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SCIENCE STUDIES

Introduction

I chose a PhD degree programme because I really like the study environment here at the centre, as well as the combination of arts and science subjects with a humanistic angle on science. I personally feel I’ve found a good niche, because I hope to link science journalism and research. My attitude is that relaying information is a part of the research, not an extra burden that researchers are obliged to carry out. In fact I think everything can be explained, if you simply think about the language you use for the target group.

GUNVER LYSTBÆK VESTERGÅRD
PhD student, Centre for Science Studies


Science and technology form part of our day-to-day lives wherever we are, and we constantly have to make decisions drawing on scientific and technological knowledge. Natural scientists tell us the significance of C02 in relation to climate change, and when we have to decide whether to reduce C02 emissions, we need to understand what sort of knowledge we have and on what it is based. The MSc in Science Studies provides you with insight into how scientific discoveries and knowledge have affected our lives and our societies. You learn to place scientific knowledge within historical, philosophical and social perspective, and you work comprehensively with the many challenges and opportunities that science provides.

SCIENCE, CULTURE AND SOCIETY

The MSc in Science Studies is open to students with a BSc degree in science and an interest in gaining a wider perspective on how the natural sciences have developed in their interaction with society and contemporary culture. The programme includes the following themes supplementing students’ basic studies in science: history and philosophy of science; science, technology and innovation; science and society; and science and communication.

As a student in science studies, you will learn to understand the social and philosophical implications of science, the forces driving technologicalchange, and contemporary developments within research and public understanding of science. Knowledge of the development of science and the ability to analyse science in a cultural and societal context can be useful in many different situations. For example, graduates may choose to work with communicating science and its challenges and opportunities to the general public through the media. Their knowledge of the interaction between the natural sciences, technology and society can be applied in public administration, the business community and in many different organisations. With a BSc degree in science and the broad perspective provided by the MSc in Science Studies, graduates are well prepared to enter into multidisciplinary collaboration with colleagues in many different fields. The MSc programme also qualifies graduates for a research career in science studies.

AN INTIMATE STUDY ENVIRONMENT

The MSc in Science Studies programme is taught in the framework of a small centre where students benefit from an international, yet informal, down-to-earth atmosphere between staff and students. As an MSc student, you will have excellent opportunities for engaging in projects related to current research and/or practical content, and you will have the option to specialise in many different subjects.

Admission requirements

Admission requirements

The following Bachelor’s degrees qualify students for admission to the Master’s degree programme in History of Science:

  • A Bachelor of Science degree from a Danish university.

The following other degrees can provide admission to the Master’s degree programme in History of Science:

  • A Bachelor’s degree amounting to at least 60 ECTS credits in History of Science can qualify the student for admission.
  • Other qualifications can provide admission to the Master’s degree programme, provided the university assesses that their level, extent and content correspond to the degrees mentioned above.

Language requirements

Since English is the language of instruction in all subjects, all applicants are required to provide evidence of their English language proficiency.
Please see the page on language requirements.

Documentation

Please see the general admission requirements.

Programme structure

The Master’s degree in science studies counts as 120 ECTS credits and mainly consists of subjects within these topics:

  • History and philosophy of science
  • Science and society
  • Science and Technology
  • Science Communication

You specialize in one of these topics by participating in course activities and projects and by writing a thesis (30/60 ECTS). During your very first week, you structure your own individual study program with the help of a teacher from the Centre for Science Studies by choosing courses from a course catalogue. Your program is based on your academic qualifications and interests and the subjects you studied for your Bachelor’s degree. The plan must be approved by the Board of Studies before you can enroll for examinations.

For more information about the individual courses in science studies, see: css.au.dk/en/studies/education/.

If you would like information about options regarding a Master’s thesis in the history of science and science theory working with the science studies research group, see: css.au.dk/en/

Forms of teaching

At the University of Aarhus, you are in close contact with researchers in a way that you rarely experience at other universities. The door to the professor’s office is always open if you need clarification of the study material, and you are encouraged to ask questions at lectures and during exercises. We make heavy demands on your academic skills and independence. In return, you gain considerable benefits in the form of academic challenges and scientific knowledge, in addition to broad competences.

The teaching at the university focuses on independence, critical thinking and collaboration. Part of the teaching is in the form of lectures that introduce new angles to the material compared with the textbooks. The theoretical and practical exercises take place in small groups where you study relevant issues in depth.

The varied forms of teaching, collaboration in groups and the opportunity for close scientific dialogue with the researchers provide you with general competences that are in great demand in the global job market. These competences include abstract, critical and independent thinking, analytical skills and strategic planning. You can use these skills in many contexts – even in jobs you didn’t know you were qualified for.

A year divided into four terms

The teaching is divided into terms with four terms per year. Each term consists of a block of seven weeks followed by an examination period of 2–4 weeks. For an example of a course calendar, go to: nat.au.dk/undervisningskalender.

PhD programme

If you have the necessary skills and interest, you have the option of applying for admission to the PhD programme. You can apply when you have completed your Bachelor’s degree and one year of your Master’s degree or when you have completed your Master’s degree. In the PhD programme, you start working on a research project and are gradually trained through courses and personal guidance to become a researcher. For more information, go to: nat.au.dk/phd/.


 

Student life

There is more to life as a student of science studies at Aarhus University than subjects and lessons. Master’s degree students have access to a shared office or a study area in the institute’s library, which facilitates contact with researchers and fellow students. The institute also organizes an introduction to writing a thesis and Master’s degree studies in the form of workshops that serve both an academic and a social purpose. The institute’s Tuesday coffee, informal Friday Bar and excursions give rise to many productive academic and social debates.

Campus – a unique place

The University of Aarhus is unique, especially because the buildings are grouped in one campus area close to the Aarhus city centre. The campus has many green areas and a beautiful park surrounding a small lake. Here you also find student accommodation and an underground system of corridors, which means that you don’t have to get your feet wet going from the canteen to your study area. There are also lecture theatres and a host of activities ranging from sports days to the regatta on the lake, interesting lectures, a film club, libraries and university celebrations. The campus ensures that you have easy access to the canteen, student counsellors, teachers, the bookshop, the State and University Library and the Friday bar.

Aarhus as a study centre

The university is not all Aarhus has to offer. As the second-largest city in Denmark, Aarhus has numerous different cultural activities. The well-known Aarhus Festival is celebrated for a week at the beginning of September every year and the streets really come to life. During the rest of the year, you can visit different music venues and concert halls in the city or find entertainment at one of the many theatres in Aarhus. The city’s many museums include ARoS – the major international art museum, which is a spectacular place for visual experiences. If you have had enough of cultural activities, you can ride your bike to the beach in no time or go for walks in the Risskov woods or in the beautiful woods around Marselisborg. The forty thousand young students in Aarhus make up 17.5% of the population, which leaves its mark on city life. Aarhus is a young, dynamic city with plenty of opportunities.

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Career

The MSc in Science Studies is open to students with a BSc degree in science. It is of particular interest to science students who want to gain a wider perspective on how the natural sciences have developed in interaction with society and contemporary culture.

As a student in science studies, you will learn to understand the social and philosophical implications of science, the forces driving technological change, and contemporary developments within research and public understanding of science.

Knowledge of the development of science and the ability to analyze science in a cultural and societal context can be useful in many different situations.

For example, graduates may choose to work with communicating science and its challenges and opportunities to the general public through the media. Their knowledge of the interaction between the natural sciences, technology and society can be applied in public administration, the business community and in many different organizations. With a BSc degree in science and the broad perspective provided by the MSc in Science Studies, graduates are well prepared to enter into multidisciplinary collaboration with colleagues in many different fields. The MSc programme also qualifies graduates for a research career in science studies.