History and Philosophy of Science

Study in the discipline of History and Philosophy of Science is offered by the School of History and Philosophy and Science in the Faculty of Science. Units of study in this major are available at standard and advanced level.

About the major

A major in History and Philosophy of Science (HPS) will allow you to enrich and deepen your knowledge of science and its place in modern society. The study of HPS also allows you to stand back from the specialised concerns of other subjects by gaining a broader perspective on what science is, how it acquired its current form, how it fits into contemporary society, and to analyse the ramifications of scientific developments in a social, cultural, and ethical perspective.

Graduates emerge with an ability to identify and examine the conceptual and social dimensions of science and technology in an historical perspective using a variety of scholarly techniques. History and Philosophy of Science is a valuable field of study for any career requiring an understanding of science, with particular relevance for careers in government or industry that require addressing and managing complex problems.

Requirements for completion

A major in History and Philosophy of Science requires 48 credit points, consisting of:

(i) 12 credit points of 1000-level core units
(ii) 12 credit points of 2000-level core units
(iii) 6 credit points of 3000-level core units
(iv) 6 credit points of 3000-level interdisciplinary project units
(v) 12 credit points of 3000-level selective units

A minor in History and Philosophy of Science requires 36 credit points, consisting of:

(i) 12 credit points of 1000-level core units
(ii) 12 credit points of 2000-level core units
(iii) 12 credit points of 3000-level units drawn from core, interdisciplinary project and selective units

First year

Core: HPSC1X00 Bioethics and HPSC1X01 What is this thing called Science?

Second year

Core: HPSC2X00 The Birth of Modern Science and HPSC2011 Science Ethics and Society

Third year

Core: HPSC3016 The Scientific Revolution
Interdisciplinary Project units: HPSC3888 HPSC Interdisciplinary Project or SCPU3001 Science Interdisciplinary Project

12 credit points of selective units: HPSC3002 History and Philosophy of the Biomedical Sciences, HPSC3108 History and Philosophy of the Physical Sciences, HPSC3023 Psychology and Psychiatry: History and Philosophy

In your third year you must take at least one designated project unit.

Fourth year

The fourth year is only offered within the combined Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Advanced Studies course.

Advanced coursework
The Bachelor of Advanced Studies advanced coursework option consists of 48 credit points, with a minimum of 24 credit points at 4000-level or above. Of these 24 credit points, you must complete a project unit of study worth at least 12 credit points.

Honours
Meritorious students in the Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Advanced Studies may apply for admission to Honours within a subject area of the Bachelor of Advanced Studies. Admission to Honours requires the prior completion of all requirements of the Bachelor of Science, including Open Learning Environment (OLE) units. If you are considering applying for admission to Honours, ensure your degree planning takes into account the completion of a second major and all OLE requirements prior to Honours commencement.

Unit of study requirements for Honours in the area of History and Philosophy of Science: completion of 24 credit points of project work and 24 credit points of coursework.

Contact and further information

W sydney.edu.au/science/hps/
E
T +61 2 9351 4226

Address:
School of History and Philosophy of Science
Level 3, Carslaw Building F07
University of Sydney NSW 2006

Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate from History and Philosophy of Science will be able to:

  1. Exhibit a broad and coherent body of knowledge in foundation scientific concepts and describe the close relationships between the historical, philosophical, and sociological analysis of science.
  2. Identify and critique classical and contemporary theories of the nature and progress of science and examine their social significance.
  3. Recognise and describe key ethical, social, and political issues that arise in the sciences and in medicine.
  4. Source, collate, analyse and critically evaluate scholarly material in the history and philosophy of science and gain clear understanding of their content, arguments and construction.
  5. Communicate concepts, issues and findings in history and philosophy of science through a range of modes for a variety of purposes and audiences, using evidence-based arguments that are robust to critique.
  6. Critically analyse theories, methods, concepts and applications within science.
  7. Address authentic problems in the history and philosophy of science, working professionally and responsibly within diverse, collaborative and interdisciplinary teams.
  8. Examine and evaluate contemporary issues in the history and philosophy of science, from a range of cultural, ethical and social perspectives.