Graduate Programs in Science and Society at ASU

ASU has a number of exciting graduate programs in history, philosophy and social studies of science (with particular emphasis on the biological sciences). I am a faculty member for three of these programs (Biology & Society, Philosophy & Human and Social Dimensions of Science and Technology) and have worked with PhD and MA/MS students. If you are an undergraduate or graduate student who wants to study in these fields, please do not hesitate to use the contact information below or contact me with any questions you may have.

We announce new graduate programs to study science and society at Arizona State University.   ASU is an established leader in interdisciplinary studies of the sciences, their history, epistemology, conceptual structure and their impacts on society.   We have particular strengths in the history and philosophy of developmental biology, conservation biology, evolutionary theory, social evolution and systematics as well as in general philosophy of science and decision theory.  Research in these areas is conducted in close collaboration with campus research centers and institutes in the sciences, social sciences, humanities, and science policy. The unique feature of these ASU initiatives is that students can enter each program through a diverse range of portals.

Through Biology:

The Biology and Society program began in 2004 as a concentration within the Biology graduate program to provide Ph.D., M.S. and B.S./M.S. options in History and Philosophy of Science (HPS) and in Bioethics, Policy, and Law (BPL) for students who seek a solid grounding in the fundamentals of the life sciences as well as interdisciplinary study related to Biology and Society.  The Biology and Society degree program is appropriate for students interested in history, philosophy, bioethics, policy, legal, and biological studies, and it provides opportunities for students to explore conceptual, ethical, and historical issues in close collaboration with working scientists.  Applicants typically will have a foundation in the basic life sciences or be willing to make up 2-3 core courses during their first year.  Graduates are finding opportunities in academic, research, administrative, medical, public health, teaching, and other careers.  The Biology and Society degree provides opportunities for students to explore conceptual, ethical, and historical issues in close collaboration with working scientists.  Each program of study is individually designed to meet the student's research needs and future career goals.

For more information, please contact Jane Maienschein ( or Felicity Snyder (

Through Philosophy:

The History and Philosophy of Science (HPS) focus within the Philosophy M.A. and Ph.D. Graduate Program will begin in Fall 2009 and is designed for those students seeking graduate degree in Philosophy that provides solid training  in the core areas of Philosophy, with an emphasis on HPS.  This degree program is especially appropriate for students with a background in Philosophy or those who wish to pursue a degree in Philosophy, who seek to broaden their disciplinary studies with an historical perspective.  Applicants will typically come from undergraduate programs that have included philosophical training or with a Master's degree in philosophy.   Science students are eligible as well and will make up the core courses during their first years.

For more information, please contact Jane Maienschein (, Richard Creath (, or Felicity Snyder (

Through History:

The History Department offers M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in a variety of specializations and includes faculty and coursework in the history of science, history of medicine, and environmental history.  Graduate faculty for the History Ph.D. include many scholars affiliated with the History and Philosophy of Science (HPS) program and the Human and Social Dimensions of Science and Technology (HSD) program (see below). In 2009 the History graduate program will formally establish a secondary field and research specializations in the History of Science and Technology in cooperation with the HPS and HSD programs.

For more information, please contact Paul Hirt (

Through Human and Social Dimensions of Science and Technology:

This new Ph.D. program provides interdisciplinary training that integrates work in the humanistic and social studies of science and technology and their relationship to broader society and social outcomes. The mission of this program is captured in the introduction from the Director:  "The philosophy is simple. Science and technology are too important to be left to scientists and engineers. We believe humanists and social scientists have unique roles to play in helping to understand and inform the conceptual and philosophical foundations of scientific research; to analyze and assess the increasingly powerful roles of science and technology as agents of change in society and the economy; and to challenge universities to become leaders in fostering the new science and technology policies necessary to meet the challenges of the 21st century."  The program is designed to be flexible to meet the needs of students with from diverse backgrounds.  These students come together in the programs core seminars and colloquia and informally, and they build individually tailored projects specifically focused on their Ph.D. research areas.

For more information, please contact Clark Miller ( or Karin Ellison (


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These sound exciting, Prof Lynch - why didn't programs like yours exist when I was looking for grad schools?

I'll be sure to share these descriptions with our undergrads.

These sound quite interesting--though do you have anything similar to the Biology and Society program for chemists or physicists?

@ tcmJOE

There are no formal programs at ASU (or anywhere else that I know of) that deal with chemistry or physics in a manner similar to our Biology & Society program. However, it would be possible to interact with chemists and physicists in a similar manner within both the HSD and Philosophy of Science tracks.