The department offers the master of arts and the doctor of philosophy in history of science, medicine, and technology. Graduate instruction leads to research and teaching careers in the history of science, medical history, history of technology, intellectual and cultural history, science in general education programs, science writing, and museum work.

The department offers one of the largest and most diverse such programs in the United States. It addresses the development of the sciences, medicine, and technology in their social and intellectual contexts, including attention to institutions, philosophy, religion, literature, and visual and material culture. It also invites students to develop cognate interests in areas as diverse as science studies, environmental history, gender and women's studies, history of pharmacy, and philosophy of science. Faculty provide broad coverage, with expertise that spans Europe, the United States, and non-Western areas from the Middle Ages to the present, and ranges across the physical, biological, and social sciences to medicine and technology.

An M.A. degree for students entering with an advanced health professional degree is designed for students with doctoral training in one of the health professions who wish to pursue a master’s degree with a concentration in medical history.

Minimum Degree Requirements and Satisfactory Progress

To make progress toward a graduate degree, students must meet the Graduate School Minimum Degree Requirements and Satisfactory Progress in addition to the requirements of the program.

Master’s Degrees

M.A., with available track in history of medicine

Minimum Graduate Degree Credit Requirement

30 credits

Minimum Graduate Residence Credit Requirement

M.A.: 18 credits

M.A.–history of medicine track: 24 credits

Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement

21 out of 30 total credits must be completed in graduate-level coursework in the HSMT graduate program; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide.

Prior Coursework Requirements: Graduate Work from Other Institutions

M.A.: Total credits transferred for the M.A. degree may not exceed 12 credits. No credits earned more than 5 years before admission to the M.A. program may be used. No credits carrying a grade below B may be applied toward graduate credit requirements.

M.A.–history of medicine track: Students can apply up to 6 credits from previous professional advanced degree work in one of the health professions from other institutions as well as UW–Madison toward the M.A. degree. No credits earned more than five years before admission to the M.A. program may be used. No credits carrying a grade below B are transferable.

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison Undergraduate

No credits from a UW–Madison undergraduate degree are allowed to count toward the degree.

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison University Special

M.A.: With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 9 credits of coursework numbered 300 or above taken as a UW–Madison University Special student. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements. No credits carrying a grade below B are transferable.

M.A.–history of medicine track: No credits taken as a UW–Madison University Special student are allowed to count toward the degree.

Credits per Term Allowed

15 credits

Program-Specific Courses Required

Contact the program for information on any additional required courses.

Overall Graduate GPA Requirement


Other Grade Requirements

The Graduate School requires an average grade of B or better in all coursework (300 or above, not including research credits) taken as a graduate student unless conditions for probationary status require higher grades. Grades of Incomplete are considered to be unsatisfactory if they are not removed during the next enrolled semester.

Probation Policy

The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School.

Advisor / Committee

Every graduate student is required to have an advisor. To ensure that students are making satisfactory progress toward a degree, the Graduate School expects them to meet with their advisor on a regular basis.

An advisor generally serves as the thesis advisor. In many cases, an advisor is assigned to incoming students. Students can be suspended from the Graduate School if they do not have an advisor. An advisor is a faculty member, or sometimes a committee, from the major department responsible for providing advice regarding graduate studies.

A committee often accomplishes advising for the students in the early stages of their studies.

Assessment and Examinations

Contact the program for information on required assessments and examinations.

Time Constraints

Master’s degree students who have been absent for five or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.

Language Requirements

Contact the program for information on any language requirements.

For admission to graduate study, a high-quality undergraduate record is more important than the particular program pursued. Graduate students have begun work in the History of Science with a wide variety of undergraduate majors ranging across the natural sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities, although some prior exposure to college-level study of history is desirable.

Knowledge and Skills

  • Articulates, critiques, or elaborates the theories, research methods, and approaches to inquiry in HSMT.
  • Identifies sources and assembles evidence pertaining to questions or problems in HSMT.
  • Demonstrates understanding of science, medicine, and technology in a range of historical, social, cultural, and global contexts.
  • Chooses the most appropriate methodologies and practices for a chosen research project.
  • Demonstrates the ability to situate a historical question in relation to the existing literature, and to evaluate and synthesize information pertaining to questions or problems in HSMT.
  • Is able to construct a persuasive historical argument that makes an original contribution to historical knowledge.
  • Communicates clearly, in both written and oral form.

Professional Conduct

  • Recognizes and applies established principles of ethical and professional conduct.

Faculty: Professors Hsia (chair), Broman, Keller, Lederer, Mitman, Nyhart, Schatzberg; Associate Professor Houck; Assistant Professors Gómez, Jackson, Nelson; Senior Lecturer Rider