History of Science* MA

Entry Requirements


Why study History of Science at Shrewsbury?

Shropshire has had a strong influence on the development of science since the 19th century. Two of its most famous sons are Charles Darwin and William Penny-Brookes. Charles Darwin's theory of evolution has been highly influential in all areas of biology and beyond. Also known as the 'Father of the Modern Olympics', William Penny-Brookes promoted the use of exercise in prevention and treatment of illness. Apart from these two examples, Shropshire has had crucial roles in advances in many other areas, including geology, medicine and the industrial revolution. This Masters programme will cover scientific advances over the centuries, and within each module one section will cover Shropshire's unique contributions to the subject.


During this course, you will literally be following in the footsteps of many scientific giants – of which Charles Darwin was the greatest. You will be able to walk Darwin's thinking path while pondering how geology has shaped our evolution; sit in the library where Darwin was schooled in natural history; and reflect on one county's immense contribution to the world we know today.


Programme Structure:

The modules given below are the latest example of the curriculum available on this degree programme. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to change from time to time for reasons which include curriculum enhancement, staff changes, student numbers, improvements in technology, changes to placements or regulatory or external body requirements.

The programme is modular with six taught modules – each worth 20 credits - and culminates in a 60-credit Dissertation. Modules are as follows:

  • A Brief History of Time - a review of major advances in science over time – with a particular emphasis on building the research skills required for Level 7. Your literature searching, critical appraisal and writing skills will be developed through a series of group exercises.
  • Darwin and Evolution - a look at how the evidence Darwin collected on the Beagle voyage persuaded him of the truth of evolution. You will discuss the influence of his family on his theory and also on the delay to publish. You will also follow the development of evolutionary theory – through the modern synthesis to molecular evolutionary studies.
  • History of Medicine - in which you will learn about the important medical advances that have been made over the centuries. William Farr (the father of medical statistics) from Kenley was the first to use statistics effectively in epidemiology, demonstrating that the source of cholera was polluted water. Other important Shropshire medics include Henry Hickson (one of the fathers of anaesthesia) and Agnes Hunt (the first orthopaedic nurse and founder of the Shropshire Orthopaedic Hospital, which later moved to Oswestry and is now known as Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital).
  • The Rocks of Ages - in which you will explore the unique rich geological heritage in a county that represents most of the rock types found throughout most of the geological period of time. You will also examine the work of the geological pioneers, such as Impey Murchison, and their contribution to our modern understanding of earth sciences.
  • Iron and the Industrial Revolution - Shropshire's pioneering scientific and technological iron founding processes contributed directly to the development of modern metallurgy. In this module you will explore the inquisitiveness of the industrial pioneers such as Abraham Darby and their understanding of the natural environment that led to the birth of the industrial revolution.
  • Dissertation - which aims to provide you with an opportunity to investigate systematically and in depth a topic of direct relevance to the programme of study and your personal interests; to enable you to draw on and contribute to the development of the growing body of knowledge in the broad history of science field; and to enable you to present the outcomes of personal research in the form of a substantial review paper and an academic research article suitable for publication in an appropriate research journal.


We use a flexible mode of delivery, including three-day intensive modules and evening lectures to facilitate attendance from students in employment, both nationwide and internationally. Assessments vary between modules – but will be coursework only – and will include a review paper, a report case study, poster, or an oral presentation. Please contact us for further details.

The Dissertation is assessed by the production of a substantial review paper and an academic research article suitable for publication in an appropriate research journal.


The course is suitable for both scientists and historians and can open opportunities for employment in a broad range of occupations, including:

  • sciences
  • business
  • administration
  • management
  • law
  • journalism
  • public relations
  • teaching
  • librarianship
  • archives.

Entry Requirements

Extra Information

A 2:2 honours degree or an equivalent qualification is required in History or Science.

Course content enquiries

Professor Elizabeth Mason-Whitehead

Programme Leader

  • Email: e.whitehead@chester.ac.uk
  • Telephone: 01244 513860