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University of Pennsylvania Course/Program Name
Application closes on
National :15 Dec 
International :15 Dec 

PhD History and Sociology of Science

 Course Level
Full Time

5 Years
 Start month

 Tuition fee

5814 USD
5814 USD

Application fee

International 80 USD
National 80 USD
Department of History and Sociology of Science
Scores accepted
IELTS (min)7
TOEFL-IBT (min)100
TOEFL-PBT (min)575
GRE (avg)307
GMAT (avg)732

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About this course

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 also 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.

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Eligibility Criteria

Eng lang – On the TOEFL-iBT exam (Internet-Based Test), competitive applicants tend to have a composite score of 100 and above (the exam is scaled from 0-120, with 120 being a perfect score) with demonstrated consistency on each section of the exam (reading, listening, speaking, and writing). On the Paper- Based TOEFL, Penn tends to admit students with a score of 600 and above (the exam is scaled from 310 to 677, with 677 being a perfect score).

  • IELTS - 7.0
  • GRE - 307
  • GMAT - 732


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Course Modules

The formal requirements for the doctorate in our department are:

* Participation in our introductory methods seminar (HSSC 505) (Fall, year I);

* A minimum of 18 graduate credits, of which 14 must be in HSSC. This basically means that in your first three years you will be enrolled in at least 18 courses. If you’d like to do more, that’s fine. Especially in your third year, some of those courses may be “999” independent studies for reading courses that essentially prepare you for your orals examination;

* Three graduate seminars in each of our three major subfields (science, technology, and medicine);

* One research seminar with a substantial writing project, on which the student receives an A– or better;

* One seminar dealing primarily with the period before 1850; or a research paper dealing with the period before 1850 even if written for a course that includes materials from a later period;

* Successful passing of the formal Second Year Evaluation (as required by the University) usually in the first week of May at the end of your second year. This includes one “second year paper”— one of the papers from a seminar that you wish to prepare for eventual publication;

* Regular participation in departmental life, including participation in the weekly workshop, engagement with the journal club, and active involvement in special meetings, seminars, and other events. Being involved in these activities is a crucial part of your education;

* Demonstration of proficiency in two languages, one of which may be statistics (this requirement must be met before the Orals Examination may be scheduled);

* Successful passing of the Orals Examination (usually by the end of your third year), demonstrating mastery of the literature in three special sub-fields, each jointly worked out by the student with a faculty member;

* A dissertation proposal approved by a student’s adviser within six weeks of passing the Orals;

* At least two years (4 semesters, or 4 courses) of mentored teaching experience (which may receive course credit, at the student’s discretion);

* A dissertation, submitted to and accepted and approved by the student’s dissertation committee, usually consisting of three members of the faculty, in accordance with University regulations.

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How to Apply

The Application Process

NOTE: All application materials must be submitted electronically; in addition hard copy of the writing sample may also be mailed.

The following mailing address should be used for sending the writing sample:

University of Pennsylvania
Ernestine Williams
History and Sociology of Science
249 S. 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6304

Admissions Requirements

The GRE General Test is required. Other than that, there are no department-specific prerequisites for admission. Applicants for whom English is a secondary language are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and earn a score of 575 or higher (paper-based) or 233 or higher (computer-based) in order to be considered for admission.

The Department Process

After reviewing applicant files, the faculty invites those students who seem most promising to spend a full day at Penn. Prospective students who are invited to visit meet with faculty and graduate students and learnmore about our facilities, setting and program. Any interested student is of course welcome to attend one of our Monday workshops.

Check further details on University website