The graduate program in History and Philosophy of Science is committed to research and teaching in the historical and conceptual foundations of science. This interdisciplinary department offers courses and seminars that lead to MA and PhD degrees. It offers qualified students the opportunity to pursue an intensive course of study in the historical and philosophical dimensions of science. Graduate training includes course work in history of science, philosophy, logic, and often in the sciences. It is possible to work out a program that leads to a master's degree in one of these fields, while pursuing the PhD degree in history and philosophy of science. Graduate seminars are supplemented by a Colloquium in History and Philosophy of Science, by the visitors and activities of the Center for Philosophy of Science, and by the Archives of Scientific Philosophy (Carnap, De Finetti, Reichenbach, Ramsey). Students may also take courses offered by the Department of Philosophy at Carnegie Mellon University without paying additional tuition.
Among the major research topics of the departmental faculty are the philosophy of space and time, the 17th-century mechanical philosophy, Einstein and the theory of relativity, Galileo, the historical interaction of science and philosophy since the Renaissance, the logic of scientific inference, causation, philosophy of neuroscience, psychology, and cognitive science, the history and philosophy of evolutionary biology, the history and philosophy of molecular biology, the philosophy of medicine, Medieval and Greek science, scientific change and progress, and explanation in the special sciences.
Both the PhD and MA degrees are awarded, although only the PhD program accepts applications from students not currently enrolled at Pitt. Terminal MA degrees may be sought by students in other graduate programs at Pitt who find studies in history and philosophy of science relevant to their career interests.
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.
Areas of Concentration
The graduate program in History and Philosophy of Science offers five areas of concentration in which graduate students may choose to specialize. The areas are those in which the faculty show a strong interest and expertise.
Applicants for admission to the graduate program in History and Philosophy of Science should have a suitable undergraduate degree and some knowledge of the natural or social sciences. Candidates should provide evidence of aptitude in history and philosophy of science and an interest in the interdisciplinary study of science.
View a complete list of PhD graduates from the HPS program and their first jobs. We do our best to follow their later careers, but cannot guarantee that this information is up to date.
Thank you for your interest in our program at Pitt! The Admissions FAQ answers some frequently asked questions from applicants.