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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Science Studies Unit

Undergraduate Course: Science and Society 1A (SCSU08001)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course considers the social nature of science and scientific knowledge, as well as the relationship between science and wider society. Unit 1 (the anatomy of science) systematically explores important elements of scientific practice; for instance, observation, experimentation, theories and replication; and examines their fundamentally social character. In Unit 2 (Science Contextualised), students study the place of science in relation to, and as a central tool in shaping, other major social phenomena. Topics here include: Science and Politics; Science and the Environment; Science and the Law; Scientific Expertise in Society. The course studies science internally and externally using a variety of readings, including historical and sociological case studies from physics, biology and chemistry. The course will be intelligible to students of any disciplinary background.
Course description Not entered
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2015/16, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 33, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 163 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Assessed by a short assessment approx. midway through the course (for up to 30% of the overall mark); and a long 2,000 word essay, submitted via Learn to a deadline date, for the remaining possible 70% of the overall mark. In order to pass the course, the long essay must be passed.
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Question the usual picture of science as something separate from society, and of scientific knowledge as pure, objective truth. Replace this picture with a more nuanced and empirically accurate understanding of science, scientists and scientific knowledge.
  2. Appreciate and understand the complexities of scientific practice and of scientific judgement.
  3. Understand and make use of the basic tools of the sociology of science and of scientific knowledge. Grasp the central tenet that science is a social institution, and apply this comprehension in exploring the work of scientists, for example in legal or in media contexts.
  4. Describe the position of science as part of wider society, and account for the development of scientific knowledge in relation to other major social phenomena. Also, discuss the behaviour of scientists, politicians and other stakeholders based on such social factors.
  5. Be able to use both primary and secondary sources in essays and written analyses.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserProf Steven Yearley
Tel: (0131 6)51 4747
Course secretaryMr Alexander Dysart
Tel: (0131 6)51 5197
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