Please note, all required supporting documents are to be submitted through the online application system. Hard copy materials, other than official transcripts, will not be accepted. The application deadline for History and Sociology of Science doctoral program is December 15th. No applications received after the 15th will be accepted or reviewed by the graduate committee.
If you have questions about admissions and requirements that are not answered here, we encourage you to contact our Graduate Coordinator, Kate Stoler, at
Application materials checklist
Applications must contain all of the following to be considered complete:

  • Completed online application
  • An academic curriculum vitae summarizing your academic background.
  • Nonrefundable $90 application fee  (McNair Scholars may fill out this form for a fee waiver)
  • Personal statement (details below)
  • Transcripts uploaded to the application
  • Three letters of recommendation (details below)
  • Writing Sample (details below)
  • Language Test Scores (international candidates only)

After a complete application is received and reviewed, candidates under serious consideration may be invited to interview with a member of the Admissions Committee on campus or remotely. 
Personal statement
In the personal statement, all Ph.D. applications within the Graduate Division of Arts & Sciences should address the following:

Please describe how your background and academic experiences have influenced your decision to pursue a graduate degree and led you to apply to Penn. Your essay should detail your specific research interests and intellectual goals within your chosen field. Please provide information about your educational trajectory, intellectual curiosity and academic ambitions. If you have overcome adversity and/or experienced limited access to resources or opportunities in your field of study, please feel free to share how that has affected the course of your education. We are interested in your lived experiences and how your particular perspective might contribute to the inclusive and dynamic learning community that Penn values and strives to create. 

Applicants should discuss their interest specifically in the doctoral program of the Department of History and Sociology of Science, interests and goals in pursuing the history & sociology of science/technology/medicine, previous training relevant for the degree, and how Penn and Philadelphia fit into their stated interests and goals. The length of your personal statement should not exceed two double-spaced pages

You must submit academic transcript(s) from all previous academic work undertaken. Screenshots or PDFs of unofficial transcripts may be submitted at the application stage. Official transcripts will be requested if you are offered and accept admission to the program. 

Letters of recommendation
Each applicant must submit at least three letters of recommendation but may submit up to five. Letters should come from individuals in a position to evaluate your professional and/or academic work, such as a supervisor or professor, and who know of your desire to enter the philosophy doctoral program.
Recommendations must be submitted online. Please follow the instructions in the Recommendations section of the online application.
Standardized test scores
Please note, GRE scores are not required by the History and Sociology of Science department for admission in the doctoral program and will not be considered if they are sent.
Writing Sample
Your application must include a writing sample for which you are the primary or sole author. The writing sample may not exceed 30 pages.
Language Test Scores (international candidates only)
Applicants who are not US citizens or do not have English as the first language must submit language test scores. TOEFL & IELTS scores are accepted and these tests must be taken within two years of the application.
If you have completed a degree in higher education from an institution in which the medium language of instruction is English, we are able to waive the TOEFL/ IELTS requirement. Please contact Kate Stoler ( after your application has been compiled, including submission of your academic transcripts, to activate the English Language Test waiver
Ready to start your Penn journey?  Apply HERE
If you have questions about admissions and requirements that are not answered here, we encourage you to read our FAQs page. If you have visited the FAQ page and still have questions, you may contact the Graduate Coordinator
Please note, the best way to contact the department about questions is by email. To be fair to all applicants who have submitted information requests, phone calls will not be answered or returned. Emails will be answered in the order they are received. During peak admissions season, it may take up to a week for faculty or staff to respond to email. Please be patient while we work to assist everyone with their admissions needs.