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Graduate Studies

About the Program

Yale University offers a Program in the History of Science and Medicine leading to the M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D., M.D./Ph.D., and J.D./Ph.D. degree

The History of Science and Medicine Program is a semi-autonomous graduate track within the Department of History. The Program's students are awarded degrees in History, with a concentration in the History of Science and Medicine. Graduate students in the Program are fully fledged members of the Department. As with the rest of the Department, Program instruction is offered in small classes by the seminar method or some appropriate modification of this approach. Faculty advisers for individual guidance and direction are available throughout the entire period of enrollment. The Program provides many opportunities for professional development in teaching and research.

Candidates with top qualifications for graduate study in the History of Science and Medicine come from diverse educational backgrounds, sometimes characterized by study and experience in technical and/or clinical subjects that are not ordinarily part of preparation for graduate study in History. The Program will weigh such qualifications in evaluating applicants.

The Program offers opportunities for students to pursue degrees in concentrations that span the full range of the history of science and history of medicine, from antiquity to modern times. The broad interests of its faculty provide special opportunities to cross the boundaries between these two fields, with emphasis on the biomedical sciences and their connections both with medical practices and the physical sciences.

Goals of the Program

The Yale Program aims to sustain an integrative, eclectic response to methodological issues that have been intensely debated in recent years. It equips students with a critical appreciation of the diverse approaches now practiced in the history of science and medicine. It offers training in the close reading of texts, instruments, artifacts, and analysis of ideas and practices, and instruction in social, cultural, political and economic modes of interpretation. The Program fosters consideration of the interplay between science and technology as well as between biomedical knowledge and the clinic. It urges students to enrich their professional preparation by drawing on other disciplines including cultural studies, philosophy, and the contemporary natural and social sciences. In all, historiographic pluralism is a hallmark of the Yale Program.

Special advantages offered by the program include library resources that are among the best in North America. The Medical Historical Library contains renowned collections and rare works in the history of medicine and related sciences. The university library system as a whole has exceptional depth in original sources for the history of all the major sciences.


  • Director of Graduate Studies

    Associate Professor of History of Medicine

    Joanna Radin (Associate Professor) received her PhD in History and Sociology of Science from the University of Pennsylvania. She is a historian of biomedical futures who cares about how people in the past imagined how science, technology and medicine would change their lives. This has led her to think and write about global histories of biology, ecology, medicine, technology, and anthropology since 1945; history and anthropology of life and death; biomedical technology and computing; feminist, Indigenous, and queer STS; and science fiction.All of these themes are present in her current book project, which reconsiders the history of science through the career of Michael Crichton.She is the author of Life on Ice: A History of New Uses for Cold Blood (Chicago 2017), the first history of the low-temperature biobank and co-editor, with Emma Kowal of Cyropolitics: Frozen Life in a Melting World (MIT 2017), which considers the technics and ethics of freezing across the life and environmental sciences.