Student Opinion

"Following my studies in Science-Technology-Society (STS), I will attempt to move into an international organisation or an academic institution, perhaps one day attaining a professorial or management level position. I feel it is the responsibility of intellectuals to find pragmatic uses of academic knowledge in order to enhance the development of our societies.

The fundamentals of science and technology as a social practice as well as the particular attention devoted to risk communication will provide a solid base towards progress in these organisations. As such, knowledge I acquired within the STS master’s programme applies directly to my current position within the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), where I focus on the psychosocial consequences of the Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Disaster. In particular, STS provides a means of stabilising government decisions during a nuclear emergency by increasing the ability to communicate important knowledge during a crisis. An affinity for science and technology and its burgeoning influence on our societies initially drew me to this programme, and I continue to feel that the impacts of science and technology require more investigation as their joint capacity grows.

Within the programme itself, I particularly enjoyed the small, intimate educational environment provided by the faculty. I found this allowed a greater degree of interaction and freedom between students and teachers alike; a rarity in higher education."

- Ryan Crowder, MA

"The master's programme Science-Technology-Society at the University of Vienna has been an incredibly rewarding experience for me. The programme nicely integrates empirical work and theoretical reflection, thus providing me with a comprehensive insight into today’s society, whose development is intimately entangled with science and technology. Moreover, the programme’s focus to develop students’ ability to manage projects by themselves impels me to grow in many other areas such as presentation and interpersonal skills. The broad structure of the programme appeals to me very much for it covers a diverse range of subjects and knowledge that cater to today’s job market. And importantly, the truly international environment in the STS department opens up a diverse and cooperative space for each student, which makes it an additional gift to study here!"

- Xingfei Zhong

"The master's programme Science-Technology-Society enabled me, through a number of high-quality seminars and lectures, to deal with the theoretical foundations and fundamental problems of the emerging field of Science and Technology Studies (STS) in a focused manner, providing an ideal basis for PhD studies abroad. Coming from the field of Communication and Media Studies, I found the focus on the relationship between technology and society thematically inspiring and important in terms of issues relating to democracy and governance.

Courses such as 'Grant Writing and Project Management' or 'Scientific Practice and Knowledge Management' introduce the key skills of our contemporary knowledge society. The master's programme not only conveys the fundamental 'tools' of modern knowledge work, which are also useful beyond the academic realm, but offers a superb introduction to a research field that is gaining more and more importance. Working within the scheduled time limit, dialogue ability and presentation skills are further qualifications that are supported and developed during the study programme. Furthermore, the international focus of this master’s programme taught entirely in English permitted me to refine my verbal and written skills in this language.

In my opinion, the study programme also stands out due to the following aspects: 1) dedicated teachers who prepare their lectures in an exemplary manner, give continuous feedback and show genuine interest in the intellectual and professional development of their students; 2) a fascinating interdisciplinary and international study and research environment for students and (visiting) professors alike; 3) a professional and motivating study and work setting which profits from a close interrelation of (top-level) research and teaching and enables a critical-reflexive engagement with complex sociotechnical and technoscientific topics."

- Gernot Rieder, Bakk.phil. BA MA

"Initially, I got interested in topics related to science and technology during my bachelor degree in Sociology at the University of Vienna. The decision to attend the master’s programme Science-Technology-Society was clear after I had the chance to gain work experience in fields in which the generation of knowledge as well as new technological developments are important.

Appealing to me was that this programme focuses on issues regarding the production of knowledge in our contemporary society and raises questions on how performing research can be understood as a social activity. As emphasis is placed on science and technology studies' heterogeneous theories and methods as well as their use in practice, this enables students to approach the topic of knowledge production from various directions. The different fields and examples analysed in this context range from ethnographic studies of laboratories to investigations dealing with the emergence of new areas of research. Therefore, I was able to develop an individual research interest and improve my skills necessary to carry out case studies on my own.

The strength of this master's programme is the combination of a well-structured introduction period, which familiarised me with the complex connections between science, technology and society, and the possibility to later participate in specific seminars, according to one's own interests. International lecturers and students with different backgrounds are brought together, which is another advantage of this programme as it enriches the discussions when various viewpoints meet."

- Bernhard Böhm, Bakk.phil.