The Department of History and Sociology of Science is distinctive for its scope of study and its emphasis on an integrated program that explores the relationships between disciplines. In general, the Department admits students who wish to be prepared for research careers in any of the Department's areas of faculty strength, namely history of life sciences, medicine, technology, social sciences in Europe and the United States from the late 17th century on, and science, technology, and medicine in Russia, Africa, and East Asia. The program focuses on a balance of technical, social, and cultural aspects of natural knowledge. Students are encouraged to integrate these aspects in research and to explore the applications of history to contemporary issues in industrial, health, and science policy.
Our students quickly become active scholars, presenting their research at conferences, securing funding and prizes, and publishing their work. Recent graduates have won prizes for their work from the Society for the History of Technology and the Business History Society, and published in Technology and Culture and the Journal of the Social Studies of Science among others.
Visit the pages of this website to see the achievements of graduates from our doctoral program, the success of our recent graduates, lists of current graduate students, aspects of graduate student life, and graduate student news. If you have any questions about the HSS graduate program--courses, faculty or requirements-contact our Graduate Chair. For questions about the admissions process, go to the SAS Graduate Division webpage.
Our Placement Record
Although the job market is competitive, our graduates have fared very well over the years. The majority work at universities, and they are members of the faculty at Binghamton, Cornell, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, MIT, Pennsylvania State, Rensselaer Polytechnic, Rutgers University, Stanford, the Universities of California, Delaware, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Amsterdam, Sydney and New South Wales. Others work in museums, archives, research organizations, foundations and for business corporations. Several graduates combine careers in medical history and the clinical practice of medicine. For information about our most recent graduates and their current positions, click here.
Penn has an outstanding network of alumni who play a key role in helping us place our current students. Faculty in the department have a strong commitment to training students to learn all the skills they will need to be competitive in the academic job market. The Graduate Group prepares scholars for careers not only in these fields but also in historic preservation, government service, and technology and health policy for which their knowledge not only of technical work, but of its social and political contexts strongly qualifies them.