History and Philosophy of Science and Technology

Program Overview

The Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (IHPST) offers two degree programs: Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy. IHPST conducts research, offers advanced studies programs, and serves as a focus for University-wide interest in its field.

Courses are open to all graduate students and are suitable complements for specialists in science or the humanities. Students participate in the IHPST colloquia, which are open to the U of T community.

Admission is highly selective and competitive. Acceptance is based on a combination of grades, references, academic and professional accomplishments, areas of interest, and a sample of written work. All the forms required for application, including the standard application form, can be downloaded from the institute’s website. The website also contains detailed instructions for completing applications. Applications must be accompanied by transcripts, a statement of interest, letters of reference, and a writing sample of no more than 3,000 words. The application deadline is February 1. Applicants who wish to take one or more of the courses offered by the institute as non-degree students should apply for admission as Special Students. The application procedures are the same as for those of the MA program, but the deadline for applications is May 1.


Quick Facts

Domestic International
Application payment deadline MA, PhD:

15-Jan-2020

MA, PhD:

15-Jan-2020

Supporting documents deadline MA, PhD:

15-Jan-2020

MA, PhD:

15-Jan-2020

Minimum admission average MA:

B+ in the final two years of undergraduate work

PhD:

A– in the applicant’s program and with no individual grade less than B+

MA:

B+ in the final two years of undergraduate work

PhD:

A– in the applicant’s program and with no individual grade less than B+

Direct entry option from bachelor's to PhD? PhD:

Yes

PhD:

Yes

Is a supervisor identified before or after admission? PhD:

After

PhD:

After

If a supervisor is identified after admission (as per question above), is admission conditional upon securing a supervisor? PhD:

No

PhD:

No

Is a supervisor assigned by the graduate unit or secured by the applicant? PhD:

Graduate unit

PhD:

Graduate unit

Program length (full-time only) MA:

3 sessions

PhD:

4 years; 5 years direct-entry

MA:

3 sessions

PhD:

4 years; 5 years direct-entry


Master of Arts​

Program Description

Admission to the MA is highly selective and competitive. Acceptance is based on a combination of grades, references, academic and professional accomplishments, areas of interest, and a sample of written work. The IHPST website contains detailed instructions for completing admission applications. Applications must be accompanied by transcripts, a statement of interest, letters of reference, a curriculum vitae, and a writing sample.

Applicants who wish to take one or more of the courses offered by IHPST as non-degree students should apply for admission as Special Students. The application procedures are the same as for those of the MA program, but the deadline for applications is May 1.

The MA program can be taken on a full-time or part-time basis.

Minimum Admission Requirements

  • Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants must also satisfy IHPST's additional admission requirements stated below.

  • A bachelor's degree from a recognized university with an average grade of at least B+ in the final two years of undergraduate work. While the majority of accepted students exceed this standard, the very broad scope of the field and the variety of fruitful approaches to it also imply that many different backgrounds are appropriate. Accordingly, grades are only one criterion used to judge applicants.

  • Applications must be accompanied by a 300- to 500-word statement of interest indicating the applicant's areas of interest in history and/or philosophy of science and technology at the graduate level. A writing sample of no more than 3,000 words (not to exceed 20 pages) is required.

  • Application deadline is January 15 of every year.

  • Applicants whose primary language is not English and who are not graduates of a university whose language of instruction is English must submit results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and Test of Written English (TWE) with the following minimum scores:

    • ​​​paper-based TOEFL: 580 and 5 on the TWE

    • Internet-based TOEFL: 93/120 and 22/30 on the writing and speaking sections.

Program Requirements

  • Coursework. Students must complete a minimum of 3.0 full-course equivalents (FCEs). A student’s curriculum is arranged in consultation with the student’s faculty advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies. Students make course choices consistent with a commitment to either:

    • ​​​​one of the three history fields (History of Mathematics and Physical Sciences; History of Medicine and Life Sciences; History of Technology), or

    • the philosophy field (Philosophy of Science).

  • Students in a history field must:
    • complete HPS 1000H Introduction to the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (0.5 FCE) in the first session

    • complete 1.0 FCE from the HPS 2000 series

    • complete 0.5 FCE from the HPS 3000 series

    • complete elective courses (1.0 FCE)

    • demonstrate a reading knowledge of French or German; language instruction courses are not counted in the 3.0 FCEs required for the degree.

  • Students in the philosophy field must:

    • complete HPS 1000H Introduction to the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (0.5 FCE) in the first session

    • complete 0.5 FCE from the HPS 2000 series

    • complete 1.0 FCE from the HPS 3000 series

    • complete elective courses (1.0 FCE)

    • demonstrate proficiency in introductory logic, a reading knowledge of French, or a reading knowledge of German; logic and language instruction courses are not counted in the 3.0 FCEs required for the degree.

Program Length

​3 sessions full-time (typical registration sequence: F/W/S);​
15 sessions part-time

Time Limit

3 years full-time;
6 years part-time



Doctor of Philosophy​​

Program Description

Admission to the PhD program is highly selective and competitive. Acceptance is based on a combination of grades, references, academic and professional accomplishments, areas of interest, and a sample of written work. The IHPST website contains detailed instructions for completing admission applications. Applications must be accompanied by transcripts, a statement of interest, letters of reference, a curriculum vitae, and a writing sample. The application deadline is January 15 of every year.

Applicants must be admitted via one of the following routes: 1) following completion of a master's degree in History and Philosophy of Science and Technology or 2) direct entry following completion of an appropriate bachelor's degree.

With the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies, some applicants may be admitted to a flexible-time PhD option. This option will benefit mature students who remain active in their professional careers during the PhD, such as physicians, engineers, educators, and IT professionals. The option will enable them to engage in supervised research in the history and/or philosophy of their profession.

Applicants who wish to take one or more of the courses offered by IHPST as non-degree students should apply for admission as Special Students. The application procedures are the same as for those of the MA program, but the deadline for applications is May 1.

 

PhD Program

Minimum Admission Requirements

  • Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants must also satisfy IHPST's additional admission requirements stated below.

  • A University of Toronto master's degree in History and Philosophy of Science and Technology or its equivalent from a recognized university with an average grade of at least an A– in the applicant's program and with no individual grade less than B+. While the majority of accepted students exceed this standard, the very broad scope of the field and the variety of fruitful approaches to it also imply that many different backgrounds are appropriate. Accordingly, grades are only one criterion used to judge applicants.

  • Applications must be accompanied by a 300- to 500-word statement of interest indicating the applicant's areas of interest in history and/or philosophy of science and technology at the graduate level. A writing sample of no more than 3,000 (not to exceed 20 pages) words is required.

  • Applicants whose primary language is not English and who are not graduates of a university whose language of instruction is English must submit results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and Test of Written English (TWE) with the following minimum scores:

    • paper-based TOEFL: 580 and 5 on the TWE or

    • Internet-based TOEFL: 93/120 and 22/30 on the writing and speaking sections.

Program Requirements

  • Students admitted on the basis of a master's degree must:

    • Complete 3.0 full-course equivalents (FCEs); a student whose MA degree does not exhibit sufficient breadth is required to take additional courses.

    • Make course choices consistent with a commitment to either:

      • one of the three history fields (History of Mathematics and Physical Sciences; History of Medicine and Life Sciences; History of Technology). Students in the history fields must demonstrate reading knowledge of French or German; language instruction courses are not counted in the FCEs required for the degree OR

      • the philosophy field (Philosophy of Science). Students in the philosophy field must demonstrate proficiency in introductory logic, a reading knowledge of French, or a reading knowledge of German; logic and language instruction courses are not counted in the FCEs required for the degree.
  • Arrange the balance of their curriculum in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies and faculty instructors.

  • Submit a proposal for an advanced research paper (required for HPS 1100Y) by end of Year 1 for students who enter with a master's degree.

  • Students are responsible for ensuring that they have an appropriate supervisor. All supervision arrangements are reviewed and approved by the Director of Graduate Studies who assists in the search for a supervisor, if necessary. Proper supervision is a prerequisite for continuation in the program.

  • Maintain a cumulative average of at least A– with no individual grade less than B+. In addition, all students should receive at least an A– on the HPS 1100Y advanced research paper. Students falling below these standards may be recommended for termination from the program.

  • Demonstrate other competencies crucial to conducting research in the student's thesis area, as determined by the supervisory committee in consultation with the student and the Director of Graduate Studies. This may include, for example, competence in another language; mathematics; and a physical, life, or social science.

  • Pass a qualifying examination in areas related to the field of expected research. Examination is conducted by the student's specialist committee, normally three faculty members.

  • Submit a thesis proposal approved by the student's thesis supervisory committee and the Director of Graduate Studies.

Program Length

4 years

Time Limit

6 years

 

PhD Program (Direct-Entry)

Minimum Admission Requirements

  • Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants must also satisfy IHPST's additional admission requirements stated below.

  • An appropriate bachelor's degree from a recognized university, with an average grade of at least a B+ in the applicant's overall program and of at least an A– in the applicant's final two years of study.

  • Applications must be accompanied by a 300- to 500-word statement of interest indicating the applicant's areas of interest in history and/or philosophy of science and technology at the graduate level. A writing sample is required.

  • Applicants whose primary language is not English and who are not graduates of a university whose language of instruction is English must submit results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and Test of Written English (TWE) with the following minimum scores:

    • paper-based TOEFL: 580 and 5 on the TWE

    • Internet-based TOEFL: 93/120 and 22/30 on the writing and speaking sections.

Program Requirements

  • Students admitted on the basis of a bachelor's degree (direct-entry) must:

    • Complete 6.0 full-course equivalents (FCEs) in total; of these, students must complete all of the MA program requirements including language proficiency, normally in Year 1.

    • Complete all required courses by the end of Year 2. The exception is HPS 1100Y, which should be completed at the end of Year 3.

    • Make course choices consistent with a commitment to either:

      • one of the three history fields (History of Mathematics and Physical Sciences; History of Medicine and Life Sciences; History of Technology). Students in the history fields must demonstrate reading knowledge of French or German; language instruction courses are not counted in the FCEs required for the degree OR

      • the philosophy field (Philosophy of Science). Students in the philosophy field must demonstrate proficiency in introductory logic, a reading knowledge of French, or a reading knowledge of German; logic and language instruction courses are not counted in the FCEs required for the degree.

  • Arrange the balance of their curriculum in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies and faculty instructors.

  • Submit a proposal for an advanced research paper (required for HPS 1100Y), by end of Year 2.

  • Students are responsible for ensuring that they have an appropriate supervisor. All supervision arrangements are reviewed and approved by the Director of Graduate Studies who assists in the search for a supervisor, if necessary. Proper supervision is a prerequisite for continuation in the program.

  • Maintain a cumulative average of at least A– with no individual grade less than B+. In addition, all students should receive at least an A– on the HPS 1100Y advanced research paper. Students falling below these standards may be recommended for termination from the program.

  • Demonstrate other competencies crucial to conducting research in the student's thesis area, as determined by the supervisory committee in consultation with the student and the Director of Graduate Studies. This may include, for example, competence in another language; mathematics; and a physical, life, or social science.

  • Pass a qualifying examination in areas related to the field of expected research. Examination is conducted by the student's specialist committee, normally three faculty members.

  • Submit a thesis proposal approved by the student's thesis supervisory committee and the Director of Graduate Studies.

Program Length

5 years

Time Limit

7 years

 

PhD Program (Flexible-Time)

Minimum Admission Requirements

  • Applicants to the flexible-time PhD option are accepted under the same admission requirements as applicants to the full-time PhD option.

  • Students will be admitted on the basis of a master's degree in History and Philosophy of Science and Technology; admission based on a bachelor's degree is not available.

  • Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants must also satisfy IHPST's additional admission requirements stated below.

  • A University of Toronto master's degree in History and Philosophy of Science and Technology or its equivalent from a recognized university with an average grade of at least an A– in the applicant's program and with no individual grade less than B+. While the majority of accepted students exceed this standard, the very broad scope of the field and the variety of fruitful approaches to it also imply that many different backgrounds are appropriate. Accordingly, grades are only one criterion used to judge applicants.

  • Applications must be accompanied by a 300- to 500-word statement of interest indicating the applicant's areas of interest in history and/or philosophy of science and technology at the graduate level. A writing sample is required.

  • Applicants whose primary language is not English and who are not graduates of a university whose language of instruction is English must submit results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and Test of Written English (TWE) with the following minimum scores:

    • paper-based TOEFL: 580 and 5 on the TWE or

    • Internet-based TOEFL: 93/120 and 22/30 on the writing and speaking sections.

Program Requirements

  • Program requirements for the flexible-time option are identical to those for the full-time PhD program, except that the program of study will relate to the student's work and vice versa.

  • Students in the flexible-time option are required to register full-time for the first four years of the program. Thereafter, they may register part-time.

  • Transfers between the full-time PhD program and the flexible-time PhD option are not permitted.

  • Students in the flexible-time option must satisfy the SGS General Regulations and Degree Regulations in the SGS Calendar, including good academic standing, supervision, and candidacy regulations.

  • The student will develop a thesis proposal, which must be approved by the student's thesis supervisory committee and the Director of Graduate Studies.

  • Students admitted on the basis of a master's degree must:

    • Complete 3.0 full-course equivalents (FCEs); a student whose MA degree does not exhibit sufficient breadth is required to take additional courses.

    • Make course choices consistent with a commitment to either:

      • one of the three history fields (History of Mathematics and Physical Sciences; History of Medicine and Life Sciences; History of Technology). Students in the history fields must demonstrate reading knowledge of French or German; language instruction courses are not counted in the FCEs required for the degree OR

      • the philosophy field (Philosophy of Science). Students in the philosophy field must demonstrate proficiency in introductory logic, a reading knowledge of French, or a reading knowledge of German; logic and language instruction courses are not counted in the FCEs required for the degree.

  • Arrange the balance of their curriculum in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies and faculty instructors.

  • Submit a proposal for an advanced research paper (required for HPS 1100Y), by the end of Year 1.

  • Students are responsible for ensuring that they have an appropriate supervisor. All supervision arrangements are reviewed and approved by the Director of Graduate Studies who assists in the search for a supervisor, if necessary. Proper supervision is a prerequisite for continuation in the program.

  • Maintain a cumulative average of at least A– with no individual grade less than B+. In addition, all students should receive at least an A– on the HPS 1100Y advanced research paper. Students falling below these standards may be recommended for termination from the program.

  • Demonstrate other competencies crucial to conducting research in the student's thesis area, as determined by the supervisory committee in consultation with the student and the Director of Graduate Studies. This may include, for example, competence in another language; mathematics; and a physical, life, or social science.

  • Pass a qualifying examination in areas related to the field of expected research. Examination is conducted by the student's specialist committee, normally three faculty members.

  • Submit a thesis proposal approved by the student's thesis supervisory committee and the Director of Graduate Studies.

Program Length

6 years

Time Limit

8 years



Trevor Stirling

“Graduate school will shape your career for the rest of your life. ”

Trevor Stirling
PhD Candidate, Electrical & Computer Engineering
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