Science and Society

Subject HPSC30023 (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2012:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable


Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 3 (2x 1 Hour Lectures per week and 1x 1 hour tutorial for 11 weeks.)
Total Time Commitment:

An average of 8.5 hours each week.





Recommended Background Knowledge:

Knowledge gained in 75 points of University study (6 subjects) from any area.

Non Allowed Subjects:

Students who have completed 'Science and Society' under one of the codes 136-398 or 136-216 are not permitted to enrol in this subject.

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Assoc Prof Helen Verran


Associate Professor Helen Verran

Subject Overview:

The central focus of this subject is the various ways the relationship between science and society was understood and analysed during the twentieth century. This will provide the means for thinking analytically and critically about the place and role of science in present day society. Science and its products are integral to our every day lives providing benefits but also risks and ethical dilemmas. Understanding the relationship between science and society has never been more crucial. This subject offers students an introduction to theories and concepts in several analytic traditions useful in approaching the many and often difficult questions that are raised by science and its products in our contemporary world.


Students who successfully complete this subject should

  • Develop a basic understanding of key theoretical approaches to science as a system of knowledge and practice that have been developed in the field of science and technology studies.
  • Be able to apply these theoretical approaches to the analysis of historical and contemporary case-studies.
  • Develop the capacity for critical analysis of theoretical approaches to examining science as a system of knowledge and practice and their application to historical and contemporary case-studies.

An essay of 2,000 words due mid-semester 50% and a 2 hour examination in the examination period 50%.

Hurdle requirement: students must attend a minimum of 75% of tutorials in order to pass this subject. Regular participation in tutorials is required. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day; after five working days, late assessment will not be marked. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader with key papers will be available from the Bookshop. Further texts will be available online.

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students who successfully complete this subject should

  • Develop skills in reading and written and oral communication
  • Conduct independent research
  • Form defensible judgements on the basis of critical evaluation of conflicting arguments.
  • Understand and analyse key conceptual and theoretical arguments
  • Develop their own argument based on empirical evidence
Links to further information:
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: History and Philosophy of Science
History and Philosophy of Science
History and Philosophy of Science
History and Philosophy of Science (pre-2008 Bachelor of Science)
History and Philosophy of Science Major
Science credit subjects* for pre-2008 BSc, BASc and combined degree science courses
Sociology Major
Related Breadth Track(s): Science, Technology and Society

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