Science, Technology and Contemporary Society MSc

  • Overview
  • Course Content
  • Special Features
  • Teaching & Assessment
  • Employability
  • Fees
  • Entry Criteria

About the Course

This exciting new MSc course will enable you to employ inter-disciplinary approaches of Science and Technology Studies in combination with elements from cutting-edge Media and Communications studies. You will critically examine the cultures of technology and science and their relationships with contemporary society. The course examines technology and science as culture and in culture, addressing many of the problems and concerns of modern societies. The sociology of science and technology is of one the most rapidly growing areas within the field of social science.  

The purpose of the programme is to enable students to combine training in key theories and concepts with the study of real world problems and issues. The programme will enable students to apply these theories and concepts critically, equipping them with the skills necessary to engage with debates about the nature of contemporary ‘techno-science societies’.  

We offer a unique and exciting approach to this field which draws on a large team of leading researchers across departments and Colleges within Brunel that few UK universities can match.


The central aim is to develop the student’s understanding of the factors which shape the emergence and development of the links between Science, Technology and Contemporary Society and deepen that understanding through the study of a selection of important areas.  

Specifically, the programme aims to:
  • enable students to critically apply the key theories and concepts used in science and technology studies and to the shaping of ‘techno-science societies.
  • equip students with the sociological skills necessary to engage with the key debates in the interrelated fields of science, technology and society.
  • broaden and deepen the student’s appreciation of common problems in the social and cultural study of science and technology and to explore the ways these are addressed in different societies.
  • convey an understanding of the technical and philosophical aspects of multidisciplinary research on science, technology and society.
  • provide a stimulating teaching and learning environment by allowing students to benefit from first hand exposure to world class staff research.
  • provide an open and supportive learning environment in a small and friendly Department by encouraging students to draw on their own experiences and relate them to the courses.
  • offer skilled supervision to enable students to attain a high level of competence in the design and execution of a biomedical social science studies research project which forms a major element of their assessment.


Admissions and Course Enquiries
Web: Admissions Enquiries Information
Tel (before application): +44 (0)1895 265599 (Course Enquiries)
Tel (after application): +44 (0)1895 265265 (Admissions Office)
Contact Admissions or Course Enquiries Online

Related Courses

Course Content

Typical Modules

All modules are subject to change.

Compulsory modules

  • Science, Technology and Contemporary Society
  • Dissertation in Science, Technology and Contemporary Society

Core modules

  • Science and Policy Engagement

Optional Modules

Sociology and Communications

  • Bioethics and Society
  • Body, Media and Society
  • Forensic Science and Society
  • Global Media
  • Issues and Controversies in Media and Communications
  • Making Web Cultures
  • Media Audiences
  • Medicine, Bioscience and Society
  • Popular Culture
  • Qualitative Methods in Social and Cultural Research
  • Quantitative Data Analysis
  • Sociology of Health and Illness
  • The Creative Industries


  • Anthropology and Global Health
  • Anthropology of Biomedicine and Psychiatry
  • Anthropology of Disability and Difference
  • Anthropology of the Body
  • Anthropology of the Person
  • Kinship and New Directions in Anthropology
  • Medical Anthropology in Clinical and Community Settings


  • Multidisciplinary Approaches to Health
  • Psychology of Managing Illness
  • Understanding Health 

Typical Dissertations

Examples of dissertations in previous Master’s programmes run by CBAS:
  • ‘Some babies are more special than others’: overcoming the shortage of donor oocytes in the UK.
  • An investigation into whether extremely premature babies should be resuscitated.
  • Changing perspectives of egg donation in the United Kingdom: a social science review.
  • Pharmaceutical regulatory reform and pharmaceutical clinical trial data.
  • Influence of the internet on medical education.
  • Informed consent in Alzheimer’s research: views of professional working in academic and pharmaceutical settings.
  • Interpreting the changes in Tomorrow’s Doctors through a sociological lens.
  • Learning to see: the role of the visual in dermatology.
  • The sociology of undergraduate medical education: is there a place for the non-natural sciences in medical curricula?

Special Features

  • The only Sociology Department to offer a cluster of complementary Master’s programmes covering health, medicine and technology from a sociological/science studies perspective:
  • MSc Medicine, Bioscience and Society
  • MSc Science, Technology and Contemporary Society
  • MSc Sociology of Health and Illness
  • This choice of programmes enables students to specialise within this exciting field.
  • A unique and inter-disciplinary approach enables students to explore modules across Medical Sociology and Anthropology, Science and Technology, and Media and Communications.
  • Internationally renowned, the Centre for Biomedicine and Society (CBAS) has an expanded research remit (including forensics and media studies), offering the opportunity to study in a large, vibrant and innovative research community.
  • Professors Clare Williams and Steven Wainwright are editors of the Journal of Sociology of Health and Illness.
  • Strong links with international institutions and the opportunity to study abroad. These include the Rathenau Institute in The Hague, Europe’s leading centre for Science Policy Research, and Goethe University in Frankfurt, a leading international research university.
  • The widest choice of modules and related programmes in South East England and one of only a few universities to provide options in Anthropology and Psychology.
  • A focus on real world issues such as experiences of health and illness, inequalities in health, and the changing role of the health professions.
  • Taught by renowned experts who are actively engaged in the media and are sought-after by policy makers –  find out more about our course team and their research projects.

Cluster programme guide:

Medicine, Bioscience and Society MSc
  • Primary focus on medicine and bioscience from a sociological/science studies perspective
  • Minimimal discussion of natural and environmental sciences, non-bio technologies and the social shaping and experiences of health and illness
Science Technology and Contemporary Society MSc
  • Primary focus on science and technology from a sociological / science studies perspective
  • Minimal discussion of the life sciences and health technologies
Sociology of Health and Illness MSc
  • Primary focus on sociology and illness from a sociological perspective
  • Secondary focus on innovative health technologies

Teaching and Learning

You will be taught via a combination of lectures, seminars, workshops, tutorials and film.


You will be taught via a combination of lectures, seminars, workshops, tutorials, film and examination (for some options only).


  • Brunel students will benefit from our inter-disciplinary research-led approach (informed by our research centre CBAS) and our international opportunities, developing ‘distinctive graduates’ who will be highly desirable to employers.
  • Students will develop their critical thinking skills and will be encouraged undertake effective independent learning though a variety of student-centred teaching methods, assessment and a major research project.
  • The programme is relevant to those who work in the healthcare, science and technology sectors, and aims to encourage knowledge transfer (from ‘University to work’ and vice versa) by encouraging a critical engagement with the worlds of non life science technologies and the sciences.


  • Further study – PhD in a similar subject and an opportunity to study/collaborate with our international partners.
  • Further professional study e.g. as a bridge to a degree in Medicine or Dentistry.
  • A wide range of careers in the health and bioscience sectors – potential jobs after completing this course include clinical trials manager in a pharmaceutical company, research associate in clinical and non-clinical research studies at the interface of medicine and society, science writer, roles within medical charity organisations, and many more.

At Brunel we provide many opportunities and experiences within your degree programme and beyond – work-based learning, professional support services, volunteering, mentoring, sports, arts, clubs, societies, and much, much more – and we encourage you to make the most of them, so that you can make the most of yourself.

» More about Employability

Fees for 2014/15 entry

UK/EU students: £6,250 full-time; £3,125 part-time

International students: £14,250 full-time; £7,125 part-time

Read about funding opportunities available to postgraduate students

Fees quoted are per annum and are subject to an annual increase.

Entry Requirements

A relevant UK honours degree of 2:1 standard or overseas equivalent.  
We expect the programme will appeal to students from social science, humanities, and engineering and natural science backgrounds.  

English Language Requirements

  • IELTS: 6.5 (min 6 in all areas)
  • Pearson: 58 (51 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 65% (min 60% in all areas)

Brunel also offers our own BrunELT English Test and accept a range of other language courses. We also have a range of Pre-sessional English language courses, for students who do not meet these requirements, or who wish to improve their English.

Our International Pathways and Language Centre offers a range of foundation and pre-masters courses to provide you with the academic skills required for your chosen course.

Page last updated: Wednesday 27 August 2014