Ph.D. in HSTS

The History and Sociology of Technology and Science doctoral degree program trains exceptionally qualified students for a variety of professional careers.

Led by a multi-disciplinary faculty, it encourages students to develop exceptional scholarship on important issues regarding the place of science and technology in modern human affairs. The program offers a genuinely integrative education, melding specialized study pertaining to science and technology with traditional disciplinary training. Students choose to concentrate in one of two disciplinary two: technology, science, and modern history, or sociology of science and technology. Students achieve the PhD through successful completion of comprehensive examinations and a dissertation, as well as other requirements. Upon receiving the degree, they pursue diverse career pathways. Many graduates have made careers as college faculty in history, sociology, or an area of science and technology studies. Others exploit their unique cross-disciplinary knowledge and analytical abilities outside the academy in think tanks, public agencies, and private business.

CURRENT Ph.D. STUDENTS

RECENT Ph.D.s AWARDED

Program Requirements

Doctoral students must complete the required courses for the master's degree. Beyond these, there are no specifically required courses. Students concentrate upon completing two additional tasks: their comprehensive exams and successful defense of a dissertation making an original contribution to scholarship and research.

Advising

Ms. LaDonna Bowen (Old Civil Engineering Building, Room 108D, ladonna.bowen [at] hsoc.gatech.edu

, 404.894.3198) advises all graduate students in the HSTS MS and PhD programs.  To request a permit or a directed reading/independent study, go to the online request page.  Important forms and information for the HSTS graduate programs can be accessed online.

Graduate students in the School of History and Sociology (HSOC) are encouraged to meet with their academic advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies to plan schedules, verify degree requirements, and develop an overall plan of study.  Advisors can also offer guidance about a variety of research and teaching opportunities.

The Comprehensive Exams

Students pursuing the PhD will typically enroll for a third year of graduate courses (directed readings and, when appropriate, core electives) to help them prepare for a set of comprehensive examinations covering three fields.

For students concentrating in technology, science, and modern history, fields must be distributed in these areas:

  1. history of technology and/or science
  2. modern history (Asia, Europe, or the United States)

Those concentrating in the sociology of science and technology must complete exam fields in:

  1. sociology of science and/or technology
  2. social theory and social structure

We encourage students to structure the third field within one of our areas of thematic emphasis:

• education & the workplace              • gender, race, & ethnicity
• industry & economy                         • landscape & environment
• medicine &health                             • politics, culture, & social change

At most, one of the three fields may be taken under the supervision of faculty residing outside HTS.

The Dissertation

The key requirements for the PhD degree are the writing of an original doctoral dissertation and the successful defense of its conclusions in an oral examination. With the assistance of their primary faculty supervisors, students first prepare a prospectus, which must be read and approved by three other members of the faculty. The prospectus also provides a basis for grant and fellowship applications. The final dissertation is read by the supervisor and four others, including at least one person from another unit at Georgia Tech or from another university.

The tabs below include more information about the HSTS Ph.D. program.

Admissions

Graduate Application Instructions

Applications for graduate admission to the School of History and Sociology (HSOC) are submitted online. To apply, please go to the Office of Graduate Admissions website

Applicants are asked to provide:

  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores
  • College Transcripts
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores (international applicants only)
  • A biographical statement
  • Writing Sample

For application to the graduate programs in HSOC, your statement should be an intellectual biography and should include your reasons for applying to the MS or PhD program (specify), your interest in the history and/or sociology of technology and science, and your plans subsequent to receiving the degree.

Deadlines

The general application deadline is March 1. Students seeking financial assistance should submit their materials no later than February 1. Students are admitted for the fall semester.

Choosing a Program

Students who clearly intend to pursue the PhD should apply for the PhD program, regardless of whether or not they already have a master’s degree. All students in the PhD program acquire a master’s degree along the way. This typically involves a three-semester course of studies, though highly motivated students or those with advanced standing may complete the degree in a calendar year.

Students who are interested in the master’s and those who are uncertain if they would like to continue on to the PhD should apply to the master’s program.

Financial Support

Financial aid for graduate students takes many forms. Most full-time PhD students are supported by teaching assistantships, research assistantships, or by research grants and fellowships. More information about these opportunities can be found on the Assistantships, Fellowships, and Grants tab above.

Students may also receive financial aid in the form of loans and grants. These are administered through Georgia Tech’s Graduate Financial Aid Office.

Part-Time Study

Though most students enroll full-time, it is possible to pursue the degrees on a part-time basis. Students wishing to attend part-time should be aware that required courses are usually taught just once a year. HSOC graduate courses typically meet one day per week for three hours in the late afternoon. Part-time students are not eligible for financial aid.

Additional Information and Contacts

For additional information about the programs, feel free to contact the Director of Graduate Studies, Professor Bill Winders, at bill.winders [at] gatech.edu. Applicants may also wish to make direct contact with faculty in whom they have a particular interest, and can do so using our list of faculty profiles.  Keep in mind that faculty have multiple responsibilities and may take some time to reply.

We encourage prospective students to visit the School of History and Sociology and Georgia Tech and to meet in person with Professor Winders, other relevant faculty, and current graduate students. To arrange a visit, please contact Dr. Winders or the HSOC graduate program advisor, ladonna.bowen [at] hsoc.gatech.edu. HSOC offices and classrooms are located in Tech’s Old Civil Engineering Building (221 Bobby Dodd Way).

The status of your application may be checked on the Office of Graduate Admissions website.

Assistantships

In addition to offering income, assistantships, fellowships, and grants provide students with valuable experience and training for careers in academia and elsewhere.

HSOC Support

Most students are supported either by teaching assistantships or by research assistantships. Both forms of support carry tuition remission as well as a stipend of at least $7,000 per term, and require that students devote approximately 13 hours a week to assistantship tasks. In some cases students work an additional 7 hours per week and receive an additional stipend or 3 hours of course credit.

Research assistantships with faculty have been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Sloan Foundation, the Sloan Center for Paper Business and Industry Studies, Georgia Public Television, the Humboldt Foundation, and the Georgia Humanities Council.

The School of History and Sociology also offers fellowship support for student travel and research.

Georgia Tech Fellowships

The President's Fellowship: A few highly qualified entering students receive this fellowship in addition to their assistantship. This distinguished fellowship, guaranteed for four years so long as the recipient maintains satisfactory progress, provides a salary supplement that raises the annual stipend to at least $15,500, plus tuition remission.

The Smith Teaching Fellowships: These endowed fellowships provide further training for advanced students who have completed their qualifying exams. Students holding the fellowships take primary responsibility for an introductory lecture class. HSOC faculty provide mentoring and training for graduate students in these assignments.

Outside Grants and Fellowships for Students

Our doctoral students have an outstanding record of receiving grants and fellowships from research centers and agencies such as the National Science Foundation, the IEEE, the Chemical Heritage Foundation, the Hagley Museum and Library, AAAS/RAND, and the Sloan Foundation. The graduate director and your dissertation advisor can provide valuable advice about possible research funding.

Scholarly Community

The School of History and Sociology (HSOC) graduate students are immersed in a culture of scholarly inquiry and research.

Through courses, seminars, and individual meetings, they interact closely with faculty and colleagues who have earned international reputations for their outstanding scholarship. Numerous special initiatives and programs help HSOC sustain and reinvigorate this vibrant, creative atmosphere.

To prepare themselves for professional life, students are encouraged to make use of resources in Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning to improve their writing and communication skills as well as their marketability.

To read more about the activities of the HSOC graduate students, including theses topics, publications, and conference presentations, visit the graduate research section of the website.

Society for the History of Technology (SHOT) and Technology and Culture (T&C) at Tech

The School of History and Sociology has a long history of engagement with the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT), the leading professional society in history of technology, and its journal, Technology and Culture (T&C). Former HSOC professor Melvin Kranzberg was a founding member of T&C and served as a SHOT president, as did former professor Bruce Sinclair. Current professor Steve Usselman continued the tradition with a two-year stint as president beginning in January 2007. The School’s close ties of SHOT and T&C enrich graduate students’ exposure to leading scholars and research.

Center for Women, Science, and Technology (WST)

An interdisciplinary center based in Ivan Allen College, the Center for Women, Science, and Technology (WST) conducts a variety of research and educational programs on campus. Graduate students in the School frequently assist in conducting research and organizing programs, such as speakers series, conferences, and workshops.

Teaching & Education

In addition to regular teaching assistantships and the Smith Fellowship, HSOC and Georgia Tech offer many opportunities for graduate students to expand their teaching skills and experience.

Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL)

Georgia Tech's Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL)conducts a variety of programs intended to help graduate students develop their teaching skills. Activities range from seminars covering the basics of running discussion sections to videotaping and coaching of individual instructors. CETL regularly offers training for graduate teaching assistants in the use of the latest instructional technologies. The Center’s fellows program also gives a select group of graduate students a chance to pursue their own novel initiatives in education.

Georgia Stories

Georgia Stories is an ongoing collaborative venture between HSOC, Georgia Public Television (GPTV), and Georgia Tech’s Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC) and gives students an opportunity to develop Web-based historical archives and teaching materials aimed at secondary schools and colleges. Now over a decade old, Georgia Stories stands as a model both of educational outreach and of Web-based education in history and the social sciences. During the project, HSOC students locate appropriate archival materials for the site and work with professional educators to develop study questions and other teaching tools that utilize the available documents.

Center Internships

Several academic centers affiliated with HSOC, such as the Center for Women, Science, and Technology (WST), regularly employ HSOC graduate students to assist in their educational programs. Through such internships, students gain experience in a variety of instructional endeavors, such as organizing academic conferences and seminar series, running student workshops, and conducting outreach activities aimed at the broader public.

Teaching Opportunities at Local Institutions

Several colleges and universities in the Atlanta metropolitan area regularly employ advanced graduate students in part-time teaching positions. In recent semesters, HTS students have taught introductory courses at Kennesaw State University, Georgia Perimeter College, Rinehardt College, and the University of Georgia.