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A&S—History and Philosophy of Science

The graduate program in the history and philosophy of science offers MA and PhD degrees through a combination of coursework and dissertation research. The department also offers an area of concentration in classics, philosophy and ancient science. The department supports scholarship in the history and philosophy of general science and in history and philosophy of particular sciences. It has special strengths in the history and philosophy of physical, biological, social, cognitive and neurosciences, and in ancient and 17th-century science. See http://www.hps.pitt.edu/graduate/areas.php.

Contact Information

Department Chair: Sandra D. Mitchell
Main Office: 1017 Cathedral of Learning
412-624-5896
Fax: 412-624-6825
E-mail: hpsdept@pitt.edu
www.hps.pitt.edu/

Admissions

Applicants for admission to the graduate program in history and philosophy of science will be expected to have a suitable undergraduate degree and to have some knowledge of the natural or social sciences. Applications are online. The deadline for completed applications is January 10. While the department awards both PhD and MA degrees, virtually all students are admitted into the PhD program.

Financial Assistance

Students in the PhD program are supported by fellowships or teaching assistantships/fellowships during their first five (5) years. The rates are set annually by the University. The department does not offer financial support to non-continuing MA students.

Degree Requirements

The graduate program consists of a series of seminars (approximately four to six are offered each term). These range from general surveys of the field and methods of research to specialized research seminars on selected topics in history and philosophy of science. These courses are divided into three areas:

  • Area 1: Core sequence: a three-term introduction at the graduate level to history and philosophy of science
  • Area 2: History of science
  • Area 3: Philosophy of science

MA Degree Requirements

A minimum of 24 credit hours are required for the degree distributed as follows:

  1. Area 1—9 credit hours in core seminars, HPS 2501, 2502, 2503.
  2. Areas 2 and 3—15 credit hours with at least 6 hours in each area.
  3. Core Seminar Examinations: A pass in end of term examinations in the two history of science core seminars and the philosophy of science core seminar.
  4. Language requirement: Good reading knowledge of either French, German, Latin, Greek, or another approved substitute language.
  5. Students must submit a research paper in the history of science and a research paper in the philosophy of science. Evaluations of papers will be limited to a master’s pass/fail. A master’s pass on both papers is required for the MA.
  6. No more than two (non-HPS) 1000-level courses may count toward the MA. (No pre-1000-level courses can be used to satisfy the degree requirements. No HPS courses at the 1000 level can count.)

PhD Degree Requirements:

A minimum of 72 credits with an MA in history and philosophy of science or completion of MA requirements.

  1. Further distribution of studies requirements: At least nine hours at the 1000 or 2000 level, in one of the following (a maximum of two at the 1000 level, including the two for the MA):
    • Philosophy, exclusive of philosophy of science and logic
    • History, exclusive of history of science
    • A field of natural sciences, social science, or computer science
      (courses taken toward the MA degree may be counted toward the requirement for the PhD)
  2. Proficiency in logic (equivalent to PHIL 1500)
  3. Language requirement: Good reading knowledge of one foreign language (Latin, Greek, German, French, or approved substitute). The foreign language exam must be passed before the student completes the comprehensive requirements.
  4. Satisfactory fulfillment of the comprehensive requirements, which are:
    • Core seminar examinations: A pass in end-of-term examinations in the two history of science core seminars and the philosophy of science core seminar.
    • Students must submit a research paper in the history of science and a research paper in the philosophy of science. Both must pass at the PhD level.
  5. Submission of a significant and acceptable dissertation on a topic in history and philosophy of science.
  6. All students must acquire some supervised teaching experience during their tenure at the University.

These requirements are specific departmental requirements, in addition to the general requirements for the MA and PhD degrees laid down by the Graduate Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences.

Course Listing

Faculty


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