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Graduate Admissions

The MPhil in History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine is a full-time one year course that provides students with the opportunity to carry out focused research under close supervision by senior members of the University. Students acquire or develop skills and expertise relevant to their research interests, as well as a critical and well-informed understanding of the roles of the sciences in society. Those intending to go on to doctoral work learn the research skills needed to help them prepare a well-planned and focused PhD proposal. During the course students gain experience of presenting their own work and discussing the issues that arise from it with an audience of their peers and senior members of the Department; they attend lectures, supervisions and research seminars in a range of technical and specialist subjects central to research in the different areas of History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine.

The MPhil course is taught by lectures, supervisions and seminars and assessed by three research essays and a dissertation.

The topics of the essays and dissertation should each fall within the following specified subject areas:

  1. Ancient, medieval and early modern sciences
  2. Ancient, medieval and early modern medicine
  3. Sciences in the age of empire, c. 1750–1900
  4. Modern medicine and biomedical sciences
  5. Modern sciences
  6. Metaphysics, epistemology and the sciences
  7. Ethics and politics of medicine and the sciences
  8. Philosophy of the physical sciences
  9. Philosophy of biology and the life sciences
  10. Philosophy of social and cognitive sciences

The MPhil lectures are the core teaching resource for this course. Their purpose is to introduce research topics, methods and approaches adopted by the Department's teaching officers. Each lecture is followed by a small-group seminar that explores the topics in more depth. All MPhil students attend each lecture, but they can choose which subsequent seminars to follow.

Students are encouraged to attend the other lectures, research seminars, workshops and reading groups that make the Department a hive of intellectual activity. The Department also offers graduate training workshops, which focus on key research, presentation, publication and employment skills.

The educational aims of the programme are:

  • to give students with relevant training at first-degree level the opportunity to carry out focused research in History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine under close supervision;
  • to give students the opportunity to acquire or develop skills and expertise relevant to their research interests;
  • to enable students to acquire a critical and well-informed understanding of the roles of the sciences in society; and
  • to help students intending to go on to doctoral work to acquire the requisite research skills and to prepare a well-planned and focused PhD proposal.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

By the end of the course, students will have:

  • developed a deeper knowledge of their chosen areas of History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine and of the critical debates within them;
  • acquired a conceptual understanding that enables the evaluation of current research and methodologies; and
  • formed a critical view of the roles of the sciences in society.

Skills and other attributes

By the end of the course, students should have:

  • acquired or consolidated historiographic, linguistic, technical and ancillary skills appropriate for research in their chosen area;
  • demonstrated independent judgement, based on their own research; and
  • presented their own ideas in a public forum and learned to contribute constructively within an international environment.

Continuing

Students admitted for the MPhil can apply to continue as PhD students. The usual preconditions for continuing to the PhD are an overall first-class mark in the MPhil, agreement of the PhD proposal with a potential supervisor and satisfactory performance in an interview.

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Key Information


9 months full-time

Master of Philosophy

Department of History and Philosophy of Science

Enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Michaelmas 2019

Applications open
Sept. 3, 2018
Application deadline
June 14, 2019
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2019

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Graduate Funding Competition
Dec. 5, 2018
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 10, 2018

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