Master of Philosophy in History of Science, Medicine, and Technology

The regulations of the Board of the Faculty of History are as follows:

  • (1) Every candidate must follow for at least six terms a course of instruction in History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, and must upon entering for the examination produce from his or her society a certificate to that effect.

  • (2) The examination will consist of the following parts:

  • Qualifying test

  • Every candidate must pass a qualifying test. The test shall consist of two courses on

  • 1. Methods and themes in the history of science and technology.

  • 2. Methods and themes in the history of medicine.

  • Candidates may be advised on the basis of their prospective individual research to substitute one of the following courses from the Master of Philosophy in Economic and Social History for (1) or (2) above:

    • (i) Methodological introduction to research in the social sciences and history.

    • (ii) Quantitative Methods and Computer Applications for Historians.

  • A paper from another established course within the University may be substituted for one of the standard courses where this would provide a more appropriate training for the candidate's dissertation focus.[For students starting before MT 2016: Such a choice will need formal approval from both the Course Director and the Chair of the Graduate Studies Committee of the Board of the Faculty of History.] [For students starting from MT 2016: Candidates wishing to do so must obtain the permission of the Programme Convenor, the person responsible for the delivery of the requested advanced paper, the candidate’s supervisor, and the Director of Graduate Studies.

  • Such candidates will be assessed according to the regulations with respect to the form of assessment and deadlines governing that option (i.e. the regulations of the programme under which the option/advanced paper is offered), but the modes of assessment and deadlines for the other course elements of the programme for which the candidate is registered will remain in force.]

  • The two methodological introduction courses will each be assessed by a methodological essay of up to 3,000 words.[For students starting before MT 2016: Two typewritten copies of each of the essays must be submitted by noon on Monday of Week 10 of Michaelmas Term of the candidate’s first year to the Chair of Examiners for the M.Phil. in History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, c/o Examination Schools, High Street, Oxford OX1 4BG.] [For students starting from MT 2016: The essay must be uploaded to the Assignments section of the History of Science, Medicine and Technology WebLearn site by noon on Monday of Week 10 of Michaelmas Term of the candidate’s first year and accompanied by a declaration that they are the candidate’s own work. ]In addition, convenors of qualifying courses will confirm in writing to the chair of examiners not later than Friday of eighth week of Hilary Term the candidates’ satisfactory participation in their classes, including the completion of any assignments for the weekly sessions. Any approved alternative qualifying course will be assessed within the format and timetable of the paper’s parent course. No candidate who has failed the qualifying test of two courses will be permitted to supplicate for the degree. Candidates who fail a qualifying course once will be permitted to take it again, not later than one year after the initial attempt.

Final Examination

The examination shall consist of four papers and a dissertation.

  • I. Three advanced papers at least two of which must be selected from Schedule I below (‘Advanced Papers for the M.Phil. and M.Sc. in History of Science, Medicine, and Technology’), and not more than one from any other M.Phil., the choice of which must be approved by the Chair of the Graduate Studies Committee of the History Board not later than Monday of the fourth week of the second Michaelmas Term of the course.

    Candidates must take at least two of their advanced papers as three-hour written examinations. For each of their remaining advanced papers candidates must choose to be assessed either by written examination or by two 5,000-word essays. Essays may only be submitted in lieu of written papers for subjects in Schedule I or for papers from other M.Phil.s where similar provision exists in the regulations for those examinations. The essays must be the work of the candidates alone and they must not consult any other person including their supervisors in any way concerning the method of handling the themes chosen. The themes chosen by the candidate must be submitted for approval by the chair of examiners by the examination entry date. Candidates will be informed within two weeks, by means of a letter directed to their colleges, whether the topics they have submitted have been approved.[For students starting before MT 2016: The finished essays must be delivered by the candidate to the Examination Schools, High Street, Oxford, by noon on Monday the sixth week of Trinity Term. The essays must be presented in proper scholarly form, and two typed copies of each must be submitted.] [For students starting from MT 2016: The finished essays must be uploaded to the Assignments Section of the History of Science, Medicine and Technology Weblearn site by noon on Monday the sixth week of Trinity Term. The essays must be presented in proper scholarly form and accompanied by a declaration that they are the candidate’s own work.]

  • II. Either (i) one paper in a discipline or skill or sources or methods selected from Schedule II below.

    or (ii) A fourth advanced paper selected from Schedule I or from any additional list of papers for the M.Phil. and M.Sc. in History of Science, Medicine, and Technology approved by the Graduate Studies Committee of the Board of the Faculty of History and published in the definitive list of Advanced Papers as set out in Schedule I.

  • III. A dissertation of not more than 30,000 words, including appendices but excluding bibliography on a topic approved by the candidate's supervisor.[For students starting before MT 2016: The dissertation must be delivered not later than noon on the Monday of the first week of the Trinity Term in which the examination is to be taken to the Examination Schools, High Street, Oxford.] [For students starting from MT 2016: The dissertation must be delivered uploaded to the Assignments section of the History of Science, Medicine and Technology WebLearn site not later than noon on the Monday of the first week of the Trinity Term in which the examination is to be taken.] Dissertations submitted must not exceed the permitted length. If they do the examiners will reduce the marks awarded. The presentation and footnotes should comply with the requirements specified in the Regulations of the Education Committee for the degree of M.Litt. and D.Phil. and follow the Conventions for the presentation of essays, dissertations and theses of the Board of the Faculty of History. [For students starting from MT 2016: The dissertation should be accompanied by a declaration that they are the candidate’s own work.]

  • Each dissertation must include a short abstract which concisely summarises its scope and principal arguments, in about 300 words. [For students starting from MT 2016: This is not included in the dissertation word count.]

  • [For students starting before MT 2016: Candidates must submit by the specified date three copies of their dissertation. These must be securely and firmly bound in either hard or soft covers. ]One [For students starting from MT 2016: printed ]copy of an M.Phil. dissertation which is approved by the examiners must be deposited in the Bodleian Library. This finalised copy should incorporate any corrections or amendments which the examiners may have requested. It must be in a permanently fixed binding, drilled and sewn, in a stiff board case in library buckram, in a dark colour, and lettered on the spine with the candidate's name and initials, the degree, and the year of submission.

  • 3. Candidates may, if they so wish, be examined in up to two of their four papers (or submit essays in lieu of these papers as provided for above) at the end of their first year.

  • 4. The examiners will permit the use of any hand-held pocket calculator subject to the conditions set out under the heading ‘Use of calculators in examinations’ in the Regulations for the Conduct of University Examinations .

  • 5. The examiners may award a distinction for excellence in the whole examination.

  • 6. If it is the opinion of the examiners that the work done by a candidate, while not of sufficient merit to qualify for the degree of M.Phil., is nevertheless of sufficient merit to qualify for the degree of Master of Science in History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, the candidate shall be given the option of resitting the M.Phil. (as provided under the appropriate regulation) or of being granted leave to supplicate for the degree of Master of Science.

  • 7. A candidate who fails the examination will be permitted to retake it on one further occasion only, not later than one year after the initial attempt.

  • Such a candidate whose dissertation has been of a satisfactory standard may resubmit the same piece of work, while a candidate who has reached a satisfactory standard on the written papers will not be required to retake that part of the examination.

Schedule I

Advanced Papers for the M.Phil. and M.Sc. in History of Science, Medicine, and Technology

A broad range of the course resources are shared with the corresponding courses in Economic and Social History, and Advanced Papers are therefore available in the subject areas listed here.

  • 1. Economic and business history

  • 2. History of science and technology

  • 3. Social history

  • 4. Historical demography

  • 5. History of medicine

    A descriptive list of Advanced Papers will be published by the Board of the Faculty of History in September for the academic year ahead (not all options may be available in every year). The definitive list of the titles of Advanced Papers for any one year will be circulated to candidates and their supervisors and posted on the Faculty notice board not later than Friday of third week of Michaelmas Term.

Schedule II

The paper in a relevant discipline or skill may be:

  • 1. One of the papers from the M.Phil. in Economics.

  • 2. One of the papers from the M.Phil. in Sociology or in Comparative Social Policy.

  • 3. One of the papers from the M.Phil. in Russian and East European Studies.

  • 4. One suitable paper from another Master's degree under the auspices of the Faculty of History approved from time to time by the Graduate Studies Committee of the Board of History.

  • 5. One suitable paper from another Master's degree on the recommendation of the candidate's supervisor and endorsed by the Course Director.

    Choices under Schedule II have to be approved by the Chair of the Graduate Studies Committee of the Board of the Faculty of History not later than Monday of the fourth week of the second Michaelmas Term of the course. Candidates wishing to take a paper under 1, 2, 3, or 5 will also need the approval of the appropriate course convenor and the Graduate Studies Committee of the relevant faculty board or inter-faculty committee who need to be satisfied that each candidate has an adequate background in the subject. Not all options may be available in any one year.