Director of Graduate Studies: D. Graham Burnett
The goal of the graduate Program in History of Science at Princeton is to enhance our students' enthusiasm for the subject while also training them for the joint professional responsibilities of teaching and research. Under the aegis of the Department of History, the Program in History of Science treats science as an intellectual, cultural, and social phenomenon. Recognizing that the study of the history and social aspects of science requires special training and techniques not normally included in the education of professional historians or other scholars, the program provides qualified students with that special training while at the same time preparing them to teach and work in general history.
Our approach to graduate training is also distinctive in the extent to which it requires formal qualifications in other areas of history. Graduate students in this Program are simultaneously members of the History Department; in fact, they earn their Ph.D. degrees in History, not just History of Science. Faculty members in the program are also members of the History Department.
The maximum period of enrollment in the Program (as in the History Department at large) is five years, including time spent on research in absentia. Program students can normally expect financial support throughout those five years at a level at least equal to that offered them upon admission to the Graduate School, presuming of course that they make satisfactory progress toward the Ph.D. degree.
GRADUATE STUDY REQUIREMENTS
During the first two years, students pursue a pattern of course work aimed at preparing them for the general examination and training them in the research techniques of professional scholarship. Students normally participate in two to three graduate courses per term. Students lacking prior background are encouraged to take undergraduate courses to supplement their graduate training. Although the precise pattern of courses depends on the individual, students plan their programs within the broad outlines set by the general examination.
The general examination consists of three sets of written and oral examinations in (1) a major field in the history of science; (2) a minor field in another area of history; and (3) one of the following options: (a) "general" history of science--traditionally known as "Plato-to-NATO," (b) a second special field in t he history of science, (c) a second field in regular history, or (d) a field in some related subject, e.g., philosophy of science or some branch of science or mathematics. Precise definitions of fields, and special concentrations within them, are worked out in consultation with the director of graduate studies for the Program in History of Science and an appropriate faculty member in another area of history or another department.
Usually in conjunction with their seminar work, students are expected to write at least two research papers to prepare for the work of a dissertation. The dissertation ordinarily falls within a special field in the History of Science that constitutes part of the student's general examination.
Program students should demonstrate a reading knowledge of two foreign languages as soon as possible after enrollment. French and German are normally recommended, but other languages relevant to the student's prospective research may be substituted with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies. Examinations in different languages are administered by the History Department at regular intervals during the year, and special introductory courses for reading knowledge in these languages are offered during the summer for French and German. (Tuition charges for these courses is usually covered by the History Department.) By University statute, the language requirement must be met before the student completes his or her General Examination or is admitted to a third year of graduate study. We may deny readmission for a second year of study to any Program student who has not yet passed an examination in at least one of the two required languages.
As part of their training in scholarship, all students are expected to participate in the Program Seminar when in residence. The Seminar will normally meet once a week throughout the academic year, primarily to discuss reports on research in progress. These reports may include, for example, draft articles or book chapters by faculty, draft dissertation chapters by students in their fourth and fifth year, dissertation prospectuses by those in their third year, and research papers by those in the first and second years. Other sessions may be devoted to the discussion of recent publications of historiographical importance, while still others may address general matters of interest to the discipline of the history of science at large or the Program at Princeton.
HISTORY OF SCIENCE COLLOQUIUM
All students in residence are expected to participate in the History of Science Colloquium. The Colloquium normally meets once or twice a month during each semester to discuss papers by visiting scholars, and is designed mainly to afford students the opportunity to learn about work being done at the research front in the history of science at other institutions.
Each year the Program faculty intend to mount a series of three or four workshops on a particular theme which will culminate in a published volume. Two or three invited speakers will come for each one-day workshop, normally meeting on Saturday. Graduate students should be active participants as readers and discussants of precirculated papers, as commentators and sometimes as presenters of papers. Other regular participants will come from regional institutions on the Boston to Washington axis. Thus the workshops will provide an unusual opportunity for entering into the professional community of History of Science and for establishing personal contacts with other scholars.