History and Philosophy of Science and Technology

How are scientific theories developed? Do values affect science and do scientific theories influence social values? What is the role of science and technology in a democratic society? These are some of the questions that historians and philosophers of science examine. Courses in the philosophy of science engage with the structure of science, its methods, and its special claims to the production of knowledge. Courses in the history of science and technology situate scientific advances in their cultural and socio-economic context. 

Students taking HPS courses deepen their understanding of major ideas in science; they learn to think critically about the past and present role of science in human societies, and they improve their skills in oral presentation and debate, research, and writing.

Students pursuing an HPS POST will be ideally suited to any professional or academic context that requires an understanding of science, science in society, and the relation between the sciences and the humanities. The Minor programs are designed to complement a range of Major or Specialist programs including those in the sciences, history, philosophy, or any program for which the combination of sciences and humanities could prove beneficial. The HPS major program is useful for elementary and secondary school teaching, museum and library work, science writing and editing, law, medicine and other fields where competence in both science and humanities is valuable.

All History and Philosophy of Science (HPS) courses are designed to be accessible to students majoring in other programs. 

 

Admission Information

  • Apply to the Humanities admission category on the St. George campus
  • Six Grade 12 U or M courses, including English are required
  • History courses are recommended
  • Students outside of Ontario should have the equivalent senior high school credits

 

Honours Bachelor of Arts Programs

  • History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (major and minor)
  • Science and Society (minor jointly offered with Victoria College) 

 

First-Year Courses

  • HPS 100H1 - Introduction to History and Philosophy of Science
  • HPS 110H1 - The Science of Human Nature
  • HPS 120H1 – How to Think about Science

 

Advice for First Year

Students interested in the HPS program are encouraged to contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies. It is recommended that students intending to pursue an HPS degree take one of the HPS 100-level courses during their first year of study. We are happy to allow appropriate substitutions for courses required in our programs.

 

Careers

The program is useful for elementary and secondary school teaching, museum and library work, science writing and editing, law and other fields where competence in both science and humanities is valuable.

Most students with IHPST bachelor’s degrees go on to graduate study in either History of Science or Philosophy of Science. Some pursue careers in high school teaching or go on to become museum curators.

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