Undergraduate Major

The major in History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health is an interdisciplinary program that focuses on how different forms of knowledge and technology have been created in various times, places, and cultures, and how they have shaped the modern world. What is the relationship between medical expertise, social structure, and everyday life? Is science universal, or does every culture have its own approach to trustworthy knowledge? What is technology, and how is it related to political, economic, or military power? Why do even the best public health campaigns have unintended consequences?

Course offerings range from the pre-modern period to the present day and cover a wide variety of geographic areas and subjects. Specific topics include: the Scientific Revolution, alchemy and magic, medicine and media in modern America, health activism and public health, global health and epidemics, biotechnology, predictions of planetary catastrophe, and the historical development of the physical, environmental, biological, and human sciences.

Majoring in History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health offers excellent preparation for a wide range of careers. Pre-meds and others interested in health-related fields will be able to combine professional training with a broad humanistic education. The major also provides a solid foundation for any career at the intersection of the sciences, technology, and public life, including law, business, journalism, museum work, public policy, government, and many others.

For the official description of the major, see the online Yale College Programs of Study.

 

Want to Know More?

The principal contact for prospective HSMPH majors is the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS). The DUS is currently Professor Bill Rankin (william.rankin@yale.edu), whose office is in the Hall of Graduate Studies, room 206. The DUS is the advisor for all sophomores in the major.

The Registrar for the major is Ms. Barbara McKay (barbara.mckay@yale.edu). Her office is HGS 207, and her phone number is 203-432-1365. Students may consult with her or the DUS about their records in the major, progress toward the completion of requirements for graduation, or other similar matters.

 

Individual Faculty Advisors

At the beginning of the academic year, juniors and seniors will be assigned to individual faculty advisors. They should seek the advice of their advisor in choosing their courses and constructing their course of study. Students will have their course cards signed by their advisor at the beginning of each term.