History and Philosophy of Science and Technology

HPST: Introduction

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Faculty ​Affiliation

Arts and Science

Degree Programs

History and Philosophy of Science and ​Technology

MA and PhD

  • Fields:
    • History of Mathematics and Physical Sciences;
    • ​​History of Medicine and Life Sciences;
    • ​​History of Technology​;
    • ​​Philosophy of Science

Collaborative Specializations

The following collaborative specializations are available to students in participating degree programs as listed below:

Overview

The Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (IHPST) conducts research, offers advanced studies programs, and serves as a focus for University-wide interest in its field.

Courses are open to all graduate students and are suitable complements for specialists in science or the humanities. Students are encouraged to participate in the IHPST colloquia, which are open to the University of Toronto community.

Contact and Address

Web: hps.utoronto.ca
Email: ihpst.info@utoronto.ca
Telephone: (416) 978-5397
Fax: (416) 978-3003

Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (IHPST)
University of Toronto
Old Victoria College
Room 316, 91 Charles Street West
Toronto, Ontario M5S 1K7
Canada

HPST: Graduate Faculty

Full Members

Baigrie, Brian - BA, MA, PhD
Berkovitz, Joseph - BSc, MA, PhD
Brown, James - BA, MA, PhD, FRSC
Chakravartty, Anjan - BSc, MPH, MA, PhD
Dacome, Lucia - BA, MPH, PhD
Fehige, Yiftach - BSc, MTh, MPH, PhD, DTh
Fraser, Craig - BA, MA, PhD
Gingras, Yves - BSc, MSc, PhD
Huber, Franz - MA, PhD
Jones-Imhotep, Edward - BA, PhD (Director)
Katzav, Joel - BSc, MA, PhD
Krementsov, Nikolai - PhD
Lightman, Bernard - BA, MA, PhD
Penfold, Steve - MA, PhD
Seager, William Edward - BA, MA, PhD
Shorter, Edward - BA, MA, PhD
Smith, Brian Cantwell - BS, MS, PhD
Snobelen, Stephen - BA, MA, MPH, PhD
Solovey, Mark - BA, MA, AM, PhD
Upshur, Ross Edward - BA, MA, MSc, MD
Vicedo Castello, Marga - BA, MA, PhD, PhD
Walsh, Denis - BA, BSc, MPH, PhD, PhD
Yeang, Chen-Pang - BS, SM, PhD, ScD

Members Emeriti

De Sousa, Ronald - BA, PhD, FRSC
Goldstick, Daniel - BA, BPhil, DPhil
Thompson, Paul - BA, MA, PhD

Associate Members

Sung, Wen-Ching - BA, MA, MS, MS, MS, PhD, PhD

HPST: History and Philosophy of Science and Technology MA

Master of Arts​

Program Description

Admission to the MA is highly selective and competitive. Acceptance is based on a combination of grades, references, academic and professional accomplishments, areas of interest, and a sample of written work. The IHPST website contains detailed instructions for completing admission applications. Applications must be accompanied by transcripts, a statement of interest, letters of reference, a curriculum vitae, and a writing sample.

Applicants who wish to take one or more of the courses offered by IHPST as non-degree students should apply for admission as Special Students. The application procedures are the same as for those of the MA program, but the deadline for applications is May 1.

The MA program can be taken on a full-time or part-time basis.

Minimum Admission Requirements

  • Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants must also satisfy IHPST's additional admission requirements stated below.

  • A bachelor's degree from a recognized university with an average grade of at least B+ in the final two years of undergraduate work. While the majority of accepted students exceed this standard, the very broad scope of the field and the variety of fruitful approaches to it also imply that many different backgrounds are appropriate. Accordingly, grades are only one criterion used to judge applicants.

  • Applications must be accompanied by a 300- to 500-word statement of interest indicating the applicant's areas of interest in history and/or philosophy of science and technology at the graduate level. A writing sample of no more than 3,000 words (not to exceed 20 pages) is required.

  • Application deadline is January 15 of every year.

  • Applicants whose primary language is not English and who are not graduates of a university whose language of instruction is English must submit results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and Test of Written English (TWE) with the following minimum scores:

    • ​​​paper-based TOEFL: 580 and 5 on the TWE

    • Internet-based TOEFL: 93/120 and 22/30 on the writing and speaking sections.

Program Requirements

  • Coursework. Students must complete a minimum of 3.0 full-course equivalents (FCEs). A student’s curriculum is arranged in consultation with the student’s faculty advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies. Students make course choices consistent with a commitment to either:

    • ​​​​one of the three history fields (History of Mathematics and Physical Sciences; History of Medicine and Life Sciences; History of Technology), or

    • the philosophy field (Philosophy of Science).

  • Students in a history field must:

    • complete HPS 1000H Introduction to the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (0.5 FCE) in the first session

    • complete 1.0 FCE from the HPS 2000 series

    • complete 0.5 FCE from the HPS 3000 series

    • complete elective courses (1.0 FCE)

    • demonstrate a reading knowledge of French or German; language instruction courses are not counted in the 3.0 FCEs required for the degree.

  • Students in the philosophy field must:

    • complete HPS 1000H Introduction to the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (0.5 FCE) in the first session

    • complete 0.5 FCE from the HPS 2000 series

    • complete 1.0 FCE from the HPS 3000 series

    • complete elective courses (1.0 FCE)

    • demonstrate proficiency in introductory logic, a reading knowledge of French, or a reading knowledge of German; logic and language instruction courses are not counted in the 3.0 FCEs required for the degree.

  • Students in either field who wish to pursue independent research may take HPS 1500H Research Paper (0.5 FCE), in which they carry out a self-initiated research project under the direction of a faculty advisor.

Program Length

​3 sessions full-time (typical registration sequence: F/W/S);​
15 sessions part-time

Time Limit

3 years full-time;
6 years part-time

HPST: History and Philosophy of Science and Technology PhD

Doctor of Philosophy​​

Program Description

Admission to the PhD program is highly selective and competitive. Acceptance is based on a combination of grades, references, academic and professional accomplishments, areas of interest, and a sample of written work. The IHPST website contains detailed instructions for completing admission applications. Applications must be accompanied by transcripts, a statement of interest, letters of reference, a curriculum vitae, and a writing sample. The application deadline is January 15 of every year.

Applicants must be admitted via one of the following routes: 1) following completion of a master's degree in History and Philosophy of Science and Technology or 2) direct entry following completion of an appropriate bachelor's degree.

With the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies, some applicants may be admitted to a flexible-time PhD option. This option will benefit mature students who remain active in their professional careers during the PhD, such as physicians, engineers, educators, and IT professionals. The option will enable them to engage in supervised research in the history and/or philosophy of their profession.

Applicants who wish to take one or more of the courses offered by IHPST as non-degree students should apply for admission as Special Students. The application procedures are the same as for those of the MA program, but the deadline for applications is May 1.

 

PhD Program

Minimum Admission Requirements

  • Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants must also satisfy IHPST's additional admission requirements stated below.

  • A University of Toronto master's degree in History and Philosophy of Science and Technology or its equivalent from a recognized university with an average grade of at least an A– in the applicant's program and with no individual grade less than B+. While the majority of accepted students exceed this standard, the very broad scope of the field and the variety of fruitful approaches to it also imply that many different backgrounds are appropriate. Accordingly, grades are only one criterion used to judge applicants.

  • Applications must be accompanied by a 300- to 500-word statement of interest indicating the applicant's areas of interest in history and/or philosophy of science and technology at the graduate level. A writing sample of no more than 3,000 (not to exceed 20 pages) words is required.

  • Applicants whose primary language is not English and who are not graduates of a university whose language of instruction is English must submit results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and Test of Written English (TWE) with the following minimum scores:

    • paper-based TOEFL: 580 and 5 on the TWE or

    • Internet-based TOEFL: 93/120 and 22/30 on the writing and speaking sections.

Program Requirements

  • Students admitted on the basis of a master's degree must:

    • Complete 3.0 full-course equivalents (FCEs); a student whose MA degree does not exhibit sufficient breadth is required to take additional courses.

    • Make course choices consistent with a commitment to either:

      • one of the three history fields (History of Mathematics and Physical Sciences; History of Medicine and Life Sciences; History of Technology). Students in the history fields must demonstrate reading knowledge of French or German; language instruction courses are not counted in the FCEs required for the degree OR

      • the philosophy field (Philosophy of Science). Students in the philosophy field must demonstrate proficiency in introductory logic, a reading knowledge of French, or a reading knowledge of German; logic and language instruction courses are not counted in the FCEs required for the degree.
  • Arrange the balance of their curriculum in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies and faculty instructors.

  • Submit a proposal for an advanced research paper (required for HPS 1100Y+) by end of Year 1 for students who enter with a master's degree.

  • Students are responsible for ensuring that they have an appropriate supervisor. All supervision arrangements are reviewed and approved by the Director of Graduate Studies who assists in the search for a supervisor, if necessary. Proper supervision is a prerequisite for continuation in the program.

  • Maintain a cumulative average of at least A– with no individual grade less than B+. In addition, all students should receive at least an A– on the HPS 1100Y+ Advanced Research Paper. Students falling below these standards may be recommended for termination from the program.

  • Demonstrate other competencies crucial to conducting research in the student's thesis area, as determined by the supervisory committee in consultation with the student and the Director of Graduate Studies. This may include, for example, competence in another language; mathematics; and a physical, life, or social science.

  • Pass a qualifying examination in areas related to the field of expected research. Examination is conducted by the student's specialist committee, normally three faculty members.

  • Submit a thesis proposal approved by the student's thesis supervisory committee and the Director of Graduate Studies.

Program Length

4 years

Time Limit

6 years

+ Extended course. For academic reasons, coursework is extended into session following academic session in which course is offered.

 

PhD Program (Direct-Entry)

Minimum Admission Requirements

  • Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants must also satisfy IHPST's additional admission requirements stated below.

  • An appropriate bachelor's degree from a recognized university, with an average grade of at least a B+ in the applicant's overall program and of at least an A– in the applicant's final two years of study.

  • Applications must be accompanied by a 300- to 500-word statement of interest indicating the applicant's areas of interest in history and/or philosophy of science and technology at the graduate level. A writing sample is required.

  • Applicants whose primary language is not English and who are not graduates of a university whose language of instruction is English must submit results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and Test of Written English (TWE) with the following minimum scores:

    • paper-based TOEFL: 580 and 5 on the TWE

    • Internet-based TOEFL: 93/120 and 22/30 on the writing and speaking sections.

Program Requirements

  • Students admitted on the basis of a bachelor's degree (direct-entry) must:

    • Complete 6.0 full-course equivalents (FCEs) in total; of these, students must complete all of the MA program requirements including language proficiency, normally in Year 1.

    • Complete all required courses by the end of Year 2. The exception is HPS 1100Y+, which should be completed at the end of Year 3.

    • Make course choices consistent with a commitment to either:

      • one of the three history fields (History of Mathematics and Physical Sciences; History of Medicine and Life Sciences; History of Technology). Students in the history fields must demonstrate reading knowledge of French or German; language instruction courses are not counted in the FCEs required for the degree OR

      • the philosophy field (Philosophy of Science). Students in the philosophy field must demonstrate proficiency in introductory logic, a reading knowledge of French, or a reading knowledge of German; logic and language instruction courses are not counted in the FCEs required for the degree.

  • Arrange the balance of their curriculum in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies and faculty instructors.

  • Submit a proposal for an advanced research paper (required for HPS 1100Y+), by end of Year 2.

  • Students are responsible for ensuring that they have an appropriate supervisor. All supervision arrangements are reviewed and approved by the Director of Graduate Studies who assists in the search for a supervisor, if necessary. Proper supervision is a prerequisite for continuation in the program.

  • Maintain a cumulative average of at least A– with no individual grade less than B+. In addition, all students should receive at least an A– on the HPS 1100Y+ Advanced Research Paper. Students falling below these standards may be recommended for termination from the program.

  • Demonstrate other competencies crucial to conducting research in the student's thesis area, as determined by the supervisory committee in consultation with the student and the Director of Graduate Studies. This may include, for example, competence in another language; mathematics; and a physical, life, or social science.

  • Pass a qualifying examination in areas related to the field of expected research. Examination is conducted by the student's specialist committee, normally three faculty members.

  • Submit a thesis proposal approved by the student's thesis supervisory committee and the Director of Graduate Studies.

Program Length

5 years

Time Limit

7 years

+ Extended course. For academic reasons, coursework is extended into session following academic session in which course is offered.

 

PhD Program (Flexible-Time)

Minimum Admission Requirements

  • Applicants to the flexible-time PhD option are accepted under the same admission requirements as applicants to the full-time PhD option.

  • Students will be admitted on the basis of a master's degree in History and Philosophy of Science and Technology; admission based on a bachelor's degree is not available.

  • Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants must also satisfy IHPST's additional admission requirements stated below.

  • A University of Toronto master's degree in History and Philosophy of Science and Technology or its equivalent from a recognized university with an average grade of at least an A– in the applicant's program and with no individual grade less than B+. While the majority of accepted students exceed this standard, the very broad scope of the field and the variety of fruitful approaches to it also imply that many different backgrounds are appropriate. Accordingly, grades are only one criterion used to judge applicants.

  • Applications must be accompanied by a 300- to 500-word statement of interest indicating the applicant's areas of interest in history and/or philosophy of science and technology at the graduate level. A writing sample is required.

  • Applicants whose primary language is not English and who are not graduates of a university whose language of instruction is English must submit results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and Test of Written English (TWE) with the following minimum scores:

    • paper-based TOEFL: 580 and 5 on the TWE or

    • Internet-based TOEFL: 93/120 and 22/30 on the writing and speaking sections.

Program Requirements

  • Program requirements for the flexible-time option are identical to those for the full-time PhD program, except that the program of study will relate to the student's work and vice versa.

  • Students in the flexible-time option are required to register full-time for the first four years of the program. Thereafter, they may register part-time.

  • Transfers between the full-time PhD program and the flexible-time PhD option are not permitted.

  • Students in the flexible-time option must satisfy the SGS General Regulations and Degree Regulations in the SGS Calendar, including good academic standing, supervision, and candidacy regulations.

  • The student will develop a thesis proposal, which must be approved by the student's thesis supervisory committee and the Director of Graduate Studies.

  • Students admitted on the basis of a master's degree must:

    • Complete 3.0 full-course equivalents (FCEs); a student whose MA degree does not exhibit sufficient breadth is required to take additional courses.

    • Make course choices consistent with a commitment to either:

      • one of the three history fields (History of Mathematics and Physical Sciences; History of Medicine and Life Sciences; History of Technology). Students in the history fields must demonstrate reading knowledge of French or German; language instruction courses are not counted in the FCEs required for the degree OR

      • the philosophy field (Philosophy of Science). Students in the philosophy field must demonstrate proficiency in introductory logic, a reading knowledge of French, or a reading knowledge of German; logic and language instruction courses are not counted in the FCEs required for the degree.

  • Arrange the balance of their curriculum in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies and faculty instructors.

  • Submit a proposal for an advanced research paper (required for HPS 1100Y+), by the end of Year 1.

  • Students are responsible for ensuring that they have an appropriate supervisor. All supervision arrangements are reviewed and approved by the Director of Graduate Studies who assists in the search for a supervisor, if necessary. Proper supervision is a prerequisite for continuation in the program.

  • Maintain a cumulative average of at least A– with no individual grade less than B+. In addition, all students should receive at least an A– on the HPS 1100Y+ Advanced Research Paper. Students falling below these standards may be recommended for termination from the program.

  • Demonstrate other competencies crucial to conducting research in the student's thesis area, as determined by the supervisory committee in consultation with the student and the Director of Graduate Studies. This may include, for example, competence in another language; mathematics; and a physical, life, or social science.

  • Pass a qualifying examination in areas related to the field of expected research. Examination is conducted by the student's specialist committee, normally three faculty members.

  • Submit a thesis proposal approved by the student's thesis supervisory committee and the Director of Graduate Studies.

Program Length

6 years

Time Limit

8 years

+ Extended course. For academic reasons, coursework is extended into session following academic session in which course is offered.

 

HPST: History and Philosophy of Science and Technology MA, PhD Courses

Not all courses are offered every year. Consult IHPST regarding course offerings.

History and Philosophy of Science and Technology

HPS 1000H
Introduction to the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (pro-seminar: required for all students in their first session)
HPS 1001H
Individual Reading and Research in History and Philosophy of Science and Technology
HPS 1002H
Individual Reading and Research in History and Philosophy of Science and Technology
HPS 1003H
Individual Reading and Research in History and Philosophy of Science and Technology
HPS 1005Y
Individual Reading and Research in History and/or Philosophy of Science and Technology
HPS 1100Y+
Advanced Research Paper (required for all students)
HPS 1500H Research Paper
HPS 2000H
History of Mathematics
HPS 2001H
History of Physics
HPS 2003H
History of Biology
HPS 2004H
History of Medicine
HPS 2006H
History of Technology II
HPS 2007H
History of Astronomy
HPS 2008H
History of Psychology
HPS 2009H
History and Philosophy of the Social Sciences
HPS 2010H The Sciences of Human Nature
HPS 3000H
Philosophy of Science
HPS 3001H
The Philosophy of Biology
HPS 3002H
The History and Philosophy of Science
HPS 3003H
Social Studies of Medicine
HPS 3004H Philosophy of Medicine
HPS 3006H Philosophy of Probability
HPS 3007H Philosophy of Economics
HPS 3008H Philosophy of Science and Religion
HPS 3009H Slavery, Medicine, and Science in Historical Perspective
HPS 3010H Social Epistemology
HPS 4001H
The Scientific Revolution: Galileo to Newton
HPS 4007H
Body, Medicine, and Society in Early Modern Europe
HPS 4017H
The Rise of Eugenics: A Comparative History
HPS 4022H Theory of Scientific Change
HPS 4101H
Topics in the History of Physics
HPS 4102H
Topics in the History of Technology
HPS 4105H
Topics in the History of the Social and Behavioural Sciences
HPS 4106H Technology, Environment, and History
HPS 4300H
The Historian’s Craft: Sources, Methods, and Approaches
HPS 4500H
Religion and Science on Human Sexuality
HPS 4502H
Teleology, Adaptation, and Design
HPS 4505H
Complexity, Reduction, and Emergence in Contemporary Biology
HPS 4512H
Thought Experiments
HPS 4601H
Topics in Philosophy of Science

+ Extended course. For academic reasons, coursework is extended into session following academic session in which course is offered.

Outside Courses of Possible Interest

Check with individual departments for course availability during the academic year.

Book History and Print Culture

BKS 1001H
Introduction to Book History
BKS 1002H
Book History in Practice
BKS 2000H
Advanced Seminar in Book History and Print Culture