History of Science, Technology, and Medicine

Program Offerings

Offering type

Goals for Student Learning

From climate change to pandemics to the transformative effects of information technology, many of the challenges we confront today are inseparable from science, technology and medicine, whether as cause, explanation or remedy. To understand the role of STM in our present predicament and think through how it will shape our future, a historical perspective is vital. In the HSTM minor, students will learn from the array of methodological approaches developed by historians of science, technology and medicine, and track the evolution of modern science from antiquity to the present, in many of the world’s cultures. For students majoring in the humanities and social sciences, the HSTM minor enhances their understanding of the content, methodologies and impacts of science, technology and medicine; in a complementary fashion, the HSTM minor provides students majoring in the natural sciences or engineering a richer appreciation of the social and cultural aspects of their fields, as well as the trajectories that brought their subjects to their present state.


There are no prerequisites for the minor.

Admission to the Program

  • Students must declare their interest in the minor by the spring semester of their junior year.
  • Students register their interest by contacting the undergraduate program director for history of science, within the history department.
  • Students majoring in history, or pursuing a history minor, are not eligible for the HSTM minor.

Program of Study

This program includes the following:

  1. One required course: HIS 390 (History of Science, Technology and Medicine: Ideas and Methods).
  2. Two courses in the history of science, technology or medicine, from the defined list below maintained by the HIS Undergraduate Office.
  3. One course in history not on that list.
  4. One additional course: this course may be a HOS course, a HIS course or a cognate (with approval of the undergraduate program director for history of science).
  5. All courses for the HSTM minor must be taken for a grade (no pass/D/fail).
  6. No more than one course may double-count with a course taken for credit in the major or another minor.

Courses in the history of science, technology or medicine:

  • EGR 277 / HIS 277: Technology and Society
  • HIS 290: The Scientific World View of Antiquity and the Middle Ages
  • HIS 291: The Scientific Revolution and European Order, 1500–1750
  • HIS 292: Science in the Modern World
  • HIS 293: Science in a Global Context
  • HIS 294: What Is the Scientific Revolution?
  • HIS 295: Making America: A Technological History of the United States
  • HIS 297 / STC 297: Transformative Questions in Biology
  • HIS 298: Information Revolutions
  • SPI364/HIS368 Making Post-Pandemic Worlds: Epidemic History and the Future
  • HIS 391: History of Contemporary Science
  • HIS 392: History of Evolution
  • HIS 393: Race, Drugs, and Drug Policy in America
  • HIS 394: History of Ecology and Environment (formerly HIS 491)
  • HIS 395: History of Medicine and the Body
  • HIS 396: History of Biology
  • HIS 398: The Einstein Era
  • AMS 399 / HIS 399: In the Groove: Technology and Music in American History, from Edison to the iPod
  • HIS 452: Magic, Matter, Medicine: Science in the Medieval World
  • HIS 472: Medicine and Society in China: Past and Present
  • HIS 489: The Scientific Self
  • HIS 492: The Therapeutic Persuasion: Psychotherapy and American Life
  • HIS 493: Science and Religion: Historical Approaches
  • HIS 494: Broken Brains, Shattered Minds
  • HIS 495: Alchemy — Art and Science
  • HIS 496: History of Neuroscience
  • HIS 498: History of Pseudoscience
  • HIS 499: Things

Independent Work

Students must submit a minimum 10-page paper, or equivalent, demonstrating original research in the history of science, technology and medicine. This can be a segment of students’ independent written work in their majors; or a written assignment from a course; or a paper completed outside of coursework.

Study Abroad

Students may count courses taken abroad toward the requirement for the HSTM minor. These courses will require the prior approval of the undergraduate program director for history of science.