The Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology provides a comprehensive program of undergraduate instruction in general history of science, history of biology, history of medicine, history of mathematics, history of physical science, history of technology, philosophy of science, and science and society. The history and philosophy of science and technology is a discipline that cuts across the sciences and humanities. HPS courses treat science and mathematics, medicine, and technology as: historically significant in themselves, integral components of the general development of knowledge, culture, and society and conceptually and theoretically rich domains for philosophical analysis. The undergraduate courses explore these various features, and, in so doing, provide a wider context for the understanding of science and its applications. Many courses have a substantial historical component, others deal with philosophical, economic, or social issues and some combine these elements. Students taking courses that focus on the history of science will find that the material is an important component of cultural and intellectual history. Students taking courses in history of technology will find the material especially relevant to understanding economic or social history. Students taking courses in philosophy of science will explore the concepts, theoretical underpinnings and methodology of the sciences – an exploration that will enrich their understanding of the nature of science and its current dominance as a means of gaining knowledge. Science students may count any HPS course for the Humanities Breadth Requirement; Social Sciences and Humanities students may count specific HPS courses (as indicated in the course description section) as a science breadth requirement.
HPS courses are also offered through the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering. Engineering students should contact either the Faculty office (978-3134) or the IHPST office (978-5397) for course and timetable information in the history or philosophy of science. Students from other Faculties who wish to enrol in one of these courses must petition the Registrar of the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering.
Some students may wish to plan their programs around a core of HPS courses. The major and minor programs are suitable training for careers in medicine, law, education, journalism, an many other fields.