Kies de Nederlandse taal
Course module: FI-MSECSIS
Science in Society
Course infoSchedule
Course codeFI-MSECSIS
ECTS Credits5
Category / LevelM (M (Master))
Course typeCourse
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byFaculty of Science; BETA-GST;
Contact persondrs. F.W. van Dam
Course contact
drs. F.W. van Dam
Other courses by this lecturer
drs. F.W. van Dam
Other courses by this lecturer
Teaching period
4  (24/04/2023 to 07/07/2023)
Teaching period in which the course begins
Time slotC: C (MON-afternoon, TUE-aftern,THU-morn)
Study mode
Enrolment periodfrom 30/01/2023 up to and including 24/02/2023
Course application processOsiris Student
Enrolling through OSIRISYes
Enrolment open to students taking subsidiary coursesYes
Post-registration openfrom 03/04/2023 up to and including 04/04/2023
Waiting listNo
Course placement processStudiepunt/Student desk
Course goals
After this course:
  • You can position current science-society relations in a historical context.
  • You can analyse a socio-scientific controversy, their main actors, expertise and interests.
  • You are able to distinguish and explain different types of expertise, and use this typology to analyze the roles that scientists play in present-day public issues.
  • You can describe four different roles of scientists in (public) policy making and link them to different models of the science-policy interface.
  • You are able to formulate a well-substantiated opinion about scientific expertise and the relation between science and society in an essayistic style
  • You can describe core elements (norms / values / roles) that together make up the professional identity of a starting professional in the field of science and society
  • You can explain how science is portrayed differently in various media and why this occurs.
  • You can describe what  frames are and  can identify them in language and representations of socio-scientific issues.
  • You are able to explain the central concepts and models from the field of STS, their applicability to ‘public science’ and the implications for science communication
Many of the big developments in our current society are related to science and technology. We look at scientists to identify problems and propose solutions. New technologies have great impact on our daily lives, and often raise even bigger expectations about their future impact. At the same time, the position of (academic) science seems to be under pressure. The authority of scientists as public ‘experts’ is not self-evident anymore. Scientific knowledge has become a topic of public debates.
In this course we reflect on these changes and discuss the possible implications of these shifts for master students in their future professional life. We will use models and approaches of Science and Technology Studies (STS, a.k.a. Social Studies of Science) as the foundation for these discussions. At the end of this course you will be able to formulate an informed answer to questions like: why and how do controversies around science and technology evolve? How can we define expertise and what different types of expertise can be distinguished? What is the role of experts in public debates? How are scientific concepts and theories used in public arguments by different stakeholders? What does this mean for the role of scientists and universities? How do I envision my role as a communicative professional?
Entry requirements
You must meet the following requirements
  • Enrolled for one of the following degree programmes
    • History and Philosophy of Science
    • Science Education and Communication
    • Teaching Biology
    • Teaching Chemistry
    • Teaching Mathematics
    • Teaching Physics
  • Assigned study entrance permit for the master
Prerequisite knowledge
FI-MSECCSP or the educational module/minor
Required materials
Instructional formats

Class session preparation
The student is expected to have read the required literature, sought additional literature and to have done her/his group work prior to each meeting.

Contribution to group work
The student is expected to have made meaningful and evident contributions to the group work and peer feedback sessions.

Final result
Test weight100
Minimum grade-

Kies de Nederlandse taal