MNSES9100 – Science, Ethics and Society

Course content

The course takes a critical and analytical look at the role of science and technology in modern society. Questions addressed include: What is science? How does it differ from other disciplines? Which ethical responsibilities do scientists have to their peers and the public? How should society manage technological risk? What is the role of education, the media, industry and government on the progress of science and technology?

The course covers three main topics:

  • philosophy of science;
  • research ethics; and
  • science and society. Examples and case studies will be taken from all areas of science and technology.

Learning outcome

The course will contribute to the student´s appreciation of the place and role of science in a modern society, as well as a broad insight into the way science and scientists are perceived and studied within other disciplines such as philosophy, ethics and sociology. Course literature ranges from classic works in philosophy of science and research ethics, to topical cases drawn from the international and national media. The analysis and discussion of case studies forms a central part of the course, particularly in research ethics. Teaching comprises both lectures and small group discussions.

Admission to the course

PhD candidates from the University of Oslo should apply for classes and register for examinations through Studentweb.

MNSES9100 has limited intake capacity, and priority will be given to PhD candidates at the University of Oslo.

PhD candidates who have been admitted to another higher education institution must apply for a position as a visiting PhD candidate within a given deadline and will be informed about registration 3 weeks prior to the course´s start.

MNSES9100 is restricted to PhD candidates with a valid PhD study right.

Formal prerequisite knowledge

No obligatory prerequisites beyond the minimum requirements for entrance to higher education in Norway.

Overlapping courses


Teaching runs as an intensive course over 1-2 weeks with 20 hours of lectures and 12 hours of group discussions and seminars. 2-3 weeks after the course there will be a follow-up seminar for students to present, discuss and get feedback on their chosen essay topics.

NB! You have to participate in at least 80 % of the teaching to be allowed to take the exam. Attendance at lectures will be registered.


A written essay of 6-9 pages.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. Read more about the grading system.

Special examination arrangements, use of sources, explanations and appeals

See more about examinations at UiO

Last updated from FS (Common Student System) Nov. 30, 2022 3:53:36 AM

Facts about this course

Spring and autumn
Spring and autumn
Teaching language