Understanding how science, medicine and society interact is key to addressing almost any of the challenges facing the 21st century. Indeed, science and medicine have become integral to our conceptions of race, gender and identity; national security, economic growth and natural risks; sex, death and illness. Science and medicine pervade politics, markets and culture to a larger extent than ever before.
Studying the history of science and medicine provides a critical entry into understanding these relationships between science, medicine and society. Indeed, history is not primarily about the past, but first and foremost about building intellectual tools to make sense of the world we live in today.
History of Science, History of Medicine (HSHM) is an interdisciplinary program of study within the History Department that leads toward an understanding of the development and interactions of science, medicine and society. It explores a great variety of topics, such race and medicine in America, Chinese science, women and medicine, genetics and biotechnology public health and epidemics, science and the state, medical technologies and pharmaceutical drugs.
The program offers students considering a career in medicine, public health, or other fields of health care a way of combining the requirements of their preprofessional training with a broad liberal education. It also provides excellent preparation for many other careers in which a contextualized understanding of science and medicine is essential, including areas of law, industry, journalism, museum work, public policy, and government, as well as graduate study in the history of science and/or medicine.
For additional information about the major, including curricular requirements, the teaching faculty, and courses offered, see the online Yale College Programs of Study at
http://www.yale.edu/yalecollege/publications/ycps/chapter_iv/history_of_science.html. Official Yale College program and course information is found in Yale College Programs of Study, available on line at
The Major's Undergraduate Advisor
The principal faculty contact for prospective HSHM majors is the Undergraduate Advisor. The Advisor for 2011-2012 is Professor Paola Bertucci, whose office is HGS 300G in the Hall of Graduate Studies. She can be reached by e-mail (email@example.com) and by phone (203) 432-1397. Students interested in obtaining information about the HSHM major or who wish to register for it should contact Professor Bertucci, who is the advisor for all sophomores in the major.
Individual Faculty Advisors
At the beginning of the academic year, juniors and seniors majoring in HSHM will be assigned to individual faculty advisors. They should seek the advice of their advisor in choosing their courses and constructing their course of study. Students are to have their course cards signed by these advisors at the beginning of each term. Undergraduate advisors for juniors and seniors are ordinarily drawn from the HSHM’s core faculty and affiliates. For a list of the faculty and their specialties, see:
The senior essay is one of the intellectually exciting and challenging experiences of the undergraduate major. History is more than past events; it is also the discipline of historical inquiry, including the digging for evidence from the past, the careful evaluation of results, and the written presentation of reasonable conclusions derived from them. To experience history as a discipline, a student must grapple at first hand with the problems and rigors involved in this kind of systematic investigation and exposition. The HSHM undergraduate program therefore requires each of its majors to present a historical essay on a subject of the student's choice to the program in the senior year.
The HSHM Senior Essays are overseen by the Senior Essay Director. In 2011-2012, Professor William Summers is the Senior Essay Director. In early September, the Senior Essay Director will host an orientation meeting about the Senior Essays that all seniors are required to attend. This year the meeting will be held on Monday, September 7, at 4:00 p.m. The location for the meeting will be announced soon. Seniors receive course credit for satisfactory completion of their departmental essays by enrolling in HSHM 490a and 491b.
Each student will write the senior essay under the guidance of an individual faculty advisor. Again, for a list of the faculty and their specialties see: http://yale.edu/hshm/faculty-core.htm. Students are encouraged to begin thinking about the selection of an advisor in the spring of the junior year. The range of acceptable senior-essay topics is wide. The requirements and timetable for the Senior Essay in HSHM are spelled out in the Senior Essay Handbook.
HSHM Registrar. The HSHM Registrar is Ms.Barbara McKay (firstname.lastname@example.org) Her office is in 207 HGS and her phone number is: 432-1365. Students may consult her or the Undergraduate Advisor about their records in the major, progress toward the completion of requirements for graduation, or other similar matters.
Program Chair - Fall 2011
Berkeley College, Room G21, 205 Elm Street
Office Phone: (203) 432-0507
Program Chair - Spring 2012
Hall of Graduate Studies, Room 201, 320 York Street
Office Phone: (203) 432-1356
Hall of Graduate Studies, Room 300G, 320 York Street
Senior Essay Director
332 BASS, 266 Whitney Avenue
Hall of Graduate Studies, Room 207
320 York Street
Office Phone: (203) 432-1365
Requirements of the Major
Prerequisites: MATH 112a or b or 1 term from STAT 101a-106a or equivalent: 2 term courses in science with 2 terms of lab
Number of courses: 13 courses beyond prerequisites (including senior essay)
Distribution of courses: 4 courses in HSHM; 1 intermediate science course; 1 HSHM junior seminar; 1 junior seminar in either HSHM or History; 4 additional courses
Other: Library research session
Senior requirement: Senior Essay (HSHM 490a or b, 491a or b)