Programs by Campus


History and Philosophy of Science
College of Arts and Sciences

Departmental E-mail: hpscdept [at] indiana [dot] edu

Departmental URL:

(Please note that when conferring University Graduate School degrees, minors, certificates, and sub-plans, The University Graduate School’s staff use those requirements contained only in The University Graduate School Bulletin. Requirements may or may not be reflected identically in departmental URLs.)



Degrees Offered

Master of Arts, dual Master of Arts and Master of Library Science (jointly with the School of Library and Information Science), and Doctor of Philosophy. Students at IU may also pursue double Ph.D.s with related departments, such as History or Philosophy, writing a single dissertation.

Special Departmental Requirements

(See also general University Graduate School requirements.)

Admission Guidelines

Either (1) an undergraduate major in a science or a related group of sciences with a minor in either history or philosophy or (2) an undergraduate major in either history or philoso­phy with a strong minor in science; or a similar background is preferred. Applicants with divergent backgrounds who can demonstrate serious interest and research potential in HPS are encouraged to apply.

Master of Arts Degree

Course Requirements

A total of 36 credit hours of course work or 30 credit hours of course work together with a satisfactory M.A. thesis (X700 credits do not count toward the 30 required for the thesis option). Students who do not write a thesis must choose at least one course which requires the writing of a major research paper. Both options require 24 hours of course work in the department; at least four courses must be selected from the core courses listed below (X506, X507, X551, X552, X556, X706). Our professional development seminar is also required. Students intending to take Ph.D. qualifying exams are advised to take more than the minimum number of core courses required for the M.A.


A 3.3 (B+) grade point average in departmental courses is required.

Foreign Language/Research-Skill Requirement

Proficiency in one language or one research skill. Students are typically expected to complete this requirement before regis­tering for their third semester in the department.

Research Skills (primarily Logic, but also Computation, or Probability and Statistics)

Ph.D. students in History and Philosophy of Science who wish to satisfy their research skills requirement in logic, computation, or probability & statistics must consult with their advisor and the director of graduate students in HPS to determine the appropriate method. The tool skill that the student chooses to satisfy must be demonstrably crucial to his or her dissertation research.  In general, students are expected to possess a level of proficiency in the practical ability to apply formal methods and an understanding of the theory underlying the formal methods.  The level of proficiency demanded is at least equivalent to "B" level performance in upper-division undergraduate or graduate courses in the relevant disciplines, i.e. philosophy, mathematics, statistics, and computer science

There are two methods for satisfying the requirement: a. Certification by a committee of two HPS faculty with expertise in the chosen tool skill.  This committee may use any combination of special examination (written or oral), inspection of the student's transcripts, or requiring the student to obtain passing grades of at least "B" in pre-selected courses taken outside the department. More specifically, in logic this entails performance at least to the level of a "B" grade in the second semester of a formal logic course that covers predicate logic, as well as practical familiarity with the  logic of identity and modal operators, and the equivalent of one upper- level or graduate course in logical theory, at least covering the completeness of first-order predicate logic. b. Certification by an external department. Where another department offers certification in a tool skill, students may choose to meet that requirement. Primarily this refers to logic certification by the Philosophy Department, although other graduate certification programs in other departments may be considered.  Students should consult the director of graduate studies in the other department to determine which courses they may take to meet that department's certification requirements.

Dual Master of Arts and Master of Library Science Degrees

Study for these two degrees can be combined for a total of approximately 51 credit hours rather than the 66 credit hours required for the two degrees taken separately. Students must take 21 credit hours in history and philosophy of science, including three core courses (X506, X507, X551, X552, X556, or X706) and our professional development seminar. The course of studies must be planned in consulta­tion with a history and philosophy of science advisor. Students must also complete 30 credit hours of School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) courses, including completion of SLIS MLS Foundation courses (15 credit hours); other required SLIS courses (9 credit hours); L516 or L586, L624, and L596 and SLIS elective courses. Admission to each of the two areas of study is approved separately on the same basis as for other applicants not in the dual program.

Doctor of Philosophy Degree

Fields of Study

A student may concentrate in either the history or the philoso­phy of science or pursue both fields simultaneously. This affects the Foreign Language/Research Skill Requirement below.

Course Requirements

A total of 90 credit hours, including courses that meet all requirements for the M.A., plus at least two additional courses approved by the department from its offerings. Among these, there must be a total of 5 core courses. A maximum of 30 credit hours for dissertation work (X700 and X800) may be counted toward the 90 credit hours.


One minor outside the department is required. The require­ments for this minor are set by the department involved. Outside minor fields that students in the history and philoso­phy of science program have commonly taken include history, mathematics, philosophy, or one of the sciences.

Foreign Language/Research-Skill Requirement

Proficiency either (1) in two languages, or (2) in one language and one research skill, or (3) in one language in depth, depend­ing on the recommendation of the student’s advisory commit­tee. Students are normally expected to complete one of these requirements before their third semester in residence and the second-language or tool-skill requirement before their fifth semester.

Qualifying Examination

Written and oral. Examination in minor area is left to the discre­tion of the minor department. Examinations may not be taken more than twice, except in extraordinary cases.

Research Proposal

In order to advance to Ph.D candidacy, the student must
submit and gain departmental approval of a dissertation
research proposal. A grant proposal, suitable for submission

to an external funding agency or institution, must also
be prepared and approved at this stage (or earlier).

 Ph.D. Minor in History and Philosophy of Science

Graduate students from other departments desiring a minor in history and philosophy of science must complete 12 gradu­ate credit hours of course work in the department with a B+ or higher. The set of courses should represent a coordinated objective and must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.

Academic Bulletins

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