Undergraduate Program

The Concentration in History and Science

Most students haven’t heard of History and Science before they arrive at Harvard, but the ones who choose us end up being among the most satisfied and well-rounded students in the College. We are the only concentration that gives students credit for courses that cross the sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities. We offer extensive special opportunities for students who choose to concentrate with us, including museum internships, funded research and travel abroad through our Rosenkrantz Discovery Grant program, and the chance to edit and publish the country’s only undergraduate journal in the history of science

In their coursework and research, students focus on many topics and time periods: the Darwinian revolution, the rise of biotechnology, climate change science and environmentalism, global health, science and medicine in Latin America, physics, including quantum physics and relativity theory, race, social inequity and medicine, computer science and the new “wired world,” the history of psychiatry, the rise of neuroscience, space travel, and much more. 

Students can pursue the concentration in several ways. They can choose to take a mix of science courses (any discipline taught in the College) and (usually related) courses in the history of science and its allied fields in the social science or humanities. They can choose to take a larger number of courses in history of science and its allied  fields. They can also pursue one of our three special focus options: Mind, Brain, Behavior (thesis required), Medicine and Society (thesis required), and Technology, Information and Society.

Through the required tutorial program, all students are also taught skills of advanced source analysis, independent research, and academic writing. Many go on to write a senior thesis, but all students must complete a significant research project in their junior year, and all benefit from the skills they learn in tutorial.

Our alumni praise the concentration for helping them to succeed in a wide range of graduate programs and careers after college, from consulting to journalism, law school to medical school.

New PBS docu "Rachel Carson" features Naomi Oreskes.

Rachel CarsonA new PBS "American Experience" episode, "Rachel Carson," presents a riveting portrait of the woman whose groundbreaking books revolutionized our understanding of humankind's relationship to Nature, and helped foster the modern environmental movement in the US, and around the world. Prof. Naomi Oreskes lends her expert knowledge and unique viewpoint to the proceedings. Watch the full episode at pbs.org.