The Committee on the Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science (CHSS) is a graduate program at the University of Chicago that offers students the opportunity to work toward the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in areas concerned with the foundations, history, philosophy, and social relations of science. Though faculty interests range broadly, CHSS has particular strength in the history and philosophy of physics, astronomy, mathematics, evolutionary biology, psychology, psychiatry, anthropology, and communications.
CHSS has a special focus on the history of the human sciences. In collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for History of Science in Berlin, CHSS has established an exchange program; this program offers graduate students opportunity to conduct research abroad in the history of the human sciences (broadly conceived).
CHSS differs from other programs in the history and philosophy of science in its emphasis on the importance of training in science. In the CHSS program, students earn a Masters degree either in a science (or mathematics), or in history, or in philosophy. If they choose history or philosophy, they also take six courses in a science or mathematics appropriate to their level of preparation (from undergraduate to graduate level courses). CHSS maintains close cooperative relations with the Fishbein Center for the History of Science and Medicine (within the Department of History), the Department of Philosophy, and the undergraduate program in the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine (HiPSS).
Several generous fellowships are available to applicants, whether they be U.S. citizens or citizens of other countries. CHSS is located in the Social Sciences Division of the University.
In conjunction with the Fishbein Center, CHSS conducts a workshop in the history and philosophy of science, known as HPSS. Meetings are on alternate Friday afternoons at 4:00 p.m. Every other Friday, CHSS sponsors the History of Human Sciences Workshop, an informal luncheon seminars at which faculty, students, and visitors come together to discuss their work. A calendar listing these and related events is available on this web site. Announcements concerning these events are also posted to the History and Philosophy of Science (HPS) e-mail list (to be included on this list, write the Director of the Fishbein Center).
Every other Fridays, CHSS students meet for an informal seminar, the Seminar on Important Things, from noon to 1:30. Although attendance for those beyond the second year is not required, the seminar remains an active forum for all CHSS and interested students. The seminar provides an opportunity to explore areas of research outside a student's particular field. The texts discussed each quarter are chosen by the students, and the seminar itself is facilitated by several faculty members and post-doctoral fellows, who participate on an equal footing. Recent topics have included the works of Pierre Duhem, Francis Bacon, Michel Foucault, and have ranged over areas concerning the social construction of science and the interactions of science, literature, and art. The discussions occur at noon and a free lunch is provided (which demonstrates to our Economics Department that such is possible).
As part of the application, each student will need to furnish: three letters of recommendation, results of GRE exam (the general exam only), transcripts from undergraduate college (and graduate institution, if applicable), and some piece of writing that best displays his or her talents (from 10 to 40 pages; more is not necessarily better).
Inquiries about the program should be addressed to the CHSS office:
Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science
Prospective students may apply online at:
More information about applying to programs in the University of Chicago's Division of the Social Sciences can be found at http://socialsciences.uchicago.edu/page/prospective
Degree requirements for CHSS are listed elsewhere.
E-mail: CHSS Admin. Assist. | Tel: (773) 702-8261 | Fax: (773) 834-1299
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