Undergraduate courses


All regularly scheduled History of Science courses meet the Core IV General Education requirements for Western Civilization, and one course also meets the Non-Western requirement.  You can create a coherent package of Gen-Ed courses by satisfying three elective Western Civilization and one Non-Western Courses in History of Science and be just one course away from one of the most useful minors OU offers. 


Students may elect a minor in History of Science.  This requires fifteen hours of History of Science courses, of which at least nine hours must be at the 3000 level or above.  Students interested in the minor are encouraged to contact the undergraduate advisor, Associate Professor Hunter Heyck. Phone: 325-3427  

Email: hheyck@ou.edu


1133 - Science and Popular Culture

An interdisciplinary introduction to the interplay between science and popular culture from the Scientific Revolution to the present. Topics include representations of science, scientists, and nature in popular literature, television, and films; the development of zoos and science museums; childhood and science; science journalism; and science fiction.

Syllabi: SP08, SP09 

SOPHOMORE-LEVEL COURSES                                                                        

“Darwinian Revolution” Dream Course

2213 – Darwinian Revolution                                                                                   

The “Darwinian Revolution” was a revolution in culture as well as biology.  We will consider the history of the social, political, and theological issues associated with the development of evolutionary thought from the early-nineteenth century through to the “Modern Evolutionary Synthesis” of the 1930s.  We shall also consider eugenics, the ethics of genomics, and the place of evolution in the classroom.

Syllabi: SP09


3013 - History of Science to the Age of Newton: The Origins and Early Development of Science

Prerequisite:  Junior standing or above or permission of instructor

Section 010 requires enrollment in one of the discussion sessions. 

A survey of understandings of the natural world from antiquity to the seventeenth century. This course explores how people in different times and places have explained such phenomena as the motions of the planets and the workings of the human body. Throughout we will pay particular attention to the cultural settings in which theories about the natural world were produced.  We will also examine the impact of scientific ideas and discoveries upon human societies and cultures.

Syllabi: FA00, FA01, FA04, SP06, FA07, FA08, SP09

3023 - (3 independently run sections)

History of Science since the 17th Century: The Foundation and Growth of Modern Science

Prerequisite:  Junior standing or above or permission of instructor

Section 010 requires enrollment in one of the discussion sections.

A survey tracing the development of major concepts, discoveries, and methods in physical, biological, and earth sciences, as well as the interaction between science and other institutions, in the early modern and modern periods.  Emphasis is given to the growth of scientific thought in modern times, to the effects of increasing respect for science among eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Europeans and Americans, and to the emergence of pure and applied science as major forces in modern civilization.

Syllabi: SP05, FA05, FA06, SP07, FA07, SP08, SP09


3463 –Cold War Science

Prerequisite:  Junior standing or permission of instructor           

Science and technology during the Cold War, including strategic weapons and SDI, nuclear power and the environment, the space race, science in popular culture, and science and foreign policy.

Syllabi: SP08

3813 – Science in the Ancient World

Prerequisite: Junior standing or permission of instructor.

The ancient Greeks are generally felt to have been the first to free themselves from magical and (pagan) religious beliefs about nature, and to try to understand the world on the basis of rational experiments. Western medicine, mathematics, astronomy and ideas on nature in one way or another built upon the works of ancient Greek thinkers. We will explain the various accomplishments of these people - not just Greeks, but also in the ancient Near East and the Roman world. Besides, we will investigate the relations of their ideas to their cultural context, including fields like religion, forms of magic, and astrology.

Syllabi: SP08


You Can Have A Fully Integrated Gen-Ed Experience