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: Paula Findlen

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 & Philosophy 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 49, 150, 151, 154
    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.

2020-2021 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, Longino 5 units
HPS/PHIL 61 Philosophy and the Scientific Revolution, 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 20N Technologies of Civilization: Writing, Number, and Money, Netz 3-4 units
CLASSGEN 47 Ancient Knowledge, New Frontiers: How the Greek Legacy Became Islamic Science, Netz 3 units
Classics 197 Aristotle's Logic, Netz 3-5 units
Math 163 The Greek Invention of Mathematics, Netz Not offered 19-20
HISTORY 40A/140A Scientific Revolution, Riskin 5 units
HISTORY 40/140 World History of Science, Proctor 3-5 units
HISTORY 42N The Missing Link, Riskin 4 units
HISTORY 234P/334PThe Age of Plague: Medicine and Society, 1300-1750, Findlen 5 units
HISTORY 235D/335D When Worlds Collide: The Trial of Galileo, Findlen Not offered 20-21
HISTORY 240/340 The History of Evolution, Riskin 5 units
HISTORY 220B/302B Coffee, Sugar, and Chocolate: Commodities and Consumption in World History, 1200-1800, Findlen Not offered 20-21
HISTORY 231 Leonardo's World: Science, Technology, and Art, Findlen Not offered 19-20
HISTORY 342 Darwin in the History of Life, Proctor 4-5 units
HISTORY 431 Early Modern Things, Findlen Not offered 20-21

Medicine in History

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

HISTORY 243C/343C People, Plants, and Medicine: Colonial Science and Medicine, Schiebinger 5 units
HISTORY 243G/343G Tobacco and Health in World History, Proctor 4-5 units
CLASSICS 123 Ancient Medicine, NetzNot offered 20-21
HISTORY 244C The History of the Body in Science, Medicine, and Culture, SchiebingerNot offered 20-21

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.

PHIL 125/225 Kant's First Critique, De Pierris 4 units
PHIL 127/227 Kant's Foundations of Morality, 2nd Critique, Friedman4 units
PHIL 162/262 Philosophy of Mathematics, Warren Not Offered 20-21
PHIL 163/263 Significant Figures in Philosophy of Science, Ryckman Not offered 20-21
PHIL 164A/264A Central Topics in the Philosophy of Science: Causation Not offered 20-21
PHIL 165/265 Philosophy of Physics: Space and Time, Ryckman 4 units
PHIL 167A/267A Philosophy of Biology, Longino Not offered 20-21
PHIL 263 Significant Figures in Philosophy of Science: Einstein, Ryckman Not offered 19-20
PHIL 327 Scientific Philosophy: From Kant to Kuhn and Beyond, Friedman 2-4 units
PHIL 361 Seminar in Social Dimensions of Scientific Knowledge, Longino not offered 20-21
PHIL 365
Seminar in Philosophy of Physics, Ryckman 2-4 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
HISTORY 44Q Gendered Innovations in Science, Medicine, and Engineering, Schiebinger 4-5 units
HISTORY 203C/303C History of Ignorance, Proctor 4-5 units
HISTORY 203F/ Nuclear Insecurity in the Bay Area and Beyond, Hecht 5 units
HISTORY 204D/304D Advanced Topics in Agnotology, Proctor 4-5 units
HISTORY 200D Doing the History of Science and Technology, Riskin and Mullaney 5 units
HISTORY 403A Materialities of Power, Part I, Hecht 4-5 units
HISTORY 403B Materialities of Power, Part II, Hecht 4-5 units
HISTORY 44/144 Sex, Gender and Intersectional Analysis in Science, Medicine, Engineering, and Environment, Schiebinger5 units

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

Home      Grants & Fellowships      Research Projects      People      Colloquia     Links

Mailing address: Building 200 Room 33 Stanford, CA 94305-2024 | phone 650-725-0714