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History of Science

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Questions about these requirements? See the contact info at the bottom of the page. 


Eight four-unit courses or the equivalent, including: 

  • Historiography of the History of Science
  • Research Methods in the History of Science
  • four additional graduate seminars (2000-level) of which:
    • three must be offered by the Department of the History of Science (DHS)
    • one must be outside the department

(Graduate reading and independent study courses do not fulfill the graduate seminar requirement.)

  • two additional history of science courses, designated either “for undergraduates and graduate students” (1000-level) or “primarily for graduate students” (2000-level).

History of science courses include:

  1. courses taught in other departments by members of DHS
  2. courses cross-listed under history of science in the online course catalog
  3. Graduate-level courses offered by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Science, Technology, and Society Program (a maximum of three courses may be taken at MIT).

All other courses count as outside the department.

AM Essay Guidelines

The master’s essay may consist of a paper written for a course in the history of science—HISTSCI 3003b or another graduate seminar—taken during the AM year. Candidates for the AM must submit the AM Essay Topic Proposal form, available on the graduate program website, by March 1 of the AM year. 

Essays written for spring seminars must be submitted to the course instructor, DGS, and Graduate Coordinator by the last day of the reading period. In cases in which the essay has not been written to fulfill course requirements, the DGS will designate a faculty member to grade the essay.  

The essay will be assessed based on the following criteria:

  • It must present an original argument based on research in primary sources.
  • It must be accompanied by a complete bibliography of cited works and references in an appropriate scholarly format. 
  • It must be 7,500–10,500 words in length, exclusive of bibliography.
  • It must receive a grade of B+ or higher.

Residence and progress

Students must be in residence for one year of full-time study.

Eight courses must be completed with grades of B or higher.

All master’s students will meet with the DGS and, where applicable, their advisor at the start of each semester to review progress and approve plans of study.

Doctoral students who complete the doctoral course requirements (including submitting two research papers) are eligible to receive an AM degree in history of science with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies and the faculty.

Contact Info 

History of Science Website

Linda Schneider 
Graduate Program Coordinator 
Department of the History of Science 
Science Center 371 
Cambridge, MA 02138 

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