University of Sydney Handbooks - 2016 Archive

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History and Philosophy of Science

Study in the discipline of History and Philosophy of Science is offered by the Unit of History and Philosophy and Science in the Faculty of Science. Units of study in this major are available at standard level.

Program structure and content

History and Philosophy of Science (HPS) allows students to enrich and deepen their knowledge of science and stand back from the specialised concerns of their other subjects by gaining a broader perspective on what science is, how it acquired its current form and how it fits into contemporary society. HPS is particularly relevant for students hoping to make careers in science policy, science administration, science education and science journalism. Any student with a genuine interest in science will derive benefit from study in HPS.

First year planning for a major in History and Philosophy of Science

Essential: 24 credit points of Junior study are required to enrol in Intermediate units of study in the History and Philosophy of Science.

Recommended: HPSC1000/1900 and 12 credit points of elective units of study from History, Philosophy, Gender Studies, Physics, Psychology, or other related areas of study in arts or science in consultation with the unit for History and Philosophy of Science.

A major in HPS consists of 24 credit points of HPS units of study. Most of our senior units of study have the following prerequisite: either both HPSC2100/2900 and HPSC2101/2901 or a credit or above in either HPSC2100/2900 or HPSC2101/2901.

Requirements for a major

For a major in History and Philosophy of Science, the minimum requirement is 24 credit points from senior units of study listed in this subject area.


An Honours course in HPS is available to students of sufficient merit who have satisfied the requirements for the degree of BSc or BA or BLAS with a major in HPS or another relevant area. Students who have obtained the TSP Certificate in HPS are also eligible for the Honours program. The Honours course consists of 48 points of Honours level units of study, which need to include HPSC4201 HPS Research Project 1, HPSC4202 HPS Research Project 2, HPSC4203 HPS Research Project 3 and HPSC4204 HPS Research Project 4. In their final semester all students must also enrol in the zero credit point non-assessable unit HPSC4999. Students intending to proceed to Honours or to enrol in the Graduate Diploma in Science (HPS) are strongly advised to contact the unit towards the end of the previous academic year to discuss thesis topic and supervision. Note: honours level (4000) units of study are available only to students admitted to HPS Honours. A number of our honours-level courses are also open to students in the medical humanities and liberal studies.

Honours contact

Dr Daniela Helbig

T +61 2 9351 7783

Contact and further information


T +61 2 9351 4226
Unit of History and Philosophy of Science
Level 3, Carslaw Building F07
University of Sydney
NSW 2006