Skip to main content


The Science Studies Program at UC San Diego was established in 1989. At present, the Program involves sixteen core faculty members and forty-seven graduate students from the Program's "home" departments of anthropology, communication, history, philosophy, and sociology. Students and faculty in the Program are committed to working toward deeper understanding of scientific knowledge in its full cultural and historical context. The Program offers students an opportunity to integrate the perspectives developed within the communication of science, history of science, sociology of science, and philosophy of science, while receiving a thorough training at the professional level in one of those disciplines.

The program is a graduate course of study, leading to the Ph.D. degree, in which students complete course work in science studies in addition to course work in their home department - - anthropology, communication, history, philosophy, or sociology. In addition to formal course work in science studies, students participate in a lively weekly colloquium series, complete internships, and may take directed readings on a variety of relevant topics.

Graduate seminars, generally featuring instruction by two Science Studies faculty from different disciplines, form a major arena of interdisciplinary work. Participants include not only Program members but also other graduate students from the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities. In the seminars, students and faculty of differing disciplinary backgrounds do more than simply exchange views. Rather, they open their own understandings to critical examination by members of other disciplines, and thus enrich their conceptions of a productive approach to studying the sciences.

The introductory seminar explores new directions in the communication, history, philosophy and sociology of science, and the birth of Science Studies as a distinct field of inquiry. Core seminars focus on special topics selected by Program faculty. In recent years, topics have included the role of vision/diagrammatic representation in science; scientific progress; gender and science; and philosophical, ethical, and sociological issues in modern medicine.

The internship allows the student to gain essential hands-on experience and training in the empirical study of scientific practice. As a world-renowned center of scientific research, UC San Diego and its surrounding research institutes offer excellent opportunities for student internships.

Participation in a weekly colloquium series provides further opportunities for interdisciplinary exchange. This series features a highly diverse set of talks on science or technology by students and faculty within the Program, scientists and scholars of s science on the UC San Diego campus, and distinguished lecturers from other universities.

Science Studies students are encouraged to select dissertation topics that offer scope for a cross-disciplinary approach. The Ph.D. degree will be awarded in "Anthropology -- Science Studies," "Communication -- Science Studies," "History -- Science Studies," "Philosophy -- Science Studies, " or "Sociology -- Science Studies." In special circumstances, students may be permitted to work for the M.A. degree.