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MSc History of Science, Technology and Medicine

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
Placement in the History of Science, Technology and Medicine

Unit code HSTM60732
Credit rating 30
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Centre for History of Science, Technology & Medicine (L5)
Available as a free choice unit? No

Overview

Students will spend a minimum of twenty days working with a placement organisation, undertaking tasks to meet a set of objectives which will be negotiated beforehand by the placement organisation and placement organiser (also module lead) at CHSTM. 
 
Placements will be allocated on the basis of student selection, following their description in the unit handbook that will be distributed mid-way through semester one. Training will be provided before the placement commences and students will also be assigned a designated work place supervisor within the placement organisation, who will provide mentoring and feedback.
 
The module lead or another member of CHSTM staff (i.e. someone with relevant expertise or links to the placement organisation) will act as the placement tutor and will schedule two mandatory one-to-one meetings during the course of the unit: one to check the student has started their placement and knows what they are doing; the other to discuss preparing the essay reflecting on their placement. These meetings will support monitoring and feedback on progress as well as on the development of assessment objectives. Students will also be encouraged to attend two lectures run by the Institute of Cultural Practice (ICP), on writing reflective placement reports.
 

Aims

The unit aims to provide:
 
- direct experience of a professional working environment through a placement with an outside organisation from the heritage, charitable or policymaking sectors.
- practical experience and understanding of the application of the history of science, technology and medicine (HSTM) outside academia
- enhanced vocational and transferable skills, with the opportunity for students to reflect on their own career development and appreciate the opportunities, constraints and processes of different working environments
- an opportunity to reflect on the dissemination and application of HSTM in a public and/or policy context.
 

Teaching and learning methods

Students will spend the majority of their time in this unit working within a professional environment such as a museum, charity or policymaking organisation. They will work on a set project brief negotiated beforehand by the placement organisation and placement organiser (unit lead) at CHSTM. While students are free to suggest changes to the project brief, any changes will be subject to approval by the placement organiser and placement organisation.
 
Training will be provided before the placement commences, in addition to any mandatory training required by the placement organisation. All students enrolled on the unit will attend an introductory seminar in week one, as well as two one-to-one meetings with their academic supervisor in order to check progress and discuss written assignments (see below). They will also be encouraged to attend two training lectures run by the Institute for Cultural Practice (ICP) on writing reflective placement reports.
 

Knowledge and understanding

- Appreciate the constraints and opportunities of the professional workplace
- Apply historical skills and knowledge 
 

Intellectual skills

- Understand and apply a project brief
- Write a substantive essay reflecting on how historical skills can be applied outside universities, i.e. in a public and/or policy context
- Demonstrate competence in documenting results, fully appreciating their significance, and writing reports in a concise manner
 

Practical skills

- Enhanced practical skills in the use, presentation and/or management of historical evidence
- Manage time, materials and other resources effectively
- Liaise with professionals and other relevant authorities outside academia
 

Transferable skills and personal qualities

- Enhanced vocational skills, through project management and working in a team when necessary
- Experience of working outside academia, with the opportunity for students to consider their own career development
- Appreciate the requirements of industry or professional workplaces in terms of work ethic, meeting deadlines and accepting responsibility
- Demonstrate reliability, honesty, tact and diplomacy.
 

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Oral assessment/presentation 25%
Practical skills assessment 75%

Feedback methods

The module lead or another member of CHSTM staff (i.e. someone with relevant expertise or links to the placement organisation) will act as the placement tutor and will schedule two mandatory one-to-one meetings during the course of the unit: one to check the student has started their placement and knows what they are doing; the other to discuss preparing the essay reflecting on their placement. These meetings will support monitoring and feedback on progress as well as on the development of assessment objectives. 

Detailed written feedback from primary assessor. 

 

Recommended reading

  • V. Berridge, ‘History Matters? History’s Role in Health Policy Making’, Medical History, vol. 52 (2008), pp. 311-26
  • M. Byrne, Management and the Arts (Oxford: Focal Press, 2009).
  • P. Forsyth, How to Write Reports and Proposals (London: Kogan Page, 2006).
  • I. Herbert and A. Rothwell, Managing Your Placement: A Skills-Based Approach (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004).
  • L. Jordanova, History in Practice (Second Edition: London: Hodder Education, 2006). 
 

Study hours

Placement hours
Placement 140
Independent study hours
Independent study 160

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Duncan Wilson Unit coordinator

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