Do you want to know what science means for society, especially in these times? Do you want to study a variety of disciplines and figure out their underlying systems of thought? Learn about the theory behind the theory? And are you always asking the next question and looking for the bigger picture?
Combining historical and philosophical perspectives
The two-year master’s programme History and Philosophy of Science (HPS) offers a unique opportunity to study the foundations, practices, and culture of the sciences and humanities. The programme combines historical and philosophical perspectives to study past and present science. We investigate the interplay of science with cultural, social, political and institutional factors. We also analyse the fundamental structure of theories such as general relativity, quantum mechanics, evolution, and genetics. Our topics range from natural science and mathematics to social science and the humanities.
The aim of the Master’s programme HPS is to offer you a thorough training in the history and/or philosophy or foundations of the sciences and humanities. You'll learn to develop and research historical or philosophical research questions and how to engage with public debates about science. You will be educated in developing a professional attitude which enables you to enroll in a PhD programme in the HPS field, or start (on the job training) for a career in science education and communication, in museums, in science policy or science management.
The curriculum covers courses on selected subjects in:
- History of Science or the Humanities
- Philosophy of Science or the Humanities
- Foundations of Physics
- Science and Public Engagement
If you are interested, you may consider doing the minor History and Philosophy of Science which provides an excellent preparation for the Master's programme. It is also possible to do individual bachelor courses.
Why in Utrecht
In 2022, two HPS students won prestigious thesis prizes: Chiara Lacroix was awarded the UU thesis prize and the Stichting Historia Medicinae Thesis Prize for her thesis on the history of the concepts of ‘human’ and ‘man’ in English and French medical texts from the 18th and 19th century, supervised by Hieke Huistra. Martijn van der Meer received the international Roy Porter Prize of the Society for the Social History of Medicine for his thesis on Dutch eugenicists and their call for optimising development conditions, 1919-1939, supervised by Frank Huisman.
This programme is the only fully English-taught Master’s programme on the European continent in the field of History and Philosophy of Science (HPS).
Enjoy a flexible programme with only three ccompulsory courses, allowing you to choose the remainder based on your specialisation or interests.
The HPS programme is supported by Utrecht University’s Descartes Centre and the Freudenthal Institute for science and mathematics education, which are top centres for teaching and research in the history and philosophy of science in Europe and beyond.
HPS students are a tightly knit group, sharing both their studies and social life in the vibrant college community of Utrecht. Teaching and student coaching is offered in an individualised setting, and our staff is actively involved in student work.
- In the National Student Survey, History and Philosophy of Science at Utrecht University was assessed by 26 respondents. On average, they rate the program with a 4.8 on a scale of 1 to 5. (source: NSE 2022).
- History and Philosophy of Science (MSc)
- Language of instruction:
- Mode of study:
- Study duration:
- 2 years
- Tuition fees:
- Dutch and other EU/EEA students (statutory fee, full-time) 2024-2025: € 2,530
Non-EU/EEA students (institutional fee) 2024-2025: € 23,765
More information about fees
- Croho code:
- Accredited by the NVAO
- Graduate school:
- Natural Sciences