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  • Inter-disciplinary Studies of science (ISoS)

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About ISoS

Beginning with the academic year 2019/20, the master's programme ISoS is topically expanded and includes sociology of science. This concerns the Introductory Module and the Main Module "Economics of Science" (HM2). In the Introductory Module, the "Introduction to the Economics of Science" is broadened into the "Introduction to Social Studies of Science," and Main Module 2 becomes "Science and Society." Courses in the economics of science continue to be offered for a couple of years. Students that are enrolled in ISoS are offered additional courses in sociology, social anthropology, political science, and science, technology and society studies (STS). Students from the fields mentioned are encouraged to apply.

The Master's programme Interdisciplinary Studies of science (ISoS) takes four semesters. It focuses on studies of science and aims to illuminate and make explicit essential characteristics of science, combining perspectives from the history, economics, sociology, and philosophy of science. The objective is to analyse how science produces knowledge, under which economic conditions it operates and how it is embedded in society in the past and present.

Possible career opportunities are in university administration and science management. Other possible fields of activity can be found in science policy, ethics committees, management consultancy, foundations, publication, public relations, in science journalism, or corporate communications.

ISoS is an English-language master's programme. The introduction module is offered only in English. The same applies to individual lectures or seminars in the main modules. English language skills at the level of C1 need to be proven upon receiving the degree. Applicants from German-speaking countries do not require any additional language certificate when they possess usual English-language skills (English as a foreign language until the end of the qualification phase for the Abitur). All examinations can also be taken in German.

Information about general orientation and aims of study


General Structure

The programme begins with an introductory module which provides basic knowledge of the history, sociology, economics, and philosophy of science and the connections among these fields. This introductory module is complemented with a module from an empirical field or “object discipline”. This module is supposed to provide knowledge about how science is done in practice (in addition to reflecting on science).

Based on the introductory module, three main modules follow that are devoted to the development of science, the economic and social conditions and consequences of science, and the meth-ods of science.

It is suggested to study one semester abroad at a partner institution. Among these partner institutes are the ENS in Paris (FR) and the Universities of Notre Dame (US), Tilburg (NL), Uppsala (SE) and Vienna (AT). Furthermore, a six-week internship is required.

The programme is completed with a Master's thesis.

Please note: ISoS students can take exams with and receive credits from those lecturers and professors who have taught ISoS classes during their ISoS enrollment.


Information about the structure, modules, and module handbooks

Information about the semester abroad and also the contact persons

Institute and Environment

The programme is located at the Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies of Science (I²SoS) and carried out by the Faculties of History, Philosophy and Theology, Sociology, and Economics. The programme is oriented towards internationally successful Master's programmes in "History and Philosophy of Science" (HPS) und "Science and Technology Studies" (STS).

The I²SoS was founded in 2013. With the university centre (USP) on science studies, the Institute for Science and Technology Studies (IWT) as well as several working groups in the field at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF), the I²SoS is part of a Bielefeld tradition in science studies that enjoys a worldwide reputation.

I²SoS offers motivated students financial support (travel allowance) for a first conference talk on their Master's thesis topic. Contact us if your abstract was successful in a Call for Papers and you need support to attend the conference/workshop.

Science Research in Bielefeld: Academic Environment


Requirements and Application

Admission requirements are a degree in a programme of at least six semesters and a successful application. The degree programme is aimed at students of history, economics, sociology, or philosophy as well as natural and social sciences.

Information about the application process, online application, necessary documents, procedures, contact persons

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