First Semester Sophomores
First semester sophomores who are considering History and Science as their concentration are strongly encouraged to take History of Science 100 (a required course) during the fall semester, if they have not already done so. General Education courses taught by department faculty, as well as any other 100-level courses in the department, will also give students an introduction to the concentration.
Declaring Your Concentration in History and Science
The process for declaring your concentration is straightforward, and you can complete it by taking the following steps:
1. Go to my.harvard.edu and follow the instructions to Declare or Change Concentration. Be sure to choose a track, and focus, within History and Science. If you change your mind about your track or focus later on, it’s a simple process to update it.
2. Complete a Courses in Concentration form. A separate form is available for each track and focus. We ask sophomores to submit the form at the beginning of their spring semester, but in the meantime, it can be used as a guide to plan the courses you will take for concentration credit. We ask all concentrators to complete a new form, or update their most recent one, at least once each year. The form is not binding, and can be revised until the second semester of the senior year.
3. Sign up for our office hours. If you have any questions about concentration requirements, tutorial courses, or any aspect of the undergraduate program, please feel free to contact:
Allie Belser, Manager of Student Programs
Anne Harrington, Director of Undergraduate Studies
We do not require that you meet with us before the concentration declaration deadline, but if you’d like to schedule an appointment, we’d be very happy to meet with you!
4. Welcome to History and Science, one of the most flexible, personal and engaged concentrations in the College!
Second Semester Sophomores
Welcome to the concentration! All new concentrators enroll in the sophomore tutorial during the spring semester. Sophomore tutorial is a hands-on course that introduces students to some of the most exciting and productive questions in the history of science, technology and medicine, while developing critical reading, presentation and discussion skills.
The course consists of eight plenary weeks, in which you work in teams, and four project weeks, in which you work individually.
During the eight plenary weeks, you will be broken into three teams (Team Curie, Team Banneker, Team Pasteur). You will be introduced to an exciting and challenging issue or theme in the history of science and medicine. Your team will then be assigned an historical case designed to help you engage with the theme of the week. Your task: to work first in small groups to master the material of your case, and then to share your insights with the other two teams in a plenary session. The other two teams, each assigned a related but different case of their own, will in turn share their insights with you! The concept here is simple: prepare and share!
Independent project weeks:
Individual projects weeks give you a chance to work on more of the essential skills you will need to go on to do advanced scholarship in the field. Each project week challenges you to learn something different! There are four week-long projects during the semester, and one community-engagement week. There is also a modest summer project that serves as a bridge to junior tutorial in the fall. The line-up is as follows:
1. Analyze an Archive --You will choose a digitized archive of sources from a curated list. You will “visit” the archive (online), learn about its provenance and how it was created, and take stock of the nature of the materials in it. You will then choose one document from the archive for a close reading (following guidelines provided) and assess it within the collection as a whole.
2. Community-Engagement -- during this week, you will attend and a seminar, workshop or other online event in the history of science, medicine, and technology. You will be able to choose from a long list of diverse options. While you do not have to ask questions or otherwise join the discussion, unless you wish to do so, we expect you to take careful notes, not only on the content of the event, but also on how it felt to you, thoughts it triggered, emotions it perhaps stirred, and so on. You will then share your experience in a group blog with other members of the class.
3. Craft Knowledge--you will receive a kit in the mail, and join a maker workshop, during which you will make your own historical working globe (a permanent memento from this course!). You will have the chance to think about the kind of knowledge of the material world that happens through doing, through manual work, and will write a short essay reflecting on your own experience in the workshop and relating to several readings on the theme of "craft knowledge."
4. Analyze a Film -- you will work independently with your tutor to identify a short film designed to popularize or otherwise share scientific or medical ideas with non-specialist audiences, focusing on films made in the mid 20th century. You will learn techniques of visual and cinematic analysis in analyzing your film as a piece of science popularization
5. Analyze an Interview -- you will work independently with your tutor in identifying an oral history interview from a curated list. You will do a close reading of your interview, following guidelines that will be provided.
6. Read a Book Summer Assignment -- this relaxed summer assignment aims to prepare you for junior tutorial in the fall (the research tutorial) by giving you the opportunity to read a book in an area where you think you might wish to do original research of your own, and write some first notes and questions about how you might build on what you have learned.