Undergraduate Coursework

image of history of science

Undergraduate students in the Program in History and Philosophy of Science and Technology do their coursework either in the Department of History, through its interdisciplinary major in History, Science and Medicine, or in the Department of Philosophy, through its major in History and Philosophy of Science. The interdisciplinary structure of requirements also allows students to do coursework in other departments that house the humanistic and social study of science, such as Anthropology, Classics, English, Political Science and in scientific disciplines.


Faculty Coordinator: Jessica Riskin

The History, Science and Medicine major is a collaboration of the Department of History with the Program in the History and Philosophy of Science. The major is designed for students interested in both sciences and humanities, and in the interactions between the two. It is also especially useful for students contemplating medical school, since it allows them to study the history of medicine, biology, and allied sciences in conjunction with fulfilling the pre-med science requirements. The requirements for the major are listed within the History section of the bulletin under the subsection: History of Science and Medicine. (The student's advisor must approve his/her choice of courses for each cluster).


Faculty Coordinator: Michael Friedman

History & Phil of Science

Bulletin information about the major supercedes this information, consult Stanford Bulletin, Philosophy section

Undergraduates may major in Philosophy with a degree field in History and Philosophy of Science under the Department of Philosophy. Each participating student is assigned an adviser who approves the course of study. A total of 61 units are required for the sub-major, to be taken according to requirements 1 through 5 below. Substitutions for the listed courses are allowed only by written consent of the under-graduate adviser for History and Philosophy of Science. Students are encouraged to consider doing honors work with an emphasis on the history and philosophy of science. Interested students should see the description of the honors thesis in Philosophy and consult their advisers for further information.

  1. Three science courses (for example, biology, chemistry, physics) for 12 units.
  2. The following Philosophy (PHIL) core courses must be completed with a letter grade by the end of the junior year:
    1. one from 50 (formerly 57), 150 (formerly 159), 151 (formerly 160A), 154 (formerly 169)
    2. 60 or 61
    3. 80
  3. Three history of science courses.
  4. Three philosophy of science courses, of which one must be PHIL 164.
  5. Three additional courses related to the major, in philosophy or history, to be agreed on by the adviser.
  6. At least six courses in the major must be completed at Stanford with a letter grade.
  7. Units for Tutorial, Directed Reading, or The Dualist (196, 197, 198) may not be counted in the requirement. No more than 10 units completed with grades of "satisfactory" and/or "credit" may be counted in the requirement.
  8. Transfer units must be approved in writing by the Director of Undergraduate Study at the time of declaring a major. Transfer courses are strictly limited when used to satisfy major requirements.

2014-2015 Courses offered in the area of History and Philosophy of Science

See the official Stanford Bulletin for the latest course updates

Introductory Courses

HPS/PHIL 60 Introduction to Philosophy of Science, Ryckman 5 units
PHIL 15N Freedom, Community, and Morality, Friedman 3 units
HPS 61 Science, Religion, and the Birth of Modern Philosophy, Friedman 5 units

Science in History

This sequence is designed to introduce students to the history of Science from antiquity to the 20th century. Students are advised to take most or all of this sequence as a core foundation.

CLASSGEN 22N Technologies of Civilization: Writing, Number, and Money, Netz 4-5 units
HISTORY 40/140 World History of Science, Proctor 3 units
HISTORY 46N Science and Magic in History, Riskin 4-5 units
OSPFLOR 44The Revolution in Science: Galileo and the Birth of Modern Scientific Thought, Findlen 5 units
HISTORY 44/144 History of Women and Gender in Science, Medicine and Engineering, Schiebinger 5 units
232F/432FThe Scientific Revolution, staff3-5 units
HISTORY 240/340 The History of Evolution, Riskin 4-5 units
HISTORY 244C The History of the Body in Science, Medicine, and Culture, Schiebinger 4-5 units
HISTORY 332G When Worlds Collide: The Trial of Galileo, Findlen 4-5 units
HISTORY 342 Darwin in the History of Life, Proctor 4-5 units
HISTORY 344 Narrative Knowing, Wise [special course offering, Oct 27-Dec.5, 2014] 1 unit
HISTORY 208A/308A Science and Law in History, Riskin 4-5 units
HISTORY 202B/302B Coffee, Sugar, and Chocolate: Commodities and Consumption in World History, 1200-1800, Findlen 4 units
HISTORY 431 Early Modern Things, Findlen 4-5 units
MUSIC 186D/286D Hearing and Seeing in the Long 19th Century, Kieffer 4-5 units

Medicine in History

This sequence is designed to introduce students to the history of medicine from antiquity to the 20th century.

HISTORY 243G/343G Tobacco and Health in World History, Proctor 4-5 units
HISTORY 130A In Sickness and In Health: Medicine and American Society, 1800-Present, Horn 5 units
HISTORY 40 World History of Science, Proctor 3 units
HISTORY 41Q Mad Women: Women and Mental Illness in U.S. History, Horn 3 units
AMSTUD 156H Women and Medicine in US History: Women as Patients, Healers and Doctors, Horn 5 units
CLASSGEN 149 Ancient and Modern Medicine, Netz 3-4 units
HISTORY 244C The History of the Body in Science, Medicine, and Culture, Schiebinger 4-5 units
HUMBIO 175 Health Care as Seen Through Medical History, Literature, and the Arts 3 units
HISTORY 264G The Social History of Mental Illness in the United States, Horn 5 units

Philosophical Perspectives on Science, Medicine, and Technology

This sequence is designed to introduce students to the philosophy of science. Students are advised to take HPS 60 Introduction to Philosophy of Science above as a starting point, and combine a number of the electives listed below in conjunction with courses in the other concentrations that address their specific interests.

FEMST 166/PHIL 184F/284F Feminist Theories of Knowledge, Longino 4 units
PHIL 163/263 Significant Figures in Philosophy of Science, Ryckman 4 units
PHIL 164/264 Central Topics in the Philosophy of Science: Theory and Evidence, Ryckman 4 units
PHIL 165/265 Philosophy of Physics, Ryckman 4 units
PHIL 167A/267A Philosophy of Biology, Velasco 2-4 units
PHIL 167B/267B Philosophy, Biology, and Behavior, Longino 4 units
PHIL 224 Kant's Philosophy of Physical Science, Friedman 2-4 units
PHIL 224A Mathematics in Kant's Philosophy, Friedman 4 units
PHIL 227B Kant's Anthropology and Philosophy of History, Friedman 4 units
PHIL 265C Philosophy of Physics: Probability and Relativity, Ryckman 4 units
PHIL 324
Kant's System of Nature and Freedom, Friedman 4 units
PHIL 348 Evolution of Signals 2-4 units
PHIL 360 Core Seminar in Philosophy of Science, Friedman, Longino 4 units
PHIL 365
Seminar in Philosophy of Science: Time, Ryckman 4 units

Advanced Course Sequences

Contemporary Perspectives on Science, Medicine and Technology

The following courses focus on contemporary cultural and social science approaches to science, technology, and medicine.

HPS 199 Directed Reading 1-15 units
HPS 299 Graduate Individual Work 1-15 units
ANTHRO 180 Science, Technology, and Gender, Jain 3-5 units
HISTORY 44Q Gendered Innovations in Science, Medicine, and Engineering, Schiebinger 4-5 units
HISTORY 243S/443A Human Origins: History, Evidence, and Controversy, Proctor 4-5 units

For Undergraduate Admissions applications, please visit the Stanford undergraduate admissions page.

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