History of Science

The Department of the History of Science offers a secondary field in the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine. This field gives students concentrating in other departments the opportunity to take a coherent cluster of courses in the history of science, technology, and medicine. The program is designed to give students, first, a foundational sense of the field, then, permit them to do more advanced work, including courses that will allow them to focus on particular interests and to do original research and other projects. 

REQUIREMENTS: 5 courses (20 credits) 

  1. History of Science 100: Knowing the World: Introduction to the History of Science. 
  2. Four elective courses in the history of science, ordinarily chosen from the 100-level courses in the History of Science course search in courses.my.harvard.edu
  • 200-level courses may be taken only with the permission of the instructor. 
  • One Freshman Seminar taught by a department faculty member may be counted as one of the four elective courses. 
  • Students will be permitted to take one (but no more) of their four elective courses outside the department (cross-listed courses in the History of Science course search in courses.my.harvard.edu count in this category). 


With the exception of Freshman Seminars taught by department faculty members, all courses must be letter-graded. There is no minimum passing grade for courses to count towards the secondary field. 

Decisions about whether courses from study abroad, Harvard Summer School, or other Harvard schools will count for the secondary field will be made on a case-by-case basis by the Director of Undergraduate Studies. 

In department courses with limited enrollment, first priority will be given to History and Science concentrators; students affirming that they are doing the secondary field in History of Science will have next priority. 


Secondary field advising is offered by Alice Belser, Manager of Student Programs (ajbelser@fas.harvard.edu), and by Professor Anne Harrington, Director of Undergraduate Studies (aharring@fas.harvard.edu).