New Programme - SPS - Science and Technology in Society

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2.
PROGRAMME SPECIFICATION
THE UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH
PROGRAMME SPECIFICATION FOR
MSc in Science and Technology in Society
2.1
Awarding Institution: University of Edinburgh
2.2
Teaching Institution:
Edinburgh
School of Social and Political Science, University of
2.3
Programme Accredited by: N/A
2.4
Final Award: Master of Science (MSc)
2.5
Programme Title: MSc in Science and Technology in Society
2.6
UCAS Code: N/A
2.7
Postholder with Overall Responsibility for QA: Dr Sarah Parry, as Programme
Director
2.8
Date of Production/Revision: XX January 2012
2.9
External Summary (200-250 words)
The MSc in Science and Technology in Society is a comprehensive introduction to an
interdisciplinary field that provides new ways of addressing some of the biggest
challenges facing the modern world. The programme is intended for students wishing to
develop a critical understanding of the role of science, technology and innovation in
society, and places a strong emphasis on acquiring a practical appreciation of the latest
approaches and insights from this vibrant field. In addition, students develop their skills
in research, analysis, writing and communication.
Based in a leading international centre of interdisciplinary research and teaching in
science, technology and innovation studies, the MSc is structured to provide all students
with a common core of knowledge and understanding, while also allowing for specialist
interests. Three core courses provide an introduction to key approaches and
perspectives. Following this, students then choose from a suite of option courses that
develop these perspectives through specialist study of relevant topics including:
information and communication technologies; science and technology for international
development; environment and sustainability; life science and medicine; gender,
science and technology; and advanced theory in science and technology studies.
This degree aims to prepare people for careers in any field where a strategic
understanding of the social dimensions of science, technology and innovation will be of
value, including science, technology and innovation policy and management; medical,
environmental, information or development policy; knowledge exchange and
communication; as well as academic research and teaching. We welcome students from
all backgrounds and subjects - including those already in relevant employment.
2.10 Educational Aims of Programme:
The overarching educational goal of the MSc in Science and Technology in Society is to
provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to understand and critically
engage with the role of science, technology and innovation in the modern world. Three
complementary core courses provide students with a shared understanding of the
theoretical foundations and empirical scope of this interdisciplinary field through an
introduction to state-of-the-art research and discussion. Students then choose from a
suite of optional courses according to their interests. Optional courses allow for
progression by combining in-depth understanding of specific empirical areas while
further developing the students’ theoretical and analytical skills. Finally, students
undertake a supervised dissertation on a topic chosen in discussion with their
supervisor. The provides an opportunity for students to develop their investigative and
research skills, as well as honing their critical and analytical abilities by undertaking an
extended piece of original writing.
The programme assumes no prior learning in science, technology and innovation
studies. Given the interdisciplinary nature of science, technology and innovation
studies, and in view of the diverse backgrounds of students taking this MSc, the
programme is designed not only to introduce students to relevant theoretical and
empirical content, but also to develop their capacity for critical thinking and to
introduce them to a range of research skills in the social sciences.
2.11 Programme Outcomes
The programme outcomes are devised in according with the SCQF Level 11 descriptors.
2.11a Knowledge and Understanding
Graduates of the MSc in Science and Technology in Society will be expected to
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possess a theoretical grounding in the interdisciplinary field of science,
technology and innovation studies
display the ability to critically employ theories and concepts from science,
technology and innovation studies for the analysis of 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, technology and
innovation studies along with an understanding of how this area intersects with
other disciplinary domains.
2.11b Graduate Attributes: Skills and Abilities in Research and Enquiry
By the end of the programme all students will be expected to be able to
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identify, locate and employ information relevant to the study of science,
technology and innovation, through both library resources and other web-based
media
critically apply key social science ideas and concepts to the analysis of science,
technology and innovation
apply a range of analytical perspectives to develop original and creative
responses to problems and issues associated with science, technology and
innovation
plan and execute an original empirical investigation employing the conceptual,
methodological and analytical tools acquired during the programme
2.11c Graduate Attributes: Skills and Abilities in Personal and Intellectual Autonomy
By the end of the programme all students will be expected to
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
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be confident in their abilities to analyse and evaluate a range of issues
surrounding science, technology and innovation in the modern world
be able to creatively employ theories and perspectives from science, technology
and innovation studies to understand and engage with novel cases and situations
be capable of making decisions based upon critical analysis of evidence and the
reflective use of social science perspectives on science, technology and
innovation
2.11d Graduate Attributes: Skills and Abilities in Communication
By the end of the programme all students will be expected to be able to
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confidently convey complex ideas and arguments through oral and written
communication methods
communicate their acquired methodological and analytical skills to academic and
non-academic audiences alike
be aware of the different expectations of academic, policy, practitioner and lay
audiences and to be able to translate between them
2.11e Graduate Attributes: Skills and Abilities in Personal Effectiveness
By the end of the programme all students will be expected to
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
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be able to employ problem-solving skills in both academic and workplace
settings
be able to use evidence and critical perspectives to appraise new and challenging
situations quickly and competently
be aware of a range of social research methods, and their particular strengths
and limitations, in the context of understanding science, technology and
innovation
2.11f Technical and Practical Skills
By the end of the programme students will be expected to
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have improved time management skills
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confidently identify appropriate sources of data and information using a range of
media
be capable of translating academic findings into practical suggestions for public
and policy contexts
be able to present critical analysis of social issues relating to science, technology
and innovation in a number of different modes (oral presentations, short reports,
longer academic analyses)
2.12 Programme Structure and Features
The MSc in Science and Technology in Society program is a Level 11 taught postgraduate
programme that can be taken either full or part time. The programme is 12 months FTE
and full time students must begin in September.
Below is a diagram illustrating the structure of the new MSc in Science and Technology in
Society, indicating the balance between core (shown blue) and option (shown purple)
courses and their distribution through the programme:
Semester One
Science, Knowledge and Expertise
(20 credits)
Understanding Technology (20 credits)
Innovation
Risk Regulation
Systems Theory and Governance
and Practice
(10 credits)
(10 credits)
Semester Two
Option (20 credits or 2 x 10 credits)
Option (20 credits or 2 x 10 credits)
Option (20 credits or 2 x 10 credits)
Dissertation (60 credits)
There are two exits:
i.
In keeping with University regulations students must obtain 180 credits to exit
with an MSc in Science and Technology in Society, or
ii. Students who do not meet the University requirements and only obtain 120
credits will be able to exit with a Diploma in Science and Technology in Society.
For the MSc., 180 credits will be made of 60 credits of core courses (shown blue), 60
credits of options (shown purple) and a 60 credit dissertation (shown blue).
In Semester One, students must take 60 credits of core courses. Of these, the two 10credit courses are shared with the MSc in Management of Bioeconomy, Innovation and
Governance, while the remaining two 20-credit courses are newly proposed (see below).
Where appropriate and possible, the content of the two 20-credit core courses will
develop in parallel, so that the two courses mirror and reinforce one another; e.g. Week
7: ‘Science in everyday life’ and ‘Technology in everyday life’.
We have permission to include the two new core-courses – Science, Knowledge and
Expertise & Understanding Technology on the following programme DPTs:
MSc in Anthropology of Health and Illness
MSc in International Development
MSc in Social Research
MSc in Management of Bioeconomy, Innovation and Governance
MSc in Science, Technology and International Development
MSc in Global Crime, Justice and Security
MSc South Asia and International Development
In Semester Two, students must take 60 credits of optional courses offered by STIS or
beyond. (*Alternatively, with the permission of the programme director, students may
take 80 credits of courses in Semester One, with 40 credits in Semester Two). The
option courses allow students to apply and develop the knowledge gained from the core
courses while also pursuing their personal interests through a broad range of more
specialist or advanced courses. Based on findings from the market research we have
undertaken, we will retain a number of the existing specialist option courses (hosted by
STIS):
Supervised Reading in Science and Technology Studies (20 credit)
Supervised Reading in Science and Technology Studies (10 credit)
Internet Society and Economy
ICT for Development
Foundations of Science, Technology and Development
Gender, Science and Technology
Armed Force and Society
Genetics, Nature and Society
Social Dimensions of Systems and Synthetic Biology
Energy Policy and Politics (10 credit)
Energy Policy and Politics (20 credit)
Man and the Natural World in the Enlightenment
Sociology of Environment and Risk
Code
SCSU11006
SCSU11007
PGSP11116
PGSP11293
PGSP11287
PGSP11217
PGSP11245
PGSP11024
RCSS11001
PGSP11133
PGSP11132
PGHC11205
PGSP11231
We also have permission from the course convenors to list the following as Semester
Two options:
Analysing Qualitative Data
Anthropology and International Health
Belief, Thought and Language
Contemporary Social Theory
Consumption, Exchange, Technology: The Anthropology of Economic Processes
Development Research Methods
Foundations of Science, Technology and International Development
Global Environmental Politics
Magic, Science and Healing
Multi-Level Democracy and Public Policy
Political Issues in Public Policy
Qualitative Methods and Ethnographic Fieldwork
Reflexivity in Qualitative Research
Research Design
Social Dimensions of Systems and Synthetic Biology
Survey Methods and Data
Code
PGSP11110
PGSP11072
PGSP11174
PGSP11276
PGSP11176
PGSP11255
PGSP11287
PGSP11299
PGSP11185
PGSP11127
PGSP11247
PGSP11188
SCWR11001
PGSP11208
RCSS11001
PGSP11157
We are also proposing two new 20-credit optional courses:
i.
Theories and Perspectives in Science and Technology Studies.
This course is aimed at students wishing to take an advanced theory course and
also appeal to MSc by Research students whose research is in the area of science,
technology and innovation studies.
ii. Controversies, Consensus and Public Engagement in Science and Technology.
This course will focus on the dynamics of public debate and opinion formation
around science and technology, where science and technology interface,
particularly around controversial issues. The course will have wide appeal in
University, including to students in the natural sciences and those enrolled on
the proposed MSc in Science Communication (School of Biomedical Sciences).
These new courses will be proposed to the next School Postgraduate Board of Studies
with a view to them being ready for the 2013 launch of the MSc in Science and
Technology in Society programme.
We acknowledge the Graduate School’s rules regarding low-recruiting courses and will, in
most cases, only run non-core courses with more than 10 students.
Finally, in order to provide unity amongst the students in Semester Two we plan to
develop an exciting timetable of extracurricular events, seminars and lunchtime
thematic lectures that bring all students together.
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