- Core courses
The department offers eight core courses. Every student must take at least three by the end of their first year, including at least one in history and at least one in philosophy, and at least four in total. The core courses are:
- HPSC-X506: Survey of History of Science up to 1750 (antiquity to circa 1750)
- HPSC-X507: Survey of History of Science since 1750 (circa 1750 to the present)
- HPSC-X511: Science and Values
- HPSC-X540: How Science Really Works: Scientific Methods
- HPSC-X556: History and Philosophy of Premodern Science (antiquity and the middle ages)
- HPSC-X552: Modern Philosophy of Science (the modern period through late positivism)
- HPSC-X551: Survey of the Philosophy of Science
- HPSC-X706: Special Topics in the History and Philosophy of Science
Every student must take either X506 or X507, and at least one of X556, X552, or X551. Those students intending to emphasize history must take both X506 and X507. Those students intending to emphasize philosophy must take at least two of X556, X552, or X551. X706, while being a core course, cannot satisfy these distribution requirements. In addition, every student must take (usually in the first year) one course requiring a major research paper.
In addition to these core courses, each student must take a set of at least five additional lecture courses and/or seminars from the department’s graduate offerings, to be chosen in consultation with the student’s advisor.
- Credit requirements
Completion of 90 credit hours of graduate courses including no more than 30 credit hours of dissertation work (X800) and no more than 9 credit hours of individualized study (X600).
- Accumulation of credit hours
Language + tool skills
Basic language and tool skills courses do not count as graduate credit toward either the master’s degree nor the Ph.D., with the exception of 500-level+ tool skill courses in the Science Literacy and Responsible Research M.A.
Approved languages include: Spanish, Greek, Latin, French, German, Russian. Another language demonstrably crucial to a student's dissertation research may be accepted upon approval by the student's academic advisor and the director of graduate studies of a petition submitted by the student to the department.
Transfer of credit
Students who have done relevant graduate work at another university may apply for a transfer of some of their graduate credit hours. Transfers will normally be limited to the equivalent of four graduate seminars (12-16 credit hours), but exceptions can be made up to a maximum of 30 credit hours.
The request for such credit is handled on an individual basis and must be approved by both the department and the Graduate School. Such a request is normally presented after passing the qualifying exams.
The graduate school no longer allows students to transfer credits from X700 (M.A. research) to X800 (Ph.D. research). Therefore, unless you are certain that you will complete an M.A. thesis before going on to the Ph.D. dissertation, do not enroll in X700.
G901: Advanced Research
When you have earned 90 credit hours, you may sign up for one credit hour per semester of G901, with most fees waived, instead of a full load. This privilege is allowed, however, for only six semesters. After that, you must sign up for one hour of X800 per semester, which costs considerably more.
Under the current regulations, undergraduate credit hours used for languages and tool skills may count toward the 90 credit hours required to sign up for G901. This is a useful wrinkle, but it may not last. In any event, such credit hours will not count toward the 90 hours required for the Ph.D. Check with your advisor to verify the current situation.
X600: Advanced Readings Course
The individualized study course, X600: Advanced Readings Course, can be repeated for no more than 9 total credit hours. Credit hours over 9 will not be counted toward the Ph.D. nor the M.A. degrees. To register for X600, complete and submit the form to the Graduate Services Coordinator.
- Language/tool skill requirement
Two approved languages or (only for students emphasizing philosophy) one language and one tool skill.
Students are normally expected to complete one of these requirements before their third semester, and to complete the second language or tool skill requirement before their fifth semester. The choice of languages or tool skill is to be made in consultation with the student’s advisor. Courses used to satisfy the language/tool skill requirement do not count as graduate credit toward the Ph.D.
- Professional development seminar
All Ph.D. students must take two semesters of the Professional Development Seminar, normally during their first year in the program.
- Colloquium credit
All Ph.D. students must take a set of two courses of colloquium credit (X733) by the end of their 4th semester.
- Field of study
Many students choose to emphasize either history of science or philosophy of science. However, a student may opt for a combined emphasis in the history and philosophy of science.
- External minor
A student must also earn an outside minor in another department. The requirements for these minors are set by the department involved. Normally a student consults with the academic advisor of that department and decides with their advice which courses in that department the student should take. The student must file a “minor's declaration” form with HPSC as soon as possible and no later than the fifth semester.
Fields in which HPSC students have commonly earned external minors include: history, philosophy, or one of the sciences, such as astronomy, physics, mathematics, and biology. Should a student wish to take an atypical minor, it is necessary to get approval from the department.
- Third semester orals
During exam week at the end of the third semester, each student will take a general oral exam administered by several of the appropriate faculty. The exam will be based on the departmental core courses (both philosophy and history of science) taken in the student’s first three semesters.
Students are normally expected to have taken at least four core courses by the end of their third semester but must have taken at least three to be eligible for the examination, including at least one from philosophy of science and at least one from history of science. The exam will last about one hour and will range over three courses chosen by the faculty.
- Third year paper + advancing to the Ph.D. track
During the third year, each student submits a substantial research paper on a subject that has been agreed upon in consultation with their advisor and other appropriate faculty. Before formal submission to the entire faculty, the paper will be publicly presented and discussed in an open forum to which all faculty and student members of the department are invited. It also must be read and approved by a three-person committee (containing at least one historian and at least one philosopher) selected in consultation with the student’s advisor.
The qualifying paper defense should take place during the fifth semester. The committee of faculty readers has the right to request revisions before giving their approval of the paper for submission to the full faculty.
If they deem the paper satisfactory and the student capable of undertaking dissertation research, the full faculty then votes whether to place the student on the Ph.D. track. If the paper is not satisfactory, the student may resubmit it once more, after having revised it in consultation with their advisor and the committee of readers. If the paper is rejected by the full faculty a second time, the faculty will also decide whether the student should be advised to select a different topic for a qualifying paper or to recommend against placing the student on the Ph.D. track at this or any subsequent time.
- Dissertation proposal
Toward the end of the third year or during the early part of the fourth year, each student is expected to present to the relevant faculty committee a comprehensive written dissertation proposal, with extensive bibliography and literature survey.
Check the graduate school Bulletin for information about the composition of the faculty committee.
The student will defend the dissertation proposal at an oral examination before the same committee. The dissertation proposal defense will be broadly construed to include the relevance of the proposal to other salient issues in the field. In accordance with university rules, the proposal defense must take place no less than six months before final defense of the dissertation.
- External funding proposal
In conjunction with the professional development seminar, all graduate students will begin to develop an external funding proposal, aimed at obtaining funds for at least a semester, preferably for a year. Ph.D. students must complete the ???Educational Facilities Professional (EFP)???? as a prerequisite for admission to Ph.D. candidacy. It may be completed in tandem with the dissertation proposal and approved as part of the proposal defense, or it may be completed at an earlier stage and approved by the student’s advisory committee. Students are encouraged to submit their external funding proposal to an appropriate funding agency or foundation and given advice about how to do so.
There are many reasons for doing this early in your career, including:
- Your eligibility to apply for some important funding opportunities, such as NSF predoctoral fellowships, extends only for the first 2 years of your graduate career.
- Grant writing is an important part of your professional development, and the skills involved in writing an attractive proposal also transfer to other aspects of writing dissertation abstracts, job application letters.
- This experience early in your careers will prepare you to apply for various forms of funding, both internal and external to IU, that are available specifically during your dissertation research.
Upon completion of all of the above university and departmental requirements, students can be advanced to candidacy. You must submit a formal application for candidacy through One.IU.
When you embark upon the dissertation, you and your advisor will draw up a dissertation committee which can be called upon for advice and which will ultimately read and approve the dissertation. The committee must be comprised of at least three HPSC members and at least one member from outside the department. One member of the committee will be designated chair, and that person will be primarily responsible for the supervision of the research. Students should feel free to call upon all members of the committee for advice and suggestions.
The University requires an oral defense of the dissertation. This defense can be scheduled no less than 6 months after the formation of the research committee. The graduate school must approve the date of defense. When the time for the oral defense approaches, the student will present a copy of the dissertation to each member of the dissertation committee. These copies should include a table of contents, endnotes or footnotes, and bibliography. These copies must be sent to each committee member no less than four weeks in advance of the defense.
Upon the committee’s approval of the dissertation, the final version (incorporating any suggestions made by the committee at the time of the defense) must be submitted to the university graduate school, either electronically or in print. In either case, follow the instructions from the graduate school. You must also deliver two bound copies to the department, one for the reading room, and one for the dissertation advisor.
- Seven year limit
The university requires that the dissertation must be defended within seven years of the successful completion of the qualifying examinations. Only under special circumstances will the graduate school grant an extension. This is ample time for most students. A student who does take longer than seven years is required to take qualifying exams again in order to revalidate candidacy (this procedure may be initiated only once).
For further details, consult the section “General Requirements for Advanced Degrees” in the I.U. Bulletin—University Graduate School. Check both the most recent version and the issue of the Bulletin that was in effect when you entered the program. Consult with the director of graduate studies if there is a discrepancy between the two versions.
In the process of being placed on the Ph.D. track, defending the third-year paper, advancing to candidacy, setting up a research committee and dissertation committee, and finally defending the dissertation, there is a set sequence of forms and deadlines to be filled out by the student and the department. It is crucial that the student follow the projected timetable for degree completion and stay in close contact with his or her advisor to be sure that the appropriate forms are submitted by the specified deadlines.
- Languages + tool skills
For the completion of a M.A. degree, a student must show reading proficiency in one approved foreign language or tool skill. For the completion of the M.A.: Studies in Science Literary and Responsible Research, a student must complete two tool skill courses. For the advancement to candidacy for a Ph.D. degree, a student must have:
- Reading proficiency in two approved foreign languages or (for those emphasizing philosophy) reading proficiency in one approved language and proficiency in an approved tool skill.
- Normally students wishing to pursue historical research will acquire reading proficiency in one language for the M.A., and in two languages for the Ph.D. Students who emphasize the philosophy of science may substitute proficiency in an approved tool skill for one language.
- Approved languages include Spanish, Greek, Latin, French, German, Russian. Another language demonstrably crucial to a student's dissertation research may be accepted upon approval by the student's academic advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies of a petition submitted by the student to the department.
- Approved tool skills include logic, probability theory, and statistics. Another formal topic demonstrably crucial to a student’s dissertation research may be accepted upon approval of a petition submitted by the student. Courses used to satisfy the language/tool skill requirement do not count as graduate credit toward the master’s degree or the Ph.D., with the exception of the M.A.: Studies in Science Literary and Responsible Research.
- Advising, semester reviews, + the Ph.D. track
Every incoming student is assigned a faculty advisor at the beginning of his or her first semester. Later, a student may choose to switch to another advisor, though there is no presumption that a student must end up writing his or her dissertation with the advisor. The advisor’s role is to guide the student in selecting courses and in designing a program of study.
The work of all graduate students is reviewed by the full department during various faculty meetings. The purpose of these reviews is to provide students with an informed estimate of their ability to complete a Ph.D. within a reasonable length of time. The faculty review grades, completion of coursework, and the quality of research papers, and make recommendations to students on how they might strengthen any areas needing improvement.
Along with the third-year paper, these review form part of the basis for the decision whether to place a student on the Ph.D. track. The Ph.D. track is an internal designation and should not be confused with being admitted to candidacy, which is the result of a successful defense of the dissertation proposal. Students who are not put on the Ph.D. track will be advised to complete a (non-thesis) M.A., and they will not continue in the Ph.D. program.
- Synopsis + sequence of Ph.D. requirements
Following is the normal sequence. Under exceptional circumstances, students who wish to delay any aspect must get faculty approval.
- Complete at least 3 core courses, the professional development seminar, the colloquium series, and begin developing external funding proposal (1st and 2nd semesters).
- Pass oral qualifying examination (end of 2nd semester).
- Consult with advisor and form advisory committee (end of 2nd semester).
- Complete first foreign language (in the case of historians) or first foreign language/tool skill (in the case of philosophers) by the end of the first summer.
- Get external funding proposal approved by advisory committee.
- Complete at least 4 core courses (preferably end of the 4th semester).
- Complete second foreign language (in the case of historians or philosophers) or tool skill (in the case of philosophers) by the end of the second summer.
- Complete research paper (early 5th semester).
- Complete at least 5 graduate lecture/seminar department courses and the external minor.
- Defend dissertation proposal and (if not already done) get external funding proposal approved; and advance to candidacy (end 6th semester).
- Form dissertation research committee and submit short dissertation prospectus to University Graduate School for approval (see Bulletin for filing requirements).
- Dissertation research and writing (7th semester until completion).
- Final defense (cannot be scheduled until at least six months have passed after forming research committee).