The History of Science Department was established in 1971 by the University President's Committee on the History of Science. Since its inception, the program has been closely tied to the History of Science Collections in the University Libraries, which dates from a gift of rare books by University of Oklahoma alumnus Everette L. DeGolyer. In 1954 Duane H. D. Roller became the first Curator of the Collections (then called the DeGolyer Collection), and Professor Roller presided over the growth of an undergraduate and graduate teaching program in history of science. Since this beginning, the history of science program at the University of Oklahoma has grown to ten faculty members appointed in the department, along with one faculty in the History of Science Collections, two faculty in the Honors College, and two in the History Department, teaching a program of undergraduate courses and conferring master's and doctoral degrees. The department's mission is three-fold: to offer instruction to undergraduates; to offer instruction and guidance for graduate students; and to contribute to research in the history of science.
Our graduate program, established in 1954, is specifically designed for students who are interested in research and teaching careers in higher education, or professional positions in specialized libraries, museums, and other institutions. Students work closely with faculty in a graduate training program designed to produce historians who are scholarly, productive in research, effective in the classroom, and who have high standards of professional conduct and responsibility. Students are encouraged to adapt program materials to the wider discipline of the history of science.
Since 1983 students have had the opportunity to complete requirements for a Minor in the History of Science. In 2011, the BA in the History of Science, Technology and Medicine was approved, thereby offering OU students an undergraduate program in which to inquire into the development of scientific thought from its origins in the cultural and intellectual efforts of the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece and Rome, through the Islamic and Christian civilizations of the Middle Ages, to the modern period. History of science courses place strong emphasis upon both the internal growth of scientific ideas and their development within the wider political, social, economic, religious, and cultural context of Western history.