History & Philosophy of Science (HPS)

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The Ph.D. Program in History and Philosophy of Science (HPS) welcomes students of diverse intellectual backgrounds: humanities students who have an interest in the sciences, medicine, or technology, as well as students who have training in the sciences and engineering, and who are curious about the history of their discipline, and its philosophical grounding.

The program is built around three tracks: History of Science, Philosophy of Science, and Theology of Science. Students on all tracks share core courses in the history and philosophy of science, and in the social studies of science. They gain an overview of the history of science from antiquity to the modern day, and philosophical and social science approaches to understanding the nature of science, which they can refine through electives on particular periods or on specific subjects, including particular scientific fields. The core faculty include historians, philosophers, theologians, as well as faculty in the departments of English, Sociology, and Anthropology, to form a truly interdisciplinary program of study.

Students admitted on one of these tracks will receive their degrees in HPS, but will pursue a course of study that overlaps significantly with that of a Ph.D. student in History, Philosophy, or Theology, and will have an advisor drawn from one of those departments. Graduates of our program are fully trained historians, philosophers, or theologians (and most often find academic jobs in those disciplinary departments), who also have additional expertise in the intersection between the sciences and those disciplines. Students will have opportunities to develop their teaching in the History, Philosophy, or Theology departments, as well as designing and teaching their own courses in the undergraduate programs closely associated with HPS: Science, Technology, and Values (STV) and Health, Humanities, and Society (HHS). Graduates from the HPS Ph.D. program have also gone on to work in public policy, or have found appointments in museums and libraries concerning the public understanding of science.

HPS supports two interest groups, spanning several departments and graduate programs:

  • ΦΥΣΙΣ (Physis), focused on premodern conceptions of nature
  • Science and Technology Studies (STS)

In addition to our Ph.D. program, we also offer a concurrent M.A. and a graduate minor for students enrolled in other doctoral programs at Notre Dame.

Further details on all our degrees can be found here.

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