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Indiana University Bloomington

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the deadlines for applying for graduate admission?
  2. Do you consider mid-year applications?
  3. How do I submit my application?
  4. Are there any special requirements for international students?
  5. What kind of academic background is needed to study HPSC at the graduate level?
  6. What kinds of GRE scores do students who are admitted to HPSC typically have?
  7. What are the department's GRE codes?
  8. What kind of undergraduate grade point averages are required for admission?
  9. What are you looking for in my application's writing sample and cover letter?
  10. What funding is available for PhD students?
  11. For students with five-year funding packages, what constitutes “satisfactory progress” towards the PhD?
  12. Are benefits and fee remission included with fellowships and assistantships?
  13. Is there funding for Masters students?
  14. What are the tuition and registration costs at IU?
  15. For current students, what kind of travel funding is available?
  16. For PhD students, what is the significance of choosing a "Field of Study"?
  17. How is foreign language proficiency determined?
  18. For MA and PhD students, what is required for the tool skill in logic?
  19. Can anything besides logic be used to satisfy the tool skill requirement?
  20. Which are the core courses in HPS?
  21. When do PhD students form their doctoral advisory committee?
  22. What is required for a graduate minor in HPS?
  23. Is it possible to do a PhD in HPSC on a part time basis?
  24. Can I take HPSC courses as a non-degree seeking student?
  25. Can graduate students get credit for attending colloquia?
  26. What is the expected length of the 3rd year qualifying paper, and how are the faculty readers selected?
  27. Can I get transfer credit for graduate work from another university?
  28. What does every grad student need to know?
  1. What are the deadlines for applying for graduate admission?
    Applications from non-U.S. residents must be submitted by December 1. U.S. applicants have until January 15.

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  2. Do you consider mid-year applications?
    All applications must be submitted according to the established deadlines. In special circumstances it may be possible to defer admission if you are accepted, but normally admission is granted only for entrance at the beginning of the Fall semester.

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  3. How do I submit my application?
    Applications should be submitted online. Please check here for more details about applying. A complete application requires original copies of your college transcripts, three letters of reference, GRE scores, your statement of purpose and a writing sample. If you are applying to another department or program at Indiana University you will need to pay two application fees. If the other department that you are applying to is within the College of Arts & Sciences you will get a refund on your 2nd application fee. If it is not within the College of Arts & Sciences you will not receive a refund.

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  4. Are there any special requirements for international students?
    Non-U.S. students should visit the International Admissions website for specific information about international applications. International students whose native language is not English are required to submit evidence of English proficiency to the department by January 15 at the latest. We recognize TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) scores. Other means of demonstrating English proficiency may be acceptable but must be arranged with the Director of Graduate Studies well in advance of the deadline. International students must send all supporting documentation to International Admissions by December 1. Their address is

    International Admissions
    300 N. Jordan
    Indiana University
    Bloomington, IN 47405
    USA.

    A complete application requires original copies of your college transcripts, three letters of reference, GRE & TOEFL scores, statement of purpose and a writing sample.

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  5. What kind of academic background is needed to study HPSC at the graduate level?
    Applicants to this department have a wide variety of academic backgrounds. A major in the field is neither required nor expected. We welcome inquiries and applications from all people with at least a Bachelor's degree (or its equivalent) who are interested in pursuing graduate studies in history and philosophy of science. In judging applications for admission and financial aid, we are primarily concerned with general intellectual ability together with interest and commitment to history and philosophy of science as a field of study. Admission to the Department's programs (M.A. and Ph.D.) is based in part on the applicant's past academic achievements. Equally important from our point of view is an applicant's ability to master the basic principles of the discipline and his or her sincere interest in entering into the fellowship of scholarly endeavor.

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  6. What kinds of GRE scores do students who are admitted to HPSC typically have?
    Although GREs are one factor that is taken into account when determining admissions, it is not the only factor, or even the most important factor. While we can't reveal particular scores, students with combined verbal and quantitative scores of 1350 and above have generally been competitive.

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  7. What are the department's GRE codes?
    When registering to take the GRE you should use 1324 as the Institution code and 2703 as the Department code.

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  8. What kind of undergraduate grade point averages are required for admission?
    A B (3.0) average in the undergraduate major is required for admission to the University Graduate School and the College of Arts and Science a minimum requirement of 3.0 in undergraduate studies, and 3.2 in previous graduate studies. At the departmental level it is hard to give meaningful information about averages because many students finish their undergraduate studies much more strongly than they start. Thus we tend to look closely at performance in upper level courses that are relevant to HPS. (The interpretation of these requirements for foreign students is handled by the University Graduate School, which determines equivalency of foreign degrees to U.S. degrees. This is one reason why earlier application is necessary.)

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  9. What are you looking for in my application's writing sample and cover letter?
    The purpose of the writing sample is to convince us of your general intellectual ability together with interest and commitment to history and philosophy of science as a field of study, and your ability to master the basic principles of the discipline. This can be accomplished in many ways so there are no general requirements as to form, topic, or discipline. Because we are a small department admitting only a few students each year, we tend to look favorably on applicants who have done their homework about IU and can show or explain why IU is the right program for their particular interests.

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  10. What funding is available for PhD students?

    The Department typically provides four or five years of funding to a select group of incoming, full-time PhD students. This funding usually begins with a year of fellowship and three or four years of teaching assistantships, although the formula may sometimes vary. Fifth year fees are generally low because students have finished all course work and are enrolled for dissertation research hours only. Departmental awards are based entirely on academic criteria and U.S. and international students are considered equally. Generally we can fund about three students per year. Some special university awards may increase the funding period to five or even six years, and students should check these pages for special fellowship opportunities: Students applying for admission should alert the Director of Graduate Studies to any special fellowships that they believe themselve to be eligible for.

    The GradGrants Center can help current students find external funding. Current students should pay special attention to these external sources:
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  11. For students with five-year funding packages, what constitutes “satisfactory progress” towards the PhD?
    Your progress will be considered satisfactory if you have completed all the requirements for admission to candidacy by the end of March of your fourth year. In addition, you should have maintained a cumulative graduate GPA of at Ieast 3.2 throughout your graduate career. Students pursuing a dual-degree PhD are allowed some flexibility in the timing of the completion of degree requirements. Each spring, the whole faculty will meet to review the progress of fourth-year students and to make a decision about the continuation of funding for these students.

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  12. Are benefits and fee remission included with fellowships and assistantships?
    With support from the College of Arts and Sciences and the University Graduate School, students holding fellowships and assistantships receive fee remissions up to 24 credit hours of degree-related courses per year. Standard graduate student health benefits are provided according to standing university policies. Current and prospective students are referred to the financial aid pages of the University Graduate School, and the website of the Graduate and Professional Student Organization for the latest information. Special information for international students on costs, fees, and health benefits is available at the International Admissions website.

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  13. Is there funding for Masters students?
    Unfortunately, the department cannot guarantee fellowships or assistantships for students seeking masters degrees in HPS. Funding is also not guaranteed for students who enter as masters students and are subsequently approved for entry into the PhD program, although such students have generally had some support on an ad hoc basis from teaching and research assistantships that become available at short notice.

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  14. What are the tuition and registration costs at IU? The most up to date information is available from the IU Bursar website. Funded students are responsible for paying mandatory fees. Unfunded students must also pay the per credit hour tuition costs, at either the Indiana resident or non-resident rate, as appropriate.

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  15. For current students, what kind of travel funding is available?
    Some departmental fellowships offered to PhD students include a modest travel budget. However, most students are dependent on submitting competitive grant proposals for conference and research travel. The HPSC department itself has the Richard S. Westfall Fellowship for Graduate Student Research Travel. Conference travel support is available from the College, the Office of the Vice President for International Affairs, and from the GPSO. The University Graduate School also offers grants in aid of research which can be used to cover research-related travel expenses.

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  16. For PhD students, what is the significance of choosing a "Field of Study"?
    The choice of field of study creates a presumption about the most appropriate way to satisfy the department's foreign language / research skill requirement. Students whose field of study is history of science will normally be expected to demonstrate proficiency in two languages while students whose field of study is philosophy of science will normally be expected to demonstrate proficiency in one language and one other research skill, such as logic or probability theory, although they have the option of pursuing two languages. Students whose field of study is equally in the history and philosophy of science may satisfy the requirement in either way. In all cases, the exact means of fulfilling the requirement must be decided in consultation with the student's advisory committee.

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  17. How is foreign language proficiency determined?
    Most students demonstrate proficiency through passing the courses that the various language departments at IU put on for just that purpose. If you already have a high degree of competence in an appropriate language it is possible to test out of those courses. However, the exact requirements are set by the relevant department, not by us, so the details depend on the language(s) being considered. Here's some information about requirements for specific languages:
    French See the list of requirements at the French & Italian department.
    German Germanic Studies offers courses G491 and G492 for this purpose.
    Latin CLAS-L 300: Intensive Introduction to Classical/Medieval Latin, and CLAS-L 400: Intensive Study of Literary Latin.
    You should always check with the certifying department to make sure that requirements have not changed. Note that while these courses do count towards full-time student status, they do not count towards the 90 (60) credit hours required for the Ph.D.

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  18. For MA and PhD students, what is required for the tool skill in logic?
    The exact requirements for the logic tool skill are specified in the graduate bulletin. The requirement may be satisfied in either of two ways: (a) certification by a committee selected by the department of two HPS faculty, using any combination of special examination, previously taken courses, or additional courses to be taken at IU; (b) certification by the philosophy department, whose requirements presently consist of P505 (Logical Theory I) plus one course from the following list: P506 (Logical Theory II), P551 (Philosophy and Foundations of Mathematics), P350 (Logic of Sets), P352 (Logic and Philosophy), P550 (Systems of Modal Logic), P751 (Advanced Seminar in Logic).

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  19. Can anything besides logic be used to satisfy the tool skill requirement?
    Other approved tool skills include Computation, Probability Theory and Statistics. Another formal topic demonstrably crucial to a student's dissertation research may be accepted upon approval of a petition submitted by the student to the department. Satisfaction of the requirement may be accomplished either by external certification in the relevant department at IU, or, if the relevant expertise exists within the HPS department, by certification by a committee of two HPS faculty.

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  20. Which are the core courses in HPS?
    The core courses are divided into History sequence (H1, H2), Philosophy sequence (P1, P2, P3) and HPS. Because they are referred to differently between the department's guide to graduate studies and the university's graduate bulletin, the following table is provided for conversion:
    Description in Guide Name in Bulletin
    H1: History of Science I (antiquity to circa 1750) = X506: Survey of History of Science up to 1750
    H2: History of Science II (circa 1750 to the present) = X507: Survey of History of Science since 1750
    P1: Philosophy of Science I (antiquity and the middle ages) = X556: History and Philosophy of Science in Antiquity
    P2: Philosophy of Science II (the modern period through late positivism) = X552: Modern Philosophy of Science
    P3: Contemporary Issues in Philosophy of Science = X551: Survey of the Philosophy of Science
    HPS: Contemporary Issues in History and Philosophy of Science. = X706: Special Topics in the History and Philosophy of Science


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  21. When do PhD students form their doctoral advisory committee?
    Every Ph.D. student needs to have a faculty advisory committee in place and formally approved no later than the end of their first year. Please do not confuse the Doctoral Advisory Committee (for beginning students) with the Ph.D. Research Committee that is submitted when the student advances to candidacy. The College has an online form to facilitate the approval process. The form asks the student to enter the names and usernames of committee members (at least two graduate faculty members in the major and one representing the minor), and then contacts those faculty members to confirm their willingness to serve on that student's committee. Once all members are confirmed, the College Graduate Office reviews the submitted application and formally approves the student's advisory committee. The form is located at: http://college.indiana.edu/graduate/office/record.shtml. If you need help to identify or assign committee members, contact the DGS.

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  22. What is required for a graduate minor in HPS?
    Graduate students from other departments desiring a minor in history and philosophy of science must complete 12 graduate credit hours of course work in the department with a B+ or higher. The set of courses should represent a coordinated objective and must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies. Usually such a program of courses will include at least two of the department's core courses, but the others may be freely chosen from the graduate offerings.

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  23. Is it possible to do a PhD in HPSC on a part time basis?
    It has not been attempted and we do not recommend it. Fellowships and teaching assistantships can only be given to full-time students. Also, University policy is that course and research credit hours expire after 7 years, therefore it is necessary to plan the degree so that credits taken at the beginning are still current at the end. Although it is possible to petition for reinstatement of expired credits, part time study would make it difficult to complete the degree in a timely fashion.
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  24. Can I take HPSC courses as a non-degree seeking student?
    As long as you meet the eligibility requirements of the University Graduate School for continuing non-degree student status then you are eligible to sign up for HPSC courses.

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  25. Can graduate students get credit for attending colloquia?
    Unlike some other departments, we don't try to pad colloquium audiences by requiring attendance. But it is hoped and expected that graduate students will take advantage of the educational and professional opportunities afforded by the colloquium series. In a relatively small department such as ours, a lively colloquium series is one of the principal means for getting a broad perspective on the discipline of History and Philosophy of Science. The department also funds two graduate students for dinner with visiting speakers, and personal connections made during such visits can pay off in various ways.

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  26. What is the expected length of the 3rd year qualifying paper, and how are the faculty readers selected?
    There is no set length for qualifying papers, but something in the range of 30-35 pages is probably the norm. The paper should be a substantive piece of work that demonstrates you have the skills needed for dissertation research. In most circumstances one reader will be your advisor, and you will select two other readers in consultation with your advisor. You should have at least one history reader and one philosophy reader. In addition to the committee approval, the paper should be discussed in a public meeting of the department with commentary by another graduate student chosen in consultation with your advisor or the DGS. This public presentation will normally (but not necessarily) take place before the committee approval is sought. Once all signatures have been obtained and the appropriate form is submitted to the DGS, the paper is submitted to the full faculty at the next departmental meeting. See section 9.7 of the Guide to Graduate Studies for full details.

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  27. Can I get transfer credit for graduate work from another university?
    Yes, but with limitations, including the following:

    Credit hours cannot be transferred if they were already applied toward a degree at the same level. In other words, courses already used for a Master's degree at another institution cannot be counted towards an IU Master's degree, but they may be counted towards a PhD at IU (though not if previously counted towards a PhD from the other institution).

    No course may be transferred from another institution unless the grade is B or higher.

    Each transfer request will be assessed on its own merits, but HPS Students are generally discouraged from requesting exemptions from the core courses. Normally the Department will accept no more than four graduate seminars' worth (12–16 credit hours) of transfer credit. If you wish to transfer credit from another university, you must submit a memo to the Director of Graduate Studies petitioning for the credit to be accepted as part of your degree plan, and supplying the following information:
    1. A list of courses you wish to transfer, and any available documentation of the content of each course, such as a syllabus, exams, and papers.
    2. For any courses that are not in HPS, Philosophy of Science, or History Science, you should obtain a memo from your advisor approving the use of these courses in your degree plan.

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  28. What does every grad student need to know?
    Cynthia Verba of the Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences has tried to answer this question in 185 pages of her Scholarly Pursuits: A Guide to Professional Development During the Graduate Years. Some of the information is specific to Harvard, but much of it applies to graduate students anywhere.

    A different, more succinct spin on what you need to know about graduate school is provided by IU HPSC alumna Alice Dreger (PhD 1995) in her graduate school survival guide.

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Is your question not answered here? Please send email to hpscdeptatindiana.edu