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History of Science, Technology and Medicine

History of Science, Technology, and Medicine

What is History of Science, Technology, and Medicine?

Students in our courses explore the origins of scientific theories, technological innovations and medical systems and the way they have shaped human societies. In our courses we show that historical perspective is critical to addressing contemporary issues like climate change, global pandemics, and the social and institutional forces that continue to keep women and people of color from full participation in science, engineering, and medicine.

The history of science is not simply a list of discoveries and inventions. Rather, we study the sciences as an integral part of culture and society as a whole. We are not just studying when and how people found answers to specific scientific problems, but also why and when such issues became problems in the first place.

The history of technology explores the entanglement of technology with social, political, economic, and environmental change across human history. By investigating the diverse ways that human societies have engaged in processes of making and doing and how these change or stabilize over time, historians of technology offer vital context to inform our responses to the challenges and opportunities associated with technology in the contemporary world.

The history of medicine examines the ways people in different times and places have defined, understood and responded to disease, disability, and public health crises. The history of medicine connects medical ideas and medical practices to the broader social and cultural contexts in which they were developed.

Students in our classes have the opportunity to use the world-renowned History of Science Collections, located in Bizzell Memorial Library. The Collections is a premier research collection of its kind, holding almost 100,000 volumes from every field and subject area of science, technology, and medicine ranging chronologically from 1467 to the present. It is unique in its mission to support undergraduate education.

Our program emphasizes essential skills valuable for diverse career paths: the ability to write well, to persuasively convey your ideas to others, and to assess and integrate new knowledge. Graduates can apply their education and training in a wide variety of professions including public policy, journalism, public health, and education. A degree in the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine also provides an excellent foundation for graduate work in many fields, including education, history, law, and medicine.

student and professor looking at a book

So, what's my degree?

Students can earn the Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in the History of Science, Technology and Medicine. Two undergraduate minors are also available, and can be valuable in helping you place your major interests in social, cultural, and historical context.

Do my interests fit?

Our students are keenly interested in the political, social, and ethical aspects of science, technology, and medicine. Our major offers them a unique opportunity to explore these fields from a humanistic perspective. The flexibility of the History of Science, Technology and Medicine major allows students to do it as a double major (or minor) with a science major such as Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Psychology, or with another humanities major such as History, Womens and Gender Studies, or Anthropology. The major does not require any science courses beyond the University’s General Education requirements.

What courses will I take?

A minimum of 36 hours of HSCI courses, 21 of which must be upper-division, are required. The 21 upper-division hours includes the capstone course. Up to six hours (2 courses) taught in other departments (i.e., Honors College) may be counted towards the major, subject to written prior approval of the HSCI departmental undergraduate adviser. Students may choose a specific emphasis within the major: technology and society; biology, medicine and society; or, the physical and mathematical sciences. 


  • The Darwinian Revolution
  • Race and Science
  • Science in a Religious World
  • Disasters
  • Gender Issues in Science, Technology and Medicine.
  • Science and Technology in Asian History.
  • Cold War Science.
  • History of Ecology and Environmentalism.
  • Of Acupuncture, Medicine Men & Ayurveda: Indigenous & Non-Western Medicine in Perspective.
  • Biomedical Ethics
  • Modern Medicine – A Historical Introduction.

How can I study abroad?

OU has numerous study abroad opportunities for students of all majors. Whether you want to take electives, lower-division courses, or major requirements, be sure to check out what education abroad opportunities are available to you through the College of International Studies

What kind of career could I pursue?

  • Educational institutions
  • Foundations
  • Government and State agencies
  • Historical societies
  • Legal offices
  • Medical facilities
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Publishers




Former Alumni Occupations

  • Consultant
  • Criminologist
  • Curator
  • Editor
  • Environmental Advocate
  • FBI/CIA Agent
  • Foundation Worker
  • Healthcare professional
  • Historian
  • Journalist
  • Lawyer
  • Librarian
  • Lobbyist
  • Public Policy Analyst
  • Publisher
  • Professor
  • Researcher
  • Science Writer
  • Teacher
  • Technical Writer

How much will I make?

Visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website to explore the median pay for jobs you can pursue with this degree. 

Contact Us

Dodge Family College of Arts and Sciences The University of Oklahoma

Dept. of the History of Science
Phone: (405) 325-2213