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Science and Technology

The Science and Technology Studies (STS) pathway through the MSc in Social Science Research Methods provides students with theoretical, analytical and methodological skills needed to investigate science, technology and innovation as social phenomena. The programme builds on Cardiff’s international reputation as a leading centre in the sociology of scientific and biomedical knowledge. Students receive a comprehensive training in the key conceptual approaches within STS and are encouraged to develop a critical understanding of the role of science and technology in contemporary societies.

The Science and Technology Studies pathway is recognised by the ESRC as providing research methods training needed for doctoral research. As such, the scheme stresses the development of a broad range of research methods skills and their application in the context of science studies research. Drawing upon the highly acclaimed interdisciplinary expertise of the School of Social Sciences, strong international links, and upon an active research oriented team, the programme provides a comprehensive introduction to the interdisciplinary and exciting field of science and technology studies.

The MSc in Social Science Research Methods provides an excellent preparation for research-based careers in the field of Science and Technology. Applicants are welcome to take the MSc as a stand alone programme, either as a preparation for other study or as a post-experience qualification. This MSc provides an excellent preparation for research-based careers. Students may apply for ESRC funding to study the course as part of the ‘1+3’ scheme or after successfully completing the course, can apply to the ESRC for ‘+3’ funding. Students considering a career in science communication should also consider the more vocationally orientated MSc in Science, Media and Communication.

The MSc programme is as follows:

Semester 1: October - January

Compulsory/Subject Specific Modules

Quantitative Research I [10 credits]

Qualitative Research I [10 credits]

Research and Study Skills [10 credits]

Principles of Research Design [10 credits]

Advanced Specialist Option

Theorising Knowledge and Expertise [10 credits]

Biomedical Knowledge [10 credits]

Semester 2: January - June

Compulsory/Subject Specific Modules

Research and Design in Practice [10 credits]

Quantitative Research II [10 credits]

Qualitative Research II [10 credits]

Advanced Specialist Option

Science in the Risk Society[10 credits]

Advanced Specialist Option[10 credits]

Advanced Research Methods Option

Advanced Research Methods Option [10 credits]

June - September

Advanced Specialist Option

Dissertation [60 credits]

To obtain the masters degree students must successfully complete taught courses to the value of 120 credits and a 20,000 word dissertation. The programme is divided into the following elements:

  • Generic Methods modules: These modules are designed to meet the generic research methods training requirements of the ESRC. They provide a thorough grounding in core social science skills including philosophy of social science, research design and the collection and analysis of qualitative and quantitative data.
  • Specialist STS modules: These modules are designed to meet the specialist requirements of the ESRC’s STS pathway. They provide a systematic introduction to the specific challenges and approaches found within the field of STS. Topics covered include key theoretical approaches in STS and practical issues arising from the investigation of complex, interdisciplinary topics such as bio-medical knowledge, the nature of expertise and the public understanding of science and technology.
  • Methods and Specialist options: These optional modules provide students with the chance to tailor the degree studies to their own research interests by developing additional skills in a particular methodological and/or substantive domain.
  • Dissertation: Given the emphasis on research methods training throughout the scheme, the dissertation is a crucial element, giving students the opportunity to apply the methodological and analytic skills developed in the taught element of the scheme to a specific topic.

The degree scheme is designed to meet the generic and subject specific requirements set out in the ESRC’s Postgraduate Training Guidelines.