Course & Language Requirement

Course Requirement

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.

Language Requirement

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.