The Department of the History of Science offers comprehensive graduate programs leading to the degrees of Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy in the History of Science. We are one of the world's leading institutions for training the next generation of professional historians of science. These programs train students to examine the development of science through a course of study that lays a broad foundation for teaching and research in fields that include the history of the natural and social sciences, behavioral and brain sciences, technology, mathematics, medicine, and allied health sciences. Methods of historical research are employed to explore the genesis and evolution of the sciences and to analyze the growth of science as part of the intellectual and social experience of humankind. To pursue advanced work in the field, therefore, it is desirable to have some preliminary training in the natural or social sciences and in history. Our programs are exciting and also intellectually demanding.
In addition to courses in history, history of science, and the sciences, students select courses from fields such as philosophy, government, literature, sociology, anthropology, law, and public policy. Courses in the Program on Science, Technology, and Society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology may be taken by cross-registration, as may courses in Science, Technology, and Policy at the Kennedy School of Government. Ph.D. students may also choose to pursue a secondary field such as Critical Media Practice; Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality; Film and Visual Studies; or Science, Technology, and Society.
Graduate students are encouraged to engage with the Department’s Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, which is one of the largest and richest university collections in the world. These objects represent a broad range of periods and scientific disciplines, including astronomy, navigation, horology, surveying, geology, calculating, physics, biology, medicine, psychology, electricity, and communication. Many departmental courses have a component that uses the CHSI, and students may participate in the curating of special exhibitions; several of our recent Ph.D. graduates have gone on to careers in museum work.
The Department’s graduate student community is stimulating and diverse, and welcomes international students; in recent years we have admitted applicants from many different countries, including Taiwan, China, Great Britain, India, Romania, Israel, Germany, Mexico, and Canada. Our faculty welcome prospective students to contact them with questions about graduate study in the department.
Queries about the graduate programs in the History of Science may be directed to:
Graduate Program Coordinator
Department of the History of Science
Science Center 371
Cambridge, MA 02138