Welcome to the History and Philosophy of Science Graduate Program at Notre Dame

“philosophically engaged history of science”
“historically rich philosophy of science”

Our doctoral program offers graduate-level instruction leading to a discipline-based HPS Ph.D. Students in our distinctive, inter-departmental program are also fully trained in philosophy, history, or theology.

We also offer a concurrent master’s degree and a graduate minor to students enrolled in other Notre Dame Ph.D. programs.

Our faculty members are drawn from a variety of departments including history, philosophy, theology, english, and the program of liberal studies. Our students come from a wide range of backgrounds in the humanities and sciences, and take their HPS expertise on into positions in academia and elsewhere (see our alumni page, under 'HPS People').

The deadline for application for Fall 2015 admissions was January 4, 2015.

Recent News

Solomon Presents at Joint Meeting of Hypatia & the APA Committee of the Status of Women

Monica Solomon (philosophy track) will present her paper (“Individuals and Individualism in Philosophical Communities”) at the 2015 Hypatia and the APA Committee on the Status of Women joint meeting. This year's meeting is entitled "Exploring Collaborative Contestations and Diversifying Philosophy" and will take place at Villanova University, May 28-30. 

HPS Graduate Student Laura Bland Receives Two Fellowships

Laura received a Graduate Fellowship at the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study for 2015-2016. The fellowship will allow her to finish her dissertation, which examines the cultural and religious background of scientific ideas in the early modern Atlantic World. In particular, she explores how writers without scientific training understood questions about the role of God in nature, superstition, and natural order. At the broadest level, her work contributes to ongoing historical discussions of the “disenchantment of the world,” the decline of magic, and the secularization of society in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Her dissertation compares Catholic and Protestant conceptions of superstition and divine intervention in nature as they were articulated in several hundred pamphlets printed in the wake of the “Great Comet” of 1680 in Spain, England, New England, and Latin America. She has also been awarded the Dibner Fellowship in the History of Science and Technology by the Huntington Library in Los Angeles, CA.

Michelle Marvin presents her work at the Midwest American Academy of Religion conference

HPS Theology and Science student Michelle Marvin recently presented her work on religious identity in comparative theology at the Midwest American Academy of Religion conference, as part of the Sensory and Material Cultures of Religion panel. Her paper, entitled "The Sound of Theology: A Comparative Study on Taizé Chant and Vedic Mantra," investigates the ways in which the musical practices of specific Hindu and Christian communities serve as expressions of theological identity.”

HPS grad students to present at Midwest Junto

The 58th annual meeting of the Midwest Junto for the History of Science will be held by the Department of the History of Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on April 17-19, 2015. HPS Graduate students Sarah Naramore and Xiaoxing Jin, as well as HPS alum Steve Case, are on the meeting program. Sarah will present her paper "From Within and Without: The Emergence of Yellow Fever as a Public Disease, 1790-1820”; Xiaoxing will present his paper “The Origin of Evolutionary Misunderstanding: Origin in China”; and Steve Case will present "‘The Landmarks of the Universe’: John Herschel Against Positional Astronomy”.

ND HPS - Edinburgh exchange program update

Janet Kourany 2012

HPS faculty and steering committee member Janet Kourany has recently returned from her stint as an IASH [Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities] Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the University of Edinburgh.  While there Janet did a masterclass on agnotology, the new area of enquiry concerned with the social construction of ignorance, and she also gave a paper related to this area of enquiry, entitled “Should Some Knowledge Be Forbidden? The Case of Cognitive Differences Research.”  These presentations were in conjunction with the Edinburgh Women in Philosophy Group's Spring Workshop on “Ignorance and Underrepresentation.”  Janet's visit was supported by the IASH International Research Group on the Philosophy of the Natural and Human Sciences, and a main aim of her visit was to spearhead an ongoing faculty and graduate student exchange between Notre Dame's History and Philosophy of Science Graduate Program and Edinburgh's counterpart graduate program.  The very lively and diverse philosophical community Janet met with in Edinburgh makes such an exchange especially attractive to pursue. A podcast of the workshop on Ignorance and Under-representation can be found here (https://philosophyofsciencenetwork.wordpress.com/us/international-workshops/ignorance-and-under-representation/), and Janet’s masterclass on agnotology is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZz8lUniwHM .  

"Laura Bland presents her work on comets at the Columbia History of Science Group meeting (March 2015)


Congratulations to HPS graduate student Laura Bland for her hugely successful talk at the recent Columbia History of Science Group meeting. Laura’s talk, entitled “Unfriendly Skies: Secularizing Comets in the Spanish World, 1680-1700” drew on her dissertation research.” 



Ramsey & Pence Awarded NSF Grant

Grant Ramsey

Charles Pence

Congratulations to ND HPS faculty member Grant Ramsey and ND HPS alumnus Charles Pence on receiving an NSF grant in support of their evoText project, which is a “Big Data” tool for science literature aimed at opening up new research possibilities in history and philosophy of science, and with potential for use in schools. Further details are available here:  http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1456573&HistoricalAwards=false

Stellar year for ND HPS Placements

Richard Oosterhoff

2014 was a great placement year for our HPS program, with all of our job candidates accepting excellent positions: Manuela Fernandez Pinto has taken up her post-doc at the Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in the Philosophy of the Social Sciences (http://www.helsinki.fi/tint/index.htm), Elise Crull and Charles Pence accepted tenure-track positions in philosophy at CCNY and LSU respectively, Richard Oosterhoff (pictured) has accepted a multi-year post-doc at the University of Cambridge, and our first ND HPS post-doc Catherine Jackson accepted a tenure-track position in history of science UW-Madison.

Second Annual SRPoiSE Meeting

The Consortium for Socially Relevant Philosophy of/in Science and Engineering (http://srpoise.org/) seeks to support and conduct philosophical studies that contribute to public welfare and collective wellbeing. The John J. Reilly Center is one of the consortium's five founding members. SRPoiSE will hold its second annual meeting on March 27-28, 2015 at Michigan State University's Detroit Center and Reilly Center is well represented in the conference.

  • Mousa Mohammadian (HPS student, Philosophy of Science track) presents his paper “Cognitive Values are a ‘Collective Pool’: On Douglas’ Theory of Cognitive Values.”
  • Don Howard, Melinda Gormley and Mark Bourgeois are on the meeting program to present on the research project they have been developing over the past years. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF awards 1338652 and 1449469) the research project assesses and compares two ethical leadership training programs. One is grounded in the research and literature of business and management ethics. The other grows out of the research and literature on ethics training for STEM students. The research project will answer the question: since cultivating cultures for ethical STEM requires effective leadership, what training content and methods most successfully turn STEM students into ethical leaders?
  • Kevin Elliot (Reilly alumnus, Michigan State University) co-presents two papers: “Exploratory Analysis and Big Data” and “STEP (Science Teams’ Effective Practices).”    

Based on past experience, this promises to be an excellent event, and one which we are keen to support. If a group or groups of students would like to go together, the Reilly Center would be very happy to cover the cost of gas and/or rental vehicles and/or any the cost of any other land-based form of transportation. 

HPS Nahyan Fancy to Princeton IAS

Nahyan Fancy

HPS alum Nahyan Fancy (Associate Professor of History at DePauw University and author of Science and Religion in Mamluk Egypt: Ibn al-Nafīs, Pulmonary Transit and Bodily Resurrection (London: Routledge, 2013)), has been offered membership at the School for Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and will spend Fall 2015 in residence there.

HPS Students to Present in Düsseldorf

HPS students Jamee Elder, John Hanson, Monica Solomon, and Jeremy Steeger, along with Philosophy Department student Aaron Wells, will be presenting their work on Émilie Du Châtelet at this year’s European Philosophy of Science Association meeting in Düsseldorf in September. Their successful symposium submissions includes papers addressing a variety of themes from Du Châtelet’s Institutions de Physique (1740), including her views on the uses and abuses of hypotheses, her treatments of space and time, her criticisms of Newton’s views of gravitation, and her account of Leibniz’s law of continuity.

Alum Steve Case wins Annals of Science Prize

Stephen Case

HPS alum Dr. Stephen Case (Department Chemistry and Geosciences at Olivet Nazarene University) is the winner of the Annals of Science Prize for 2014, for his paper on “'Land-marks of the Universe: John Herschel Against the Background of Positional Astronomy.” This essay was based on a chapter from Steve's dissertation. 

Congratulations to Laura Bland

Laura Bland has been awarded the Writing and Rhetoric Graduate Assistantship, a full-year fellowship to support advanced graduate students while they receive pedagogy training and teach two courses in the University's Writing and Rhetoric program. She hopes to use this fellowship to develop a course on evaluating scientific and medical claims in the digital age, a theme her students explored in her recent course on the history of food.

HPS celebrates 25th anniversary of doctoral program

See conference photo album

HPS 25th anniversary pic

On September 26-27, 2014, we marked the 25th anniversary of our doctoral program with a celebration conference (click here for conference program). We reflected on the origins of the program going back to the establishment of the HPS master’s in 1969; we heard from many of our alumnae and alumni about their research, their memories of the program, and what they’ve been up to since graduating from Notre Dame; and we reflected on what it means to be doing HPS today. We took the opportunity to thank many of those without whose support our program would be unable to flourish, including our administrative assistants, the Chairs and DGSs of the departments from which we draw our faculty, the College of Arts and Letters, and the past directors of the program. Most importantly, we remembered Jack Reilly.

The occasion of the 25th anniversary was also used to launch a new HPS Director Fund for Scholarship and Professional Development, in recognition of past directors of the program, and with the goal of providing support to current graduate students (click here for more details). We welcome your donations!

HPS launches new graduate minor

From this fall, we now offer a graduate minor in HPS, open to all graduate students across the university. Our graduate minor provides students with an opportunity to deepen their understanding of the historical, philosophical, social, ethical, political and conceptual dimensions and contexts of science and technology in societies past and present. We welcome students from all disciplines, including those in the sciences and engineering who wish to explore their own specialist discipline from different perspectives. Please contact the HPS director, Katherine Brading (kbrading@nd.edu) if you would like to learn more.
Click here for more information about our HPS degree programs. 

For more news from the HPS program, click on one of the following:
HPS Faculty News
HPS Graduate Student News
HPS Alumni/ae News

You can follow the latest HPS as well as Reilly Center news on Facebook at facebook.com/NDReillyCenter


Upcoming Events

Tue Sep 8, 2015

Tue Sep 15, 2015

Message From the Program Director

Katherine Brading cropped

Thank you to everyone who participated in our celebration conference marking 25 years of our doctoral program! Welcoming back so many of our alumnae and alumni was wonderful, and we look forward to seeing many more of you back here in the coming months and years: please get in touch if you would like to visit! To prospective graduate students and visitors: please enjoy exploring our website to familiarize yourself with our activities and the opportunities we offer, and feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.

Katherine Brading
- Director, History and Philosophy of Science Graduate Program
- Associate Professor of Philosophy

Email: kbrading@nd.edu
University of Notre Dame
451 Geddes Hall
Notre Dame, IN 46556
(574) 631-9844