This interdisciplinary program seeks to introduce students to the social, political, economic and ethical issues raised by the dominant place that science has assumed in our world. Science is defined broadly to encompass both scientific theory and practical applications of scientific knowledge. To pursue a minor in history and philosophy of science therefore means to consider technology, the practice of medicine, the health sciences, and aspects of the human sciences in addition to the traditional physical, chemical and biological sciences. Students develop the skills to understand, assess and critique the place of, and changes in science and technology, and to evaluate the ways in which these changes impact society. 

Students also explore and understand the pace of change in science and technology and develop critical thinking and writing skills applicable to a broad range of professional pursuits such as technical writing or science journalism. The program is designed to expose students to a wide range of courses offered by different schools throughout the University, while establishing a solid foundation in the humanistic tradition of the arts and sciences. The course of study is designed to build upon the knowledge and skills developed in the student's major by providing a greater interdisciplinary scope and a consideration of philosophical, historical and ethical issues on topics relating to science and technology.

To complete a minor in history and philosophy of science, students are required to complete six courses (18 credits). Students take both HS 200: The Rise of Modern Science, and PL 235: Philosophy of Science. In addition, students take 12 credits from the following list of approved courses, no more than 6 credits of which may be at the 100 level:

Course Title Credits
AN 337 Anthropology of Health & Medicine 3
BIO 205 Bioethics 3
BIO 222 Evolution in Biology & Literature 3
BIO 383 Evolution 3
BMS 117 The Human Organism 4
BMS 162 Human Health & Disease 4
BMS 278 Research and Technology 3
BMS 474 Power of Plagues 3
CSC 101 Introduction to Internet Studies 3
CSC 350 Intelligent Systems 3
EC 363 American Economic History 3
HS 200 American Environmental History 3
HS 330 The History of Western Medicine 3
HSC 315 Biomedical Issues in the 21st Century 3
MSS 320 History & Social Impacts of Communication Technologies 3
PL 222 Ethics of Biomedical Research & Health Care Delivery 3
PL 234 Philosophies of Health, Healing & Medicine 3
PL 320 Thought and Work of Albert Schweitzer 3
PS 309 History of Psychology 3
SO 280 Illness & Disability 3
SO 360 Sociology of Mental Illness 3

In consultation with the director of the program, students design a course of study with a coherent focus related to their interests and major field. These courses of study will have a central theme or area of study that falls within the general scope of the program. 

Back to top