Secondary Field

The History of Science Department offers a secondary field in the History of Science, Technology and Medicine.  This field gives students concentrating in other departments an opportunity to take a coherent cluster of courses in the history of science, technology and medicine.  The program is designed to give students, first, a foundational sense of the field, and then, permit them to do more advanced work, including courses that will allow them to focus on particular interests and to do original research and other projects.

Requirements: 5 courses

1) History of Science 100. Knowing the World: An Introduction to the History of Science

2) One “gateway” course: a course of wide scope but focusing on a specific area in the history of science, technology or medicine.  Gateway courses include:

  • Culture and Belief 11. Medicine and the Body in East Asia and in Europe
  • Culture and Belief 34. Madness and Medicine: Themes in the History of Psychiatry
  • Culture and Belief 47. The Darwinian Revolution
  • Culture and Belief 58. Case Studies in Medical Humanities: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Experience of Illness
  • Ethical Reasoning 33. Medical Ethics and History
  • Science of the Physical Universe 17. The Einstein Revolution
  • History of Science 108. Bodies, Sexualities, and Medicine in the Medieval Middle East
  • History of Science 136. History of Biotechnology
  • History of Science 144. Medical Technologies in Historical Perspective
  • History of Science 146v. Bodies in Flux: Medicine, Gender, and Sexuality in the Modern Middle East
  • History of Science 148v. Health and Disease in America
  • History of Science 149v. Explaining Epidemics
  • History of Science 174. Critical Experiments in the Human Sciences
  • History of Science 176. Brainwashing and Modern Techniques of Mind Control
  • History of Science 179v. The Freudian Century
  • History of Science 180. Science, Technology, and Society in Modern East Asia 

3) Three elective courses in the history of science, ordinarily chosen from the 100-level courses in the History of Science chapter of Courses of Instruction.

  • 200-level courses may be taken only with the permission of the instructor.
  • Students may use one (but no more) of their three elective courses to take an additional gateway course.
  • One Freshman Seminar taught by a department faculty member may be counted as one of the three elective courses.
  • Students will be permitted to take one (but no more) of their three elective courses outside the department, in a field related to the History of Science.  All cross-listed courses in the History of Science catalog count automatically in this category.

Other Information

With the exception of Freshman Seminars taught by department faculty members, all courses must be letter-graded.  There is no minimum passing grade for courses to count towards the secondary field.

Decisions about whether courses from study abroad, Harvard Summer School, or other Harvard schools will count for the secondary field will be made on a case-by-case basis by the Director of Undergraduate Studies or the Manager of Student Programs.

In department courses with limited enrollment, first priority will be given to History and Science concentrators; students affirming that they are doing the secondary field in History of Science will have next priority.

Secondary Fields Form

You can find the secondary fields form and more information about how to register for a secondary field here.