Technology is transforming everyday life all over the globe, changing practices of work, love and
friendship, education, health care, citizenship – in brief, shaping the way we live. New technologies
like robotics, machine learning, bioplastics, or gene editing promise great benefits, but achieving
these requires active human steering. The two-year, international Master of Science programme
Philosophy of Science, Technology and Society (PSTS) provides students with the mindset, conceptual
tools, and skills to better understand, evaluate and improve the interaction between science,
technology and society. We train students in philosophical concepts and approaches, as well as
in insights and empirical methods from the field of science and technology studies. PSTS
graduates are able to identify and analyse emerging developments and to critically assess the
way these may impact societies and social practices around the world. Moreover, they can help
actors in the field to creatively shape and design emerging developments in a way that fits ethical
values and human and societal needs. These competences are in high demand in academia, as
well as among policymakers, consultancies, companies and other organisations working at the
interface of technology and society.
Students in the PSTS programme can choose, at the end of their first year, to enter a special one-year Ethics and Technology track offered by 4TU.Ethics. This is a one-year track consisting of 30 EC in advanced courses in ethics and technology, the courses MasterLab-1 (5 EC) and MasterLab-2 (0 EC), and a 30 EC master thesis in ethics of technology. Students take the Ethics and Technology track graduate as regular PSTS students, but with the distinction of having taken the 4TU.Ethics-approved Ethics and Technology Track. The track is also preparatory for a Ph.D. programme in Ethics and Technology, and PSTS students who have completed the track have an increased chance of being accepted into the Ph.D. programme. Many of the courses in the track will be taken together with Ph.D. students in the 4TU.Ethics programme.
The course curriculum in the first semester of the track consists of graduate courses offered by the University of Twente (UT), TU Eindhoven (TUe), TU Delft (TUD), Wageningen University & Research (WUR) and the Dutch Research School of Philosophy (OZSW). The courses at TUD, TUe and WUR are usually compressed into one week, after which an individual assignment is made. Students are responsible for arranging their own transportation to the other universities. The courses at the UT usually consist of four weekly blocks of four hours, followed by an assignment. Preferably, at least one course is taken from each university.
The second semester is devoted to writing a master’s thesis, which will be supervised by ethicists from the 4TU.Ethics Centre, from the University of Twente, TU Delft, TU Eindhoven and/or Wageningen University.
Continuing to a Ph.D.
PSTS students can increase their chances of securing a funded Ph.D. position in Ethics and Technology in the following ways: (1) by enrolling in the Ethics and Technology track; (2) by having outstanding grades, especially for the master’s thesis; (3) by inquiring regularly with faculty in the track about funded Ph.D. positions that may become available in the near future (and, if so encouraged by a faculty member, by writing a master’s thesis that would serve as good preparation for an upcoming Ph.D. position); (4) by pursuing the possibility of collaborating on a grant proposal with one of the professors of the Ethics and Technology track, which if funded would include Ph.D. funding for the student. Students can also choose to apply for any individual grants that they may qualify for (e.g., grants from their country of origin). Needless to say, none of these actions can guarantee one a funded position.