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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

CHEM2200 Science and Society: The Critical Interface

10 creditsClass Size: 100

Module manager: Dr Terry Kee

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

Pre-requisite qualifications

Level 1 in any programme

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

The way that scientific developments are perceived by the public is highly significant not least because the public funds 80% of scientific research. This module deals with the issues involved in this and covers those aspects of scientific activity which a have a large bearing on people's lives. The module critically assesses how the scientific results are communicated to the public and in particular the public's reaction to them The advent of new technologies and the ways that these have transformed our lives for better or worse is in particular highlighted.


The aim of this module is to enable (i) science students to think beyond their own discipline in terms of the effects of their science on society and the environment and (ii) students outside science to appreciate the workings of the scientific discovery process and how this relates to ethical and societal issues. This module will do this by taking the class through an interesting series of genuine case studies in widely differing areas which exemplify the impact of science on society and that of society on the science which is done. Each topic will be jointly presented by a scientist and a philosopher. This cross disciplinary approach will reflect the attempt of the module to traverse the interface between science and society and is directed equally to students within and without the scientific domain.

Learning outcomes
On completion of the module, students will be able to:
1. Contribute freely and objectively to class discussions where the ethics and impact of scientific issues is being debated;
2. Appreciate that science is not only a discovery process per se where the writing of papers is the ultimate aim but it also includes a need for an understanding of the impact of those discoveries on society and the environment;
3. Write critical essays on the impact of specific sciences on society and the ethical issues associated therewith;
4. Work with others to formulate and support an ethical position on a science-ethics topic. Defending this in oral debate.


Unit 1 Pharmaceuticals
Unit 2 Intellectual Property
Unit 3 Genetic Modification
Unit 4 Animal experimentation
Unit 5 Recreational Drugs
Unit 6 Climate change
Unit 7 Critical Reading
Unit 8 Critical Writing
Unit 9 Debating Skills

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
On-line Learning81.008.00
Independent online learning hours11.00
Private study hours80.00
Total Contact hours9.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

On-line reading for quizzes: 10 h
On-line quiz's (x 5): 5 h
Other private study (including preparing for individual essays and group debates): 65 h

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 1200 words essay65.00
In-course AssessmentOnline tests10.00
Group DiscussionGroup Debate25.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 15/05/2023 16:21:49


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