiries with potential supervisors within the Pathway.   For Pathway-specific enquiries please contact the Pathway Lead, Dr Taigo Mata ( See for details of the UCL Science & Technology Studies Department.