Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Tuesday, July 13, 1999 Published at 11:45 GMT 12:45 UK


First degree in science fiction

The course will look at science fiction in film and television

Students could be studying the latest Star Wars film, as a university offers a degree in science fiction.

Star Wars
The University of Glamorgan will offer a degree in Science and Science Fiction from September, with the syllabus examining the link between science fiction and 'real' science.

The degree, described by the university as being "an award about science as much as an award in science", will look at science fiction in books, television, cinema, computer games and merchandising - from the publication of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein through to the current Star Wars movie.

[ image: Frankenstein's monster: students will examine whether he was the first science fiction character]
Frankenstein's monster: students will examine whether he was the first science fiction character
The university, which has previously offered a course which considered the possibility of extra-terrestrial life, wants the attraction of science fiction to become "a revolutionary new way of encouraging more people to consider careers in science and technology".

Students will tackle topics such as 'Will robots take over the earth?' - which can be considered from the perspectives of both science fiction and science fact.

The cultural significance of science and science fiction will be examined, in the context of such influences as the Cold War or the development of space travel. The range of texts will cover the spectrum of science fiction, from HG Wells to Doctor Who.

"The link between science fiction and science fact is becoming much more tangible, but is often ignored as a way of encouraging people to explore the fascinating developments in human scientific knowledge," said principal lecturer, Mark Brake.

Popularity of science fiction

According to Dr Brake, scientists wanting to raise interest in their subject need to recognise that much public understanding and interest in science and technology begins with science fiction.

Dr Brake says that the course will "harness the popularity of science fiction" alongside the "serious study of science". Students will consider fictional approaches to science in course modules, while studying formal science disciplines in other course units.

"It is important that we retain high academic standards while developing new and innovative ways of teaching science-related courses," said Dr Brake.

The course, which will aim for "at least a hundred students" will also address the shortage of young people considering careers in teaching science.

"Society badly needs more people who are science educators, with the ability to inspire and encourage young people to develop an interest in science and technology," said Dr Brake.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Education Contents

Hot Topics
UK Systems
League Tables

Relevant Stories

25 Jun 99 | Education
Compulsory games for students

21 Jun 99 | Education
Call to double UK science funding

12 Mar 99 | Education
Surf's up - to a degree

Internet Links

University of Glamorgan

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

'Golden hellos' fail to attract new teachers

Children join online Parliament

Pupils 'too ignorant to vote'

Red tape toolkit 'not enough'

Poor report for teacher training consortium

Specialist schools' results triumph

Ex-headmaster guilty of more sex charges

Blunkett welcomes Dyke's education commitment

Web funding for specialist teachers

Local authorities call for Woodhead's sacking

Dyslexic pensioner wins PhD

Armed forces children need school help

Black pupils 'need better-trained teachers'

College 'is not cool'