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Graduate Program in History of Science, Medicine, and Technology

Introduction
Faculty
Funding
Requirements for Doctorate
Related UCLA Centers and Programs
Selected UCLA Collections
Los Angeles Resources


Introduction

The History of Science, Medicine, and Technology Program at UCLA offers graduate students the opportunity to work with leading scholars in the field. Please consult the faculty homepages for the research interests of individual professors. Several of our faculty members have affiliations with other research centers or departments: Institute for Society and Genetics, Center for the Study of Women, Center for 17th- and 18th-Century Studies, Clark Library, and Huntington Library. Students accepted into the history of science, medicine, and technology field at UCLA will also work with professors in other fields of history and often with faculty in other departments as well. There are many faculty members at UCLA interested in various aspects of science studies, in a wide range of departments and programs including information studies, sociology, anthropology, law, gender studies, architecture, and English. Students in the history of science program are encouraged to work with them and attend the many interdisciplinary events on campus related to historical and social studies of science. Our program runs a regular colloquium series on the history of science, medicine, and technology, on Monday afternoons throughout the academic year. Talks range from presentations by outside speakers and visiting faculty to works-in-progress papers by local faculty and graduate students. There is also a Research Forum organized by the Center for Social Medicine and the Humanities in the medical school; this forum hosts monthly informal presentations by faculty and student research on social and historical studies of medicine. Graduate students have the opportunity to participate with faculty in organizing events and inviting speakers to the colloquium. The southern California campuses of the University of California also hold a collaborative history of science graduate student workshop every year. This workshop rotates between campuses and allows graduate students the opportunity to present their work and build relationships with colleagues in the field.

Specific directions for application for the graduate program may be found on the UCLA History Department website.


Faculty

Emeritus FacultyAffiliated faculty
  • Joel Braslow: Ph.D., History, UCLA, 1994; M.D., Loma Linda University School of Medicine, 1984. History of psychiatry; jbraslow@ucla.edu
  • Christopher Kelty (Institute for Society and Genetics and Department of Information Studies): anthropological and historical work on computer science, software, and operating systems; ethics and politics of nanotechnology; ckelty@ucla.edu
  • Hannah Landecker (Center for Society and Genetics and Department of Sociology): social and historical study of biotechnology and life science from 1900-present; landecker@soc.ucla.edu
  • Marcia Meldrum (Center for Social Medicine and Humanities, David Geffen School of Medicine): History of pain research and management; history of public mental health policy and mental health care; oral history of the biomedical sciences; meldrum@history.ucla.edu
  • Sharon Traweek: (Department of Gender Studies) Ph.D. University of California at Santa Cruz, 1982. History of 20th century physical science (U.S. and Japan); Cultural studies of science; Gender and science; traweek@history.ucla.edu

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Funding

The History Department has five-year fellowship and teaching assistant packages and the science, medicine, and technology field has additional funds to support graduate students. The field also has some funds for supporting graduate student conference and research travel. There are also short-term fellowships for research in the UCLA library collections available to graduate students: The James and Sylvia Thayer Short Term Fellowship; the Ahmanson Graduate Student Research Grant in History of Medicine; Clark Library fellowships administered by Center for 17th- and 18th-Century Studies.

Faculty in the field teach three-course undergraduate sequence of lower-division courses (History 3A, 3C, 3D), with discussion sections led by teaching assistants. Graduate students in the field have the opportunity to teach in these courses, as well as in other departmental offerings.


Requirements for the Doctorate in History of Science

Coursework

Students in the graduate program in the history of science, medicine, and technology are required to take History 200o (Advanced Historiography in History of Science) twice, in their first and second years. The course is taught in a two-year cycle, alternating between the history of early modern and modern science. The two-year sequence provides a solid basis for the preparation of the core field written exam in history of science. In addition, in their first-year students are strongly encouraged to audit upper division undergraduate courses taught by our faculty and by March of the second year to produce an annotated bibliography in the general history of science. In the second year, students should request teaching assignments in the lower-division courses taught by faculty in the history of science field. Students are also required to take at least two 2-quarter research seminars in the first two years of study.

Language Examinations

Students must pass two foreign language exams. These are translation exams, administered by the department as needed, once per quarter. One of these must be completed successfully before the written examinations, and both must be completed before the oral examination on the dissertation prospectus in the third year. If a student’s research field is such that only one foreign language is relevant, that student may request approval from the faculty to take only one foreign language exam.

Written Qualifying Examinations

The written exams are administered after six quarters of residency, normally in June of the second year. Students are examined in three distinct fields.

The core field is a general overview of the history of science, medicine, and technology from the ancients to the present, integrated with an informed sense of relevant historiography and historical methods. There is a core reading list to guide preparation for this portion of the examination.

The second examination field is more specific to the student’s research interests, and more tightly focused. This field provides the in-depth background for the future dissertation project. The specific field will be defined by the student in close consultation with relevant professors, and an appropriate bibliography will be selected in the context of this consultation. Some examples of such fields: English and French science in the seventeenth century; science and industrialization; life sciences 1600-1800; political economy and science; physics in 20th-century Japan; medicine in the era of Enlightenment and Romanticism; history of heredity; nuclear histories: radiation in the 20th century.

The third field must be outside the history of science, in an area taught in the other fields of the history department (European, US, Latin America, Japanese, medieval history, etc.). In some cases the outside field may be in another department. The outside field should be chosen in consultation with the student’s adviser.

The general field exam will be set by the entire faculty within the field; the second field is set by the relevant faculty with research interests in the area, including the adviser; the third is offered by faculty in the other fields in the department. Students are responsible for arranging with the relevant faculty for preparation of and examination in the outside field.

Oral Qualifying Examination

The oral examination is generally taken before the end of the third year of graduate study. In the oral examination, students present and discuss their dissertation prospectus with the dissertation committee they have selected.

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Related UCLA Centers and Programs

UCLA and the surrounding Southern California area offer exceptionally rich resources for the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology. What follows is but a selection of related centers, programs, and resources at UCLA and beyond. Many of the centers and institutes offer lecture series, workshops, and conferences throughout the academic year.

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Selected UCLA Collections

  • Biomedical Library History and Special Collections for the Sciences - support the study of the history of medicine and biology. Collections consist of books, journals, manuscript, prints, portraits, and medical artifacts.
  • Department of Special Collections, Young Research Library - repository for one of the country's leading collections of rare books, manuscripts, historic photographs, and other special materials - many of which are related to the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology.
  • John C. Liebeskind History of Pain Collection - promotes and ensures the study of the history of pain research and pain therapy in the post-World War II era, in particular, the origins, growth, and development of the international, interdisciplinary pain field.
  • Neuroscience History Archives - identifies and preserves the papers of living neuroscientists and records of their professional organizations; assists neuroscientists in finding appropriate repositories for their papers; promotes access to this documentary evidence through the preparation of finding aids and other guides; facilitates scholarly use of the collections; and carries out research and education in the history of neuroscience.
  • William Andrews Clark Memorial Library - is a rare book and manuscripts library, with particular strengths in English and Continental literature and history (1500-1800), including considerable holdings in the sciences. It is located in the West Adams area, thirteen miles east of campus and it is administered by UCLA's Center for Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Studies.


Los Angeles Area Resources for History of Science, Medicine, and Technology

  • Caltech Einstein Papers Project - selects from among more than 40,000 documents contained in the personal collection of Albert Einstein (1879-1955), and an additional 30,000 Einstein and Einstein-related documents discovered by the editors since the 1980s, to eventually create a complete series of The Collected Papers, which will provide the first complete picture of a massive written legacy that ranges from Einstein's first work on the special and general theories of relativity and the origins of quantum theory, to expressions of his profound concern with civil liberties, education, Zionism, pacifism, and disarmament.
  • Caltech Institute Archives - serves as the collective memory of Caltech by preserving the papers, documents, artifacts and pictorial materials that tell the school's history, from 1891 to the present. Researchers will also find here a wealth of sources for the history of science and technology worldwide, stretching from the time of Copernicus to today.
  • Getty Research Institute - photographic collection of post-1850 period; rare books and early printed books.
  • Huntington Library - library and research center with rare book and manuscript holdings in British and American history, Los Angeles history, literature, art history, and the history of science, technology and medicine. With the acquisition of the Burndy Library and the Longo Collection in Reproductive Biology adding to extensive rare book holdings, the Huntington became a premier center for research in the history of science and medicine. The Dibner Fellowship Program at the Huntington offers long- and short-term fellowships designed to further study in the extensive history of science, technology, and medicine resources at the Huntington Library.
  • For a UC - wide STS network of people and resources click here.

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