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Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine

Option courses

CHSTM courses look not only at the content of science and medicine, but at what it means to be a scientist or a medic -- in our time and through history.

Each year, the Centre provides teaching to around 800 undergraduates on degree programmes across the University. We offer teaching at all levels, covering the history of the physical and life sciences, mathematics, computing and medicine, the role of science and technology in everyday life, medical ethics, and representations of science in the news and in fiction.

All our undergraduate courses run for one semester, and most are available in both 10 and 20-credit versions.

It is often possible to take a unit from outside your level of study (for instance, a Level 1 unit in your second year). Please check with your programme director or undergraduate administrator.

Any questions about CHSTM's option units? Please email

Option courses for 2017-2018

(Availability and details may change subject to student demand. "tba" = "to be arranged". 10-credit code is listed before 20-credit code)

Semester One Semester Two
Level 1
Science and the modern world
HSTM10221 · HSTM10721
UCIL10221 · UCIL10721
Monday 15.00-17.00
Bodies in history: an introduction to the history of medicine, 1500-2000
HSTM10272 · HSTM10772
Thursday 14.00-16.00
A History of Biology in 20 Objects
Monday 11.00-12.00 and 13.00-14.00
Wednesday 11.00-12.00
Level 2
From cholera to AIDS: a global history of epidemics
HSTM20031 · HSTM20081
UCIL20031 · UCIL20081
Monday 14.00-16.00
The crisis of nature: issues in environmental history
HSTM20092 · HSTM20592
UCIL20092 · UCIL20592
Monday 11.00-13.00
Science, the media and the public
HSTM20181 · HSTM20681
Not running in 2017-18
From Frankenstein to The Matrix: science fiction and film
HSTM20302 · HSTM20802
Friday 11.00-13.00
  The information age
HSTM20282 · HSTM20782
UCIL20282 · UCIL20782
Thursday 16.00-18.00
Level 3
Climate change and society
HSTM33201 · HSTM33701
Monday 11.00-13.00
Madness and society
HSTM30832 · HSTM40332
UCIL30332 ·UCIL3032
Tuesday 11.00-13.00

From Sherlock Holmes to CSI: a history of forensic medicine
HSTM32011 · HSTM32511
UCIL32011 · UCIL32511
Wednesday 11.00-13.00

The nuclear age: Hiroshima to nuclear terrorism
HSTM31211 · HSTM31711

Dissertation project
HSTM40100 · HSTM40200 · HSTM40400
Research-only course available for 10, 20 or 40 credits
Dissertation project
HSTM40100 · HSTM40200 · HSTM40400
Research-only course available for 10, 20 or 40 credits

Can I take your courses?

CHSTM accepts most students without prerequisites. Which courses are open to you depends on your degree programme's options policy and timetabling. Please ask your course director or local undergraduate administrator if you are unsure.

How do I register?

If students on your degree programme regularly take the course you're interested in, it may already be set up on the Student System. If so, just register for it as normal.

If not, please contact the student support or admin staff for your programme, and ask if they can register you.

If they can't, please contact Life Sciences Student Support at <> and ask them to register you. You will need to provide a note or email from your Programme Director, Year Head or equivalent, to confirm that you're allowed to take the course.

BSc Biology with Science and Society

CHSTM contributes extensively to this three-year degree programme, designed for students who want to develop a broad skills base and understand the biosciences in their historical, social and ethical context. A full profile, including entry requirements and study details, is provided by the Faculty of Life Sciences:


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