If a student enters the program without an appropriate Master's degree, he or she must earn the degree at the University or, at least, convince the Committee that he or she has completed an equivalent course of study here. On arrival, the student should consult with the department in question, and with his or her CHSS advisor, to determine exactly what is required for the degree (or what would be considered a proper equivalent). If a student enters the program with a Master's degree in an appropriate area, the Committee will determine what level of credit is to be given for it, and may decide that some further work is necessary.
Students coming without a Master's degree should choose one of the following options:
All students must complete a total of at least eighteen courses at the University for a grade of 'B' or better (or, if particular academic courses are not offered for letter grades, an equivalent approved by the Committee) including at least seven CHSS courses, i.e., courses that carry CHSS numbers. Ordinarily language courses will not count toward the eighteen course total. CHSS generally offers three designated introductory courses, in History of Science, Philosophy of Science, and Science Studies respectively, and incoming students are required to have taken all three by the end of their second year.
Students in CHSS may, at the discretion of the instructor, take a temporary incomplete in any course. Each course for which an incomplete is granted must have a grade registered by the beginning of the Fall Quarter following the academic year in which the course is taken. Exceptions will be made only in the case of extenuating circumstances, and on petition to the committee.
Students selecting the Philosophy or History Options must take a coherent series of six courses in a scientific area at the University, approved by the Committee, at a level appropriate to their preparation and of an appropriately advanced nature.
Students in all options can double-count as many courses as they like for the different course requirements in their options, i.e., the Master's degree requirements in the appropriate field, the seven courses in CHSS, and the science requirement for Philosophy and History options. However, no student can graduate having completed fewer than eighteen courses.
Graded "reading and research" courses can be counted toward the course requirements if they result in a substantial paper or other serious body of work such as might be expected in a "regular course." Students will be required to maintain at least a 'B+' average every quarter. (The numerical equivalents are as follows: A = 4.0, A- = 3.7, B+ = 3.3, B = 3.0, B- = 2.7.)
In addition to formal graded courses, the Committee conducts an informal, bi-weekly "Seminar on Important Things." It is intended to bring together students and selected faculty to discuss topics of general interest in the history and/or philosophy of science; it should provide common ground for students whose quite varied interests might not otherwise draw them to the same classes. Topics are chosen by the participants and change from quarter to quarter. Often it is a recent book or books that is the focus of attention. First and second year students are required to participate in the Seminar, but do not receive a grade for doing so.
Students must receive a "high pass" in a foreign language exam administered by the University. They are strongly advised to do so as early as possible in their first year. They must do so by the end of their second year.
Students must pass two oral examinations. Each student has the option of taking the exams in history of science, philosophy of science, sociology of science, or anthropology of science; but at least one of the exams must be in either history of science or philosophy of science. These exams are, in part, designed by the students themselves. Each lasts approximately two hours. The order in which the exams are taken does not matter. In the case of each exam, the process begins when the student proposes to the Chair two faculty members to serve as an exam committee. At least one of the two must be a member of CHSS. The committees for the two exams may overlap, but they must not be identical. If the Chair of CHSS approves, and the two members agree to serve, the student will then work with the committee to develop a reading list and a list of questions based on it. The reading list will normally have two parts -- one general, and one more narrowly focused on a topic or topics of particular interest to the student. The reading list and the questions must be approved by the members of the exam committee. The exam itself will be based on the reading list, and will incorporate some of the proposed questions, but need not be limited to the latter. (The administrative assistant of CHSS should be given a copy of the student's approved reading list and questions for inclusion in his or her file.) The student arranges the exact day and time of the exam in consultation with the members of the exam committee.
Each year in the program, a student must furnish to the chair of CHSS a brief written report on his or her progress in the program. The report should be submitted by May 1st. The report should indicate what courses have been taken and completed, what research accomplished, what talks given or papers published. If the student is in candidacy, he or she should also furnish a copy to his or her dissertation chair and indicate what progress has been made on the dissertation; the report should include a schedule specifying when remaining research and chapters will be completed. The dissertation chair will sign the copy and return it to the chair of CHSS.
Students who have reached the end of the academic year with some courses incomplete must complete those courses by the beginning of the next academic year; they will not be allowed to register until all courses have been completed.
After all of the above requirements have been satisfied, a student may form a dissertation committee. These normally consist of three faculty members, with one designated as the chair. At least two members of the committee, one of them the chair, must be members of CHSS. The student chooses the committee, subject to the approval of the Chair of CHSS and the agreement of the faculty involved. Once the committee has been formed, the student will work with its members to develop a dissertation proposal and will defend the latter in a proposal hearing when the committee thinks the student ready. The exact day and time of the hearing should be arranged by the student in consultation with the members of the committee and the Chair of CHSS. The hearing is open to all CHSS faculty and so it should not be scheduled for any time when many are likely to be away (i.e., not during the summer quarter, or between quarters). The student must inform the CHSS secretary of the day and time chosen, and do so sufficiently far in advance that it is possible for the secretary to notify the faculty, and get copies of the proposal to them, a full two weeks in advance of the hearing. If the proposal is approved at the hearing, the student will be considered to have advanced to "Ph.D. candidacy."
Once the student submits a completed dissertation, and the chair of the dissertation committee secures agreement from all members that it is ready to be defended, a dissertation defense may be scheduled. The exact day and time should be arranged by the student in consultation with the members of the committee and the Chair of CHSS. As with the proposal hearing, the defense should not be scheduled for any time when many faculty are likely to be away (i.e., not during the summer quarter, or between quarters). The student must inform the CHSS secretary of the day and time chosen, and give the secretary both a copy of the dissertation and a short written summary (on the order of 5 to 10 pages). He or she must do so sufficiently far in advance that it is possible for the secretary to notify the faculty, and get copies of the summary to them, a full two weeks in advance of the defense. The faculty present at the defense make the final decision on whether to accept the dissertation.
Students who enter with a Master's degree in a science must satisfy the course requirement by the end of their second year. Those who enter without a Master's degree in a science must satisfy both the science and course requirements by the end of their third year. All students must pass one of their two examinations by the end of the Fall quarter of their third year, and the other by the end of the Spring quarter of that year. The proposal hearing for the dissertation should be held by the spring quarter of the fourth year.
Every year in the Spring quarter, the Committee evaluates the progress of each student who has not yet passed a dissertation proposal hearing. If he or she is not advancing in accordance with the above listed expectations, then, in the absence of special circumstances, the student will either be dropped from the program outright, or placed on probation with a strict timetable for the following year. Failure to comply with the timetable will be automatic grounds for dropping the student.
E-mail: CHSS Admin. Assist. | Tel: (773) 702-8261 | Fax: (773) 834-1299
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