Science, History and Society MA
Year of entry 2023
- Start date
- September 2023
- Delivery type
- On campus
- 12 months full time
- 24 months part time
- Entry requirements
- A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons)
Full entry requirements
- English language requirements
- IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component
- UK fees
- £10,750 (total)
- International fees
- £22,250 (total)
Science influences every conceivable facet of modern life, from what we eat, to how we talk, and when we die. But how did we get here? And what does it all mean for where we go next?
This Masters course examines scientific knowledge and its medical and technological applications. You’ll acquire a critical and analytical understanding of how science has developed, as well as how it has shaped the world we live in.
You’ll be trained in research methods that are specific to history and the humanities, to develop narrative communication skills, and to critically analyse scientific knowledge production. You’ll also examine the big debates in the development and curation of science.
You’ll also have access to our excellent libraries and archives. In the Brotherton Library, our Special Collections include Newton’s Principia, a first edition of his Opticks plus rare books and journals from the 16th century onwards on topics such as astronomy, botany, medicine, physiology, chemistry, inventions and alchemy. You’ll also be able to explore the objects in our Museum of the History of Science, Technology and Medicine.
We specialise in post 17th century History, and enjoy close links with our partner centres in the School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science, as well as other disciplines at the University. Our blog showcases our expertise across diverse topics including history of midwifery, medical humanities, history of genetics, scientific explanation, history of electricity, philosophy of biology, science and religion, history of science communication, history of psychiatry and self-help, history of visual culture in medicine.
Our busy Research Centre hosts regular seminars given by visiting speakers, staff members and doctoral students and which all postgraduate students are encouraged to attend. We regularly host national and international conferences and workshops. There are also reading groups on a wide range of topics such as climate change, history of technology, science policy, history of biology and even science fiction. Our lively postgraduate community organises a variety of meetings and joint projects, as well as engaging with local schools and partner institutions. You can even help to curate our in-house Museum of History of Science, Technology and Medicine or adjudicate our annual ‘HPS in 20 objects’ essay competition.
You can study part time or full time, and you’ll join our vibrant and friendly research community of academics, postdoctoral researchers, visiting fellows and alumni from around the globe.
Our wide range of modules allow you to tailor your studies to suit your interests.
Big issues in the History of Science: In your first semester you’ll take a compulsory module introducing you to key debates in the history and historiography of science, medicine and technology. You’ll encounter radically different narratives about scientific development – such as Marxist, Feminist, and Foucauldian narratives. You’ll weigh up the pros and cons of different historiographical methods, such as practice-oriented, communication-oriented, and object-oriented approaches. You’ll debate the value of integrated histories and philosophies of science.
Making Histories of Science: In the second semester a compulsory module will teach you practical historical skills and research methods, equipping you to work critically and sensitively with primary and secondary sources. You’ll learn how to locate and exploit resources, to interpret material objects and visual culture, conduct interviews, and navigate archives, as well how to design a research project and construct a historical narrative.
Optional modules throughout the year give you an opportunity to select specific sciences, to pursue philosophical perspectives, or to look at particular global or social contexts depending on your own interests. You’ll also have the chance to do a practical placement with a museum, archive or media organisation.
At the end of your course you’ll submit a dissertation, which is an independently researched piece of work on a topic of your choice within the history of science, technology and medicine – and you can choose to take an extended dissertation if you want to go into even greater depth. You’ll be supervised by one of our resident expert historians and philosophers of science.
If you choose to do a placement, you’ll get hands-on experience working one day a week with one of our partner organisations, which include national as well as Leeds-based organisations in heritage, culture and the third sector.
You’ll graduate with excellent written and oral presentation skills. You’ll also have developed a range of transferrable skills to aid you in further study or employment, whilst also acquiring a deep understanding of science, of the way we remember science, and of science’s place in society.
If you choose to study part-time, you’ll study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.
We welcome applications from international students, from mature students, and from students with backgrounds in the sciences, as well as in arts and the humanities.
The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.
For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Science, History and Society MA Full Time in the course catalogue
For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Science, History and Society MA Part Time in the course catalogue
Year 1 compulsory modules
|Making Histories of Science, Technology and Medicine||30|
|Big Issues in History of Science, Technology and Medicine||30|
Year 1 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)
|Medicine and Warfare in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries||30|
|Sexuality and Disease in African History||30|
|History and Philosophy of Science: Dissertation||60|
|Topics in the Philosophy of Physics||30|
|Perspectives on Mind, Brain & Society||30|
|History & Theory of Modern Science Communication||30|
|The Origin of Modern Medicine (Birth of the Clinic)||30|
|History and Philosophy of Science: Extended Dissertation||90|
|History and Philosophy of Technology||30|
|Philosophy of the Social Sciences||30|
|Topics in the Philosophy of Biology||30|
Learning and teaching
Most of our modules are taught through a combination of lectures and seminars, where you can discuss the issues arising from your reading with fellow students and your tutor.
You’ll also have one-to-one supervisions while you work on your dissertation. Independent study is also an important element of the course, allowing you to develop your skills and pursue your own interests more closely.
Watch our MA Science, History and Society subject talk to get a flavour of what it’s like to study at Leeds.
On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.
A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (Hons) in history or a related subject such as a science or social science, or a degree that includes modules in history of science, technology or medicine.
Our admissions team are experienced in considering a wide range of international qualifications. If you wish to discuss whether your qualifications will meet the necessary entry criteria, contact the School’s admissions team. You can also check the accepted qualifications for your country or region.
English language requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component.
Improve your English
International students who do not meet the English language requirements for this programme may be able to study our postgraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.
This pre-sessional course is designed with a progression route to your degree programme and you’ll learn academic English in the context of your subject area. To find out more, read Language for Arts and Humanities (6 weeks) and Language for Social Science and Arts: Arts and Humanities (10 weeks).
We also offer online pre-sessionals alongside our on-campus pre-sessionals. You could study a part-time online course starting in January, or a full-time course in summer. Find out more about online pre-sessionals.
You can also study pre-sessionals for longer periods – read about our postgraduate pre-sessional English courses.
How to apply
The ‘Apply’ link at the top of this page takes you to information on applying for taught programmes and to the University's online application system.
If you're unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.
Documents and information you need
Copies of your degree certificate and full transcript, or a partial transcript if you’re still studying.
A sample of your written work (2,000-3,000 words) on a topic relevant to the course. All samples must be typed and in English.
A personal statement of around 500 words, in response to the questions asked in the supporting statement section of the application.
The Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures receives very large numbers of high-quality applications and regrets that it cannot make offers to all of its applicants. Some particularly popular schools may have to reject many that hold the necessary academic qualifications.
University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy 2023
Postgraduate Administration Office
UK: £10,750 (total)
International: £22,250 (total)
Read more about paying fees and charges.
For fees information for international taught postgraduate students, read Masters fees.
Fees for part-time courses are normally calculated based on the number of credits you study in a year compared to the equivalent full-time course. For example, if you study half the course credits in a year, you will pay half the full-time course fees for that year.
Additional cost information
There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs.
Scholarships and financial support
If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There may be help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more at Masters funding overview.
You may be eligible for futher scholarships and funding, please see our School website for details.
The School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science has an excellent record of former students going on to a wide variety of careers and further study.
You’ll graduate from this course well-prepared for further study at PhD level, but also for a range of non-academic careers, for example at scientific foundations and institutions, in science communication and media, science policy, campaign groups and think tanks, public engagement via museums and heritage organisations, archival work, science PR and consultancy.
If you are currently a school teacher you may also wish to use the course to support your continuing professional development.
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. Thats one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.