Outline of Study

Students enrolled in the Program choose one of the four disciplines -- Communication, History, Philosophy, or Sociology -- for their major field of specialist studies, and are required to complete minor field requirements in the others. The core of the Program, however, is a sequence of courses in Science Studies, led by faculty from all four participating Departments.

The academic year at UC San Diego runs from mid-September to mid-June. Formal teaching is given in three "quarters," each ten weeks in length.

Science Studies students, like other graduate students at UC San Diego, generally spend their first two or three years taking courses for credit. Most graduate courses in Science Studies take the form of small group seminars or independent study under the guidance of a faculty member. Most courses are graded primarily on the basis of written papers or essays, which may entail substantial reading and research. Not uncommon, such papers become the basis for chapters of the student's dissertation, or for articles that are later submitted for publication.

Students are normally expected to take three courses per quarter, or a total (spread over at least two years) of eighteen courses. Precise specifications of required courses differ among the Departments participating in the Science Studies Program; details are given in the respective Departments' guides to graduate study. In addition to those taken for credit, students may audit further courses (i.e. participate without being examined or graded). After completing coursework and other departmental requirements, the student prepares a Dissertation Prospectus in consultation with his or her advisor, setting out a description and justification of the proposed research, and an outline of its argument and presentation. The student is then examined orally on the prospectus, by a doctoral committee consisting of faculty from the student's "home" and other departments. Once the prospectus has been approved, the student is formally advanced to candidacy, and can work full-time on the research (insofar as other commitments allow). When the dissertation is completed, it is examined by the doctoral committee, which recommends whether the Ph.D. degree should be awarded.