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Science and Technology in Society


Why do scholars write books? Do patents contribute to societal progress? Is it possible to measure scientific production? How high is the pressure to perform at universities? Why are statistical methods so highly regarded? Is science a-cultural or is it a thoroughly social institution? How can students, lecturers and other members of universities meaningfully contribute to discussions about scientific integrity and fraud?

The minor Science and Technology in Society (STiS) starts from the premise that science does not arise and exist in a vacuum, but in a specific historical, political, social, and (inter-) national context. The minor aims to give a thorough interdisciplinary perspective on scientific cultures as they really exist (beyond first year text book introductions), their origins, key means of expression, and roles in society.

In the first course, Science as Culture, students gain an understanding of the rise of scientific cultures, their histories, and their most important institutions. The course also gives a theoretical and methodological overview of the most important concepts in science and technology studies. The second course introduces students to the key facets of scientific publishing and the systematics of research evaluation (including the role of publishers, evaluators, policy makers, researchers and research managers). Subsequently, students will gain insight into two crucial constituents of the production, communication and monitoring/evaluation of research: the number and the image. Like the two previous courses, these two follow-up modules are grounded in recent science studies literature and methods. In practical exercises, students will also learn how to apply the knowledge gained from this literature. The final STiS course discusses recent socio-technical developments that shape how scientists produce knowledge, collaborate, collect and share their data, and how they are being assessed. The course builds on the four previous modules but is also accessible for students that only took course 1, Science as Culture.

Taken together, this minor will help students to take part in consecutive interdisciplinary courses and projects and provides a thorough basis for scientific and professional work at the boundaries of disciplines, or in the communication or management of science. The minor is coordinated by the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS), Faculty of social Sciences.


Registration is open from May 1st until August 15 2016. The course catalogue code is 6000MSCTSN, activity number: 1524. Please note that we can accommodate a maximum of 40 students. Admission is based on the students’ qualifications + a first come, first served basis. Students from other universities will need permission to register. Please send an e-mail to Inge van der Weijden at This also holds for Exchange and Study Abroad students. For more information please see the “Prospective students website”: