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Science Studies Program

Science Studies website:

Science Studies Program Director: Kelly Gates

Science Studies Program Staff: Jennifer Dieli

Sociology-Science Studies Faculty Advisor: Daniel Navon

The Science Studies Program at UC San Diego was established in 1989. At present, the Program involves sixteen core faculty members and thirty-six graduate students from the Program's "home" departments of communication, history, philosophy, and sociology. Students and faculty in the Program are committed to working toward deeper understanding of scientific knowledge in its full cultural and historical context. The Program offers students an opportunity to integrate the perspectives developed within the communication of science, history of science, sociology of science, and philosophy of science, while receiving a thorough training at the professional level in one of those disciplines.


Science Studies faculty in Sociology are particularly interested in the sociology of scientific knowledge, sociology of medicine, sociology of the social sciences, sociology of mental health, and politics and social policy in science, technology, and medicine (STM).

Science Studies program faculty from the sociology department:

Sociology/Science Studies Graduate Course Requirements

(Effective September 2016)

  • SOCG 255A (Introduction to Science Studies)
  • SOCG 255D (Advanced Approaches to Science Studies)
  • SOCG 255B (Core Seminar in Science Studies -- special topic each year)
  • SOCG 255C (Colloquium in Science Studies). Two years of attendance is required: students must attend the colloquium series for their entire first and second years. They receive course credit in one quarter each year. This course should be taken for an “S/U” grade option only.
  • SOCG 200 (Intro/Foundational Methods).
  • Two quarters of sociological theory:
    • SOCG 201 (Classical Sociological Theory),
    • SOCG 202 (Contemporary Sociological Theory).
  • One quarter of quantitative methods (SOCG 205 and SOCG 206), Students may take either SOCG 205 or SOCG 206 depending on their existing proficiency demonstrated to the faculty teaching the quantitative sequence that year. Students who demonstrate a background in quantitative methods may alternatively petition to opt out of this requirement and would in that case take an additional Sociology elective.
  • Three additional quarters of methods. These may be chosen from:
    • SOCG 203 (Field Methods)
    • SOCG 204 (Text and Discourse Analysis)
    • SOCG 207 (Comparative Historical Methods)
    • SOCG 227 (Ethnographic Film: Media Methods)
    • SOCG 211 (Introduction to Computational Social Science)
    • SOCG 206 Quantitative Methods II (if not taken to satisfy item 8 above)
    • Research Practicum SOCG 252 and SOCG 253 (this is a two quarter sequence). The second quarter of the two-quarter research seminar in history of science also counts toward this requirement.
  • One seminar in the “sociology of science” --here construed to include the sociology of medicine, technology, and knowledge. For example:
    • SOCG 232 Advanced Approaches in the Sociology of Knowledge
    • SOCG 234 Intellectual Foundations of the Study of Science, Technology, and Medicine
    • SOCG 238 Survey of the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge
    • SOCG 247 Madness and Society
    • SOCG 284 Contemporary Biomedicine
    • SOCG 288 Knowledge Capitalism
  • One course in Communication, History, or Philosophy of science, technology, or medicine. Alternatively, students may take SOCG 255B for a second time
  • Two elective courses in sociology, one of which may be a course in sociology of science, technology, medicine.

In addition, the Sociology Department requires that all of its students take SOCG 208 A/B (Graduate Student Seminar), and the Science Studies Program requires students to complete an internship requirement and to make a presentation in the colloquium series.

Total: 16 courses and 2 proseminars (66 units).

Field exams, papers, and prospectus guidelines

SSP students will defend two field exams, to be completed by end of Winter quarter of Year 3.

Like all other Sociology students, Science Studies students in Sociology will defend two field exams in Year 3. The subject of each exam must match an ASA section name. Science Knowledge and Technology will almost certainly be one of the exams that all SSP students select. Then, they will choose a second exam in, for example, Economic Sociology, Political Sociology, Medical Sociology, Theory, etc. The reading lists for the two exams should be unique and separate. The two members of each committee must not overlap—please see the general Sociology Field Exam Guidelines for more information on format/timing/organization.

SSP students must hand in two papers by the end of Spring quarter Year 3, one of which must be endorsed as “publishable.”

SSP students have two options for completing the paper requirement. They can either write:

  • A publishable paper in the sociology of science + a secondary interdisciplinary paper completed with input from a non-sociology SSP faculty member. The second paper may simply be a research paper completed as part of a class taught by SSP faculty in another department. 


  • A publishable interdisciplinary science studies paper + a secondary sociology paper. The sociology paper may simply be a research paper completed as part of a class taught by a sociology faculty member. 

SSP students, like all Sociology students, must defend their prospectus by the end of Spring quarter Year 4 and be prepared to submit their “publishable paper” from the previous year.

Again, please see the general Sociology guidelines for more information on preparing the prospectus and holding the defense.