The Department of Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology at the University of Exeter invites applications for its MA programmes in History and Philosophy of Biology, Philosophy and Sociology of Science, Anthrozoology and Social and Political Philosophy; and for our MRes programme in Science and Technology Studies. A brief description of these programmes can be found below; further details are available on the departmental website or from the Director of Postgraduate Studies, Dr Sabina Leonelli ([email protected]).

MA History and Philosophy of Biology

Research under way in the life sciences is arguably a source for some of the most extraordinary opportunities, and challenges, of our time. This results in a strong demand for expertise in the conceptual and practical constructions of the life sciences, both in science policy and administration as well as institutions devoted to the public understanding of science (media, museums, funding bodies). The University of Exeter hosts one of the largest and most dynamic research groups in Europe dedicated to understanding emergent forms of biological knowledge, practice and innovation; their relation to wider developments in science and beyond, such as for instance the advent of the internet and social media; their potential and actual impact on society, at both the national and global levels; and their historical roots and dynamic development. Our research is uniquely interdisciplinary, bringing together perspectives from philosophy, sociology, anthropology and history — as well as politics, geography, law and business. We strongly believe that understanding the nature of biological research, the significance of its results and the pace at which it is advancing involves interdisciplinary interactions and collaborations; and we have a rich programme of seminars, reading groups, research meetings and workshops, as well as a steady flow of international scholars working in these areas who visit us and contribute to our discussions.  The MA History and Philosophy of Biology will prepare you for further research or employment related to the management and evaluation of science and its impact on society – an increasingly important aspect of science policy. This programme is unique in its close attention to the broader implications of the life sciences and the social contexts in which they are developed. It covers a vast range of biological sciences, from natural history to molecular biology, and keeps pace with exciting developments in the newest biosciences. Topics such as development, evolution, ecology, human nature and classification are just some of the areas of investigation.  The work of influential biologists in the past, such as Charles Darwin, Gregor Mendel or Francis Crick, will be studied in detail, but equal attention will be given to cutting-edge developments in contemporary life sciences, such as synthetic biology, the latest attempt to create life de novo. The programme gives special emphasis to historically and philosophically neglected areas within the life sciences.

MA Philosophy and Sociology of Science

The programme, unique in the UK for its combination of philosophical and sociological perspectives on science and technology, examines the concept of science, the knowledge it provides and the way in which the production of knowledge is organised in society. In doing so, it will prepare you for further research or employment in the management and evaluation of science and its impact on society – an increasingly important aspect of science policy. The programme draws on staff research interests and expertise in the philosophy of biology, the mind, economics and social science, as well as in the sociology of science and technology.

MA Anthrozoology – the interdisciplinary study of human and animal interactions

[Distance Learning]

The MA in Anthrozoology will be of interest to anyone who would like to investigate the many and varied ways in which humans perceive, engage, compete and co-exist with non-human animals in a range of cultural contexts. The Distance-Learning MA Anthrozoology is especially relevant in terms of Continual Professional Development for individuals who are involved with the care of non-human animals in a professional capacity (eg, vets, veterinary nurses/technicians, animal trainers, dog wardens, zoo keepers, conservationists, charity workers etc.), as well as for students who have completed social science undergraduate degrees or who have a science background and would like to expand their research interests into the social sciences. The distance learning format is sufficiently flexible to enable you to fit it in around your existing professional and personal commitments. The MA has won a Humane Society of the United States Distinguished Course Award and the Programme Director is the winner of the Association of Social Anthropologists’ Award for Excellence 2011 and has recently published a core textbook on Anthrozoology.

MA Political and Social Philosophy

The MA in Social and Political Philosophy combines politics, philosophy, sociology, economics and law to investigate recent debates in social and political theory. This programme draws on the diverse research interests of our academics; references Anglo-American and Continental literatures; and employs analytical and institutional approaches to explore moral and political concepts and questions. As a graduate of this programme you will have developed a critical awareness of questions about the relationship between identity, power, meaning and knowledge; insight into recent critiques of modern western societies and their values; and substantive knowledge of social and political theorists, their significance and the major critical positions adopted towards them.

MRes Science and Technology Studies

The programme will give you a broad-based knowledge of the use of research methods in the social sciences, as well as core research training in social scientific philosophy and methodology within a contemporary sociology context. It will develop your understanding of the origins, history and development of Science and Technology Studies as a discipline and its theoretical underpinnings. It will equip you with the skills to go on to doctoral research or to pursue a career as a professional researcher.