Overview of the Graduate Program
The UW-Madison Program in the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology is one of the largest and oldest academic programs of its kind in the United States. Staffed by faculty from the departments of History of Science and Medical History & Bioethics, the program is known for the strength and diversity of its areas of study and its warm, collegial environment. All historical aspects of science, medicine, and technology receive attention - from their internal development to their broader social contexts, including their relationships with institutions, philosophy, religion, and literature.
Graduate Degrees Offered
We offer M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in History of Science, Medicine, and Technology in addition to an M.A. degree in the History of Medicine for people with advanced training in the health professions. These degrees lead to research and teaching careers in the history of science, medical history, history of technology, intellectual and cultural history, science in general education programs, science writing, and museum work.
Basic information on M.A. and Ph.D. degree requirements is available from the University's Graduate Catalog; additional details can be found in the History of Science Department's Graduate Student Handbook. Please click here to view the University's requirements for the Ph.D. minor. Please click here to read about the requirements for the M.A. degree in History of Medicine.
Ph.D. candidates in other departments can earn a minor in history of science by taking 9 credits in history of science at the 300 level or above, including Hist Sci 720. Courses must be completed with grades of B or better. No credits taken in independent study courses (Hist Sci 990 or 999) may be applied to the Ph.D. minor. Credit received for the History of Science Colloquium (Hist Sci 950) does not count toward the minor. Students are strongly encouraged to include a seminar among their minor courses. Graduate students who are interested in a history of science minor should see the department chair or the director of graduate studies before embarking on their minor program.
Applying to the Department of the History of Science
Applicants to the graduate program should note the following deadline for submitting application materials to the Department of History of Science:
- December 15 - Applications for fall admission, including all requests for financial aid.
- The department does not accept applications for spring admissions.
Read more about our application process.
The History of Science, Medicine, and Technology program has close ties to a number of programs and departments that support our graduate studies, including the Robert F. & Jean E. Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies, the Center for Culture, History and the Environment, as well as the departments of History, Philosophy, Gender and Women’s Studies, and Curriculum and Instruction.
The UW-Madison libraries, ranked as the 11th largest research collection in North America, provide exceptional resources for research in the history of science, medicine and technology. Because of the early interest in the history of science at Wisconsin, the libraries have been actively collecting periodicals, reference works, historical monographs, and other research materials for decades.
Tailoring the Program
Graduate students come to the Program in History of Science, Medicine, and Technology from a variety of backgrounds in the sciences and humanities and with diverse professional goals. The Program maintains a policy of maximum flexibility and, insofar as possible, tailors the work required for the degree to fit the individual. Students are encouraged to undertake work in related departments such as History, Philosophy, Science and Technology Studies, and the various sciences. Joint degrees in the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology and another field are possible. In past years such Ph.D. programs have been successfully completed with the departments of Philosophy, Classics, Psychology, History, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics.
The Program has formally organized joint Ph.D. programs with the departments of History and Philosophy and is an active contributor to the Ph.D. minor in Science and Technology Studies; please see the Graduate Student Handbook for more information about these joint programs. Although most students who enter the graduate program anticipate completing a Ph.D., the Program also welcomes applications from students whose career goals will be furthered by the M.A. degree.
Graduate students in our program undertake research on an impressively diverse range of topics. For a sample, see the list of dissertations in progress.
The Program in History of Science, Medicine, and Technology provides financial aid for graduate students in a variety of forms, primarily through teaching and project assistantships. The Program also grants two named fellowships, which were funded by generous donations from emeritus faculty: the John Neu Distinguished Graduate Fellowship and the David C. and Greta J. Lindberg Distinguished Graduate Fellowship. The Department of History of Science also jointly administers the Coleman Dissertation Fellowship in cooperation with the Institute for Research on the Humanities. This fellowship, funded by Louise Coleman in memory of William Coleman, a distinguished professor of history of biology and public health, is given to a student who is in the advanced stages of working on their dissertation.
Applicants may also compete for University Fellowships and for a variety of national fellowships offered by the National Science Foundation and other agencies. In addition, the Department of Medical History and Bioethics offers a Maurice L. Richardson Fellowship to a graduate student who is working with a member of that department or whose research will focus on the history of biomedical science or a closely related subject.
Unless specifically requested otherwise, all application for admission to the Program will also be taken as applications for financial aid from the Program, as well as for University Fellowships.