Science, Medicine, and Technology
Please click here for the Undergraduate Minor in History of Science and Medicine
The History of Science, Medicine, and Technology Program at UCLA offers graduate students the opportunity to work with leading scholars in the field. Please consult the faculty homepages for the research interests of individual professors. Several of our faculty members have affiliations with other research centers or departments: Center for Society and Genetics, Department of Women’s Studies, Center for Health Services and Society, Center for 17th- and 18th-Century Studies. Students accepted into the history of science, medicine, and technology field at UCLA will also work with professors in other fields of history and often with faculty in other departments as well. There are many faculty members at UCLA interested in various aspects of science studies, in a wide range of departments and programs including information studies, sociology, law, and women’s studies. Students in the history of science program are encouraged to work with them and attend the many interdisciplinary events on campus related to historical and social studies of science. The program runs a regular colloquium series on the history of science, medicine, and technology, on Monday afternoons throughout the academic year. Talks range from presentations by outside speakers and visiting faculty to works-in-progress papers by local faculty and graduate students. In addition, the Southern California Colloquium in history of science organizes occasional day-long workshops. There is also a Research Forum in Medical History and the Medical Humanities that meets monthly for informal presentations of faculty and student research. Graduate students have the opportunity to participate with faculty in organizing events and inviting speakers to the colloquium.
- Amir Alexander: history of mathematics
- Joel Braslow: history of psychiatry
- Soraya de Chadarevian: history of modern biology
- Robert Frank, Jr.: history of biology and biomedicine, including neurosciences
- Margaret Jacob: British, French and Belgian early mechanization
- Theodore M. Porter: history of 19th- and 20th-century science; history of statistics; history of social science
- Mary Terrall: history of early modern science; gender and science
- Sharon Traweek: history of 20th century physical science (U.S. and Japan); cultural studies of science; gender and science
- Dora Weiner: history of 18th- and 19th- century medicine and psychiatry
- M. Norton Wise: history of physical sciences, 18th-20th centuries
- Christopher Kelty (Center for Society and Genetics and Information Studies): anthropological and historical work on computer science, software, and operating systems; ethics and politics of nanotechnology
- Hannah Landecker (Center for Socient and Genetics and Sociology): social and historical study of biotechnology and life science from 1900-present
- Marcia Meldrum (Center for Health Services and Society): History of pain research and management; history of mental health services; oral history of the biomedical scieneces
The History Department has five-year fellowship and teaching assistant packages and the science, medicine, and technology field has additional funds to support graduate students.
The field also offers an undergraduate minor in the history of science and medicine. We teach a four-course undergraduate sequence (History 3A-D) as well as more topical lower-division classes (2B, 2D), all of which are taught with discussion sections led by teaching assistants. Graduate students in the field have the opportunity to teach in these courses, as well as in other departmental offerings. The field also has some funds for supporting graduate student conference and research travel. Two fellowships for research in the UCLA collections are available to graduate and medical students: the James and Sylvia Thayer Short Term Fellowship and the new Ahmanson Graduate Student Research Grant in History of Medicine.
Course Requirements for History of Science Students
Students in the graduate program in the history of science, medicine, and technology are expected to take History 200o – Advanced Historiography in History of Science – twice, in the fall quarters of their first and second years. The course is taught in a two-year cycle as part of the preparation for the graduate written exams. The syllabus for this seminar alternates between the history of early-modern and modern history of science. The two-year sequence thus provides a solid basis for the preparation of the core field in history of science. In addition, in their first year students are strongly encouraged to audit at least three lower or upper division undergraduate courses taught by our faculty and by March of the second year to produce an annotated bibliography in the general history of science. In the second year, students should request teaching assignments in the lower-division courses taught by faculty in the history of science field. Students are also required to take at least two 2-quarter research seminars in the first two years of study, and they must pass two foreign language exams. One of these must be completed before the written examinations, and both must be completed before the oral examination in the third year unless the student's research field is one where only one foreign language is relevant. (This must be approved by the relevant faculty.)
Written Qualifying Examinations
The written exams are administered after six quarters of residency, normally in June of the second year. Students are examined in three distinct fields.
- The core field is a general overview of the history of science, medicine, and technology from the ancients to the present, integrated with an informed sense of relevant historiography and historical methods. There is a core reading list to guide preparation for this portion of the examinations.
- The second examination field is more specific to the student’s research interests, and more tightly focused. This field provides the in-depth background for the future dissertation project. The specific field will be defined by the student in close consultation with relevant professors, and appropriate bibliography will be selected in the context of this consultation. Some examples of such fields: English and French science in the seventeenth century; science and industrialization; life sciences 1600-1800; political economy and science; physics in 20th-century Japan, medicine in the era of Enlightenment and Romanticism, history of heredity.
- The third field must be outside the history of science, in an area taught in the other fields of the history department (European, Japanese, medieval history, etc.). In some cases the outside field may be in another department. The outside field should be chosen in consultation with the student’s adviser.
The general field exam will be set by the entire faculty within the field; the second field is set by the relevant faculty with research interests in the area, the third is offered by the other fields in the department. Students are responsible for arranging with the relevant faculty for preparation of and examination in the outside field.
UCLA and the broader Southern California offer exceptionally rich resources for the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology. What follows is but a selection of related centers, programs, and resources at UCLA and beyond.
- Center for Behavior, Evolution, and Culture (BEC)- unites scholars exploring the connections among evolution, culture, the mind, and society. BEC provides a framework to facilitate research and training on the interaction among natural selection, cultural transmission, social relations, and psychology.
- Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies - promotes interdisciplinary and cross-cultural studies of the period from Late Antiquity to the middle of the seventeenth century.
- Center for Oral History Research - has an extensive collection of interviews that document various aspects of the history of Los Angeles.
- Center for Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Studies - provides a forum for the discussion of central issues in the field of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century studies. It organizes academic programs, bringing together scholars from the area, the nation, and the world, with the goal of encouraging research in the period from 1600 to 1800.
- Center for Society and Genetics - studies the co-evolution of science and humanity by promoting innovative and socially relevant research and education.
- History of Mental Health Services
- History of Neuropsychopharmacology
- Oral History of Human Genetics
- Programs in Medical Classics - is a series of presentations designed to enhance an appreciation of the links among key medical writings, clinical practice, basic research, and humanistic scholarship.
- The Study of History of Medicine at UCLA - is an interdisciplinary program which encompasses the activities of a variety of faculty and staff drawn together from the general and medical departments of the campus.
- Biomedical Library History and Special Collections for the Sciences - support the study of the history of medicine and biology. Collections consist of books, journals, manuscript, prints, portraits, and medical artifacts.
- Department of Special Collections, Young Research Library - repository for one of the country's leading collections of rare books, manuscripts, historic photographs, and other special materials - many of which are related to the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology.
- John C. Liebeskind History of Pain Collection - promotes and ensures the study of the history of pain research and pain therapy in the post-World War II era, in particular, the origins, growth, and development of the international, interdisciplinary pain field.
- Neuroscience History Archives - identifies and preserves the papers of living neuroscientists and records of their professional organizations; assists neuroscientists in finding appropriate repositories for their papers; promotes access to this documentary evidence through the preparation of finding aids and other guides; facilitates scholarly use of the collections; and carries out research and education in the history of neuroscience.
- Willliam Andrew's Clark Memorial Library - is one of UCLA's major libraries. It is a rare book and manuscripts collection, with particular strengths in English literature and history (1641-1800). It is located thirteen miles off campus and it is adminstered by UCLA's Center for Seventheenth- and Eighteenth-Century Studies.
- Caltech Einstein Papers Project - selects from among more than 40,000 documents contained in the personal collection of Albert Einstein (1879-1955), and an additional 30,000 Einstein and Einstein-related documents discovered by the editors since the 1980s, to eventually create a complete series of The Collected Papers, which will provide the first complete picture of a massive written legacy that ranges from Einstein's first work on the special and general theories of relativity and the origins of quantum theory, to expressions of his profound concern with civil liberties, education, Zionism, pacifism, and disarmament.
- Caltech Institute Archives - serves as the collective memory of Caltech by preserving the papers, documents, artifacts and pictorial materials that tell the school's history, from 1891 to the present. Researchers will also find here a wealth of sources for the history of science and technology worldwide, stretching from the time of Copernicus to today.
- Dibner Fellowship Program (scroll down link for description) - offers long- and short-term fellowships which are designed to further study in the Burndy Library and the other history of science and technology resources at The Huntington.
- The Getty Research Institute - photographic collection of post-1850 period.
- The Huntington Library - is an independent research center with holdings in British and American history, literature, art history, and the history of science and medicine. The recent acquisition of the Burndy Library makes this a premier center for research in the history of science.
- For a UC - wide STS network of people and resources click here.