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Yale University Course/Program Name
Application closes on
National :02 Jan 
International :02 Jan 

MA History of Science & Medicine

 Course Level
Masters / PG
Full Time

2 Years
 Start month

 Tuition fee

39800 USD
39800 USD

Application fee

International 105 USD
National 105 USD
Department of History
Scores accepted
IELTS (min)7
TOEFL-IBT (min)100
TOEFL-PBT (min)600
GRE (avg)326
GMAT (avg)720

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About this course

The History of Science and Medicine Program (HSHM) is a semi-autonomous graduate track within the Department of History. HSHM students are awarded degrees in History, with a concentration in the History of Science and Medicine; they are fully fledged members of the History Department.

Students in the History of Science and Medicine come from diverse educational backgrounds, and they pursue a wide range of topics. Successful applicants will sometimes have experience in scientific, technical, or clinical subjects that are not ordinarily part of preparation for graduate study in History. The faculty considers all qualifications when evaluating applicants.

The HSHM program offers opportunities for students to pursue research spanning the full range of the history of science and history of medicine. Instruction is offered in small seminars, and students receive advice and guidance from faculty advisers throughout the entire period of enrollment. The Program provides many opportunities for professional development in teaching, research, publication, and presentation.

Methodological training is expansive and interdisciplinary. Students work with all kinds of sources—texts, instruments, artifacts, interviews—and incorporate social, cultural, political, geographic, and economic analysis. Students are also encouraged to draw on other disciplines, including anthropology, sociology, literature, philosophy, and the contemporary natural and social sciences.

One special advantage of graduate study at Yale is a library system that is among the best in the world. The Medical Historical Library contains renowned collections and rare works in the history of medicine and related sciences, and the university library system as a whole has exceptional depth in original sources for all major sciences and technological systems.

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Eligibility Criteria

English language requirement:

  • IELTS: 7
  • TOEFL-IBT: 100
  • TOEFL-PBT: 600
  • GRE: 326

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Course Modules

Problems in the History of Medicine and Public Health
HSHM 701 / AMST 878 / HIST 930
John Harley Warner

An examination of the variety of approaches to the social, cultural, and intellectual history of medicine, focusing on the United States. Reading and discussion of the recent scholarly literature on medical cultures, public health, and illness experiences from the early national period through the present. Topics include the role of gender, class, ethnicity, race, relition, and region in the experience of health care and sickness and in the construction of medical knowledge; the interplay between lay and professional understandings of the body; the role of the marketplace in shaping professional identities and patient expectations; citizenship, nationalism, and imperialism; and the visual cultures of medicine.

Problems in the History of Science
HSHM 702 / HIST 931
Henry Cowles

Close study of recent secondary literature in the history of science, broadly construed. An inclusive overview of the emergence and diversity of scientific ways of knowing, major scientific theories and methods, and the role of science in politics, capitalism, war, and everyday life. Discussions focus on historians’ different analytic and interpretive approaches.

Problems in Science Studies
HSHM 710 / HIST 921
Joanna Radin

Exploration of the methods and debates in the social studies of science, technology, and medicine. This course covers the history of the field and its current intellectual, social, and political positioning. It emphasizes the debates on constructivism and relativism and provides critical tools to address the relationships among science, technology, medicine, and society.

The Scientific Revolution
not offered 2015–2016
HSHM 654 / HIST 947
Paola Bertucci

The changing relationship between the natural world and the arts from Leonardo to Newton. Topics include the scientific revolution, Renaissance anatomy and astronomy, and alchemy and natural history.

Photography and the Sciences
HSHM 656 / HIST 949
Chitra Ramalingam

Does photography belong in the history of art, or does its status as an “automatic” or “scientific” recording technique and its many uses in the sciences distinguish its history from that of earlier visual media? How does photography look when we approach it from the cultural history of science? How might role in the sciences have shaped photographic aesthetics in the arts? This course will examine the making of photography’s discursive identity as an experimental and evidentiary medium in the sciences, from its announcement to the public in 1839 to the digital innovations of the present day. We take a historical and archival perspective on uses for (and debates over) photography in different fields of the natural and human sciences, grounded in visits to photographic collections at Yale.

History of Chinese Science
HSHM 680 / HIST 911
William Summers

Major themes in Chinese scientific thinking from antiquity to the twentieth century. Non-Western concepts of nature and the development of science in China; East-West scientific exchanges; and China’s role in modern science.

Impact of Epidemic Disease in Context: Focus on Asia
not offered 2015–2016
HSHM 707 / EAST 525 / EMD 588 / HIST 902
William Summers

The course brings historical, geopolitical, medical, and public health perspectives to bear on the study of specific epidemics, with a focus on Asia. Case studies include major epidemics such as cholera in the Philippines and plague in Manchuria in the early twentieth century, the story of Japan’s biological warfare Unit 731 in World War II, recurrent influenza pandemics, and more recently, Nipah virus outbreaks in Malaysia, SARS in China, and pneumonic plague in Gujarat, India.

Geography and History
HSHM 713 / HIST 913
William Rankin

A research seminar focused on methodological questions of geography and geographic analysis in historical scholarship. We consider approaches ranging from the Annales School of the early twentieth century to contemporary research in environmental history, history of science, urban history, and more. We also explore interdisciplinary work in social theory, historical geography, and anthropology and grapple with the promise (and drawbacks) of GIS. Students may write their research papers on any time period or geographic region, and no previous experience with geography or GIS is necessary. Undergraduates are admitted with permission.

Early Modern Science and Medicine
not offered 2015–2016
HSHM 716 / HIST 936
Paola Bertucci

The course focuses on recent works in the history of science and medicine in the early modern world. We discuss how interdisciplinary approaches–including economic and urban history, sociology and anthropology of science, gender studies, art and colonial history–have challenged the classic historiographical category of “the Scientific Revolution.” We also discuss the avenues for research that new approaches to early modern science and medicine have opened up, placing special emphasis on the circulation of knowledge, practices of collecting, and visual and material culture. 

Health Politics, Body Politics
HSHM 736 / HIST 943 / WGSS 736
Naomi Rogers

A reading seminar on struggles to control, pathologize, and normalize human bodies, with a particular focus on science, medicine, and the state, both in North America and in a broader global health context. Topics include disease, race and politics; repression and regulation of birth control; the politics of adoption; domestic and global population control; feminist health movements; and the pathologizing and identity politics of disabled people.

Medicine and the Human Sciences
not offered 2015–2016
HSHM 738 / HIST 928
Henry Cowles

This seminar presents an overview of the history of the human sciences–broadly defined. How have science and medicine been brought to bear on human nature in various times and places? How have scholars grappled with these efforts, especially in the last decade? And how might we build on their scholarship in our own work? We take as our starting point not the disciplines of the human sciences (e.g. psychology, anthropology, and sociology) but rather a set of practices that scientists and doctors have put to use on minds, bodies, and societies. Such practices cut across disciplinary divides–and so will we, engaging with work by anthropologists, philosophers, and literary scholars aongside that of historians of science and medicine. Students may take the course as either a reading or research seminar, meaning those taking it for credit may submit either a historiographical essay or an original research piece for their final paper.

Historical Perspectives on Science and Religion
not offered 2015–2016
HSHM 739 / HIST 941
Ivano Dal Prete

The interaction between science and religion examined from a historical standpoint. The course discusses pivotal problems raised by science and religion studies, and explores the historical roots of modern issues. Topics include:   natural philosophy in medieval Islam and Christianity, the rise of Biblical literalism, heterodox cosmologies in the Renaissance, religion and the scientific revolution, the history of evolutionism vs. creationist theories.

History of Health Activism
not offered 2015–2016
HSHM 745 / HIST 910 / WGSS 733
Naomi Rogers

This research seminar introduces students to current historical debates around health activism. Topics include progressive and conservative ideologies; debates around welfare and entitlements; gender and reproductive rights; medical professionalism; and health activism as a social movement. Research is focused on holdings in Yale libraries.

Readings in Enviromental History
HSHM 744 / AMST 839 / F&ES 843/HIS 743
Paul Sabin

Readings and discussion of key works in environmental history. The course explores major forces shaping human-environment relationships, such as markets, politics, and ecological dynamics, and compares different approaches to writing about social and environmental change.

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How to Apply

  • Application for admission to the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences for all degree and non-degree programs is an online process.
  • All documents in support of your application must be uploaded to your application. This includes all required materials such as your personal statement of purpose and transcripts. No materials are to be mailed to the Graduate School or to your designated program of study.
  • Recommenders submit their letters of recommendation for you online. Once you identify a recommender they will receive an email providing instructions and access information.
  • You have the ability to work on your application at any time and submit it when you are ready.
  • You have the ability to “track” the receipt of standardized test scores and recommendations as soon as you have submitted your application forms.
  • After submission, you may print a PDF copy for your own use that will look exactly like the image made available to the faculty for review online.
  • Applications received on or before the deadline of the program to which you are applying are made available, in image form, to your designated program to review after the deadline of your program.
  • Application accounts created or started but not submitted by the deadline of your respective program will be deleted prior to the start of the new application cycle (early August of each year). Application data and any associated supplemental materials are not retained.

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