Science Studies Program

Science Studies website:

Science Studies Program Director: Cathy Gere

Sociology-Science Studies Faculty Advisor: Daniel Navon

The Science Studies Program (SSP) at UC San Diego was established in 1989. At present, the program has 21 core faculty members and 47 graduate students from the program's home departments of communication, history, philosophy, and sociology. Students and faculty in the program seek a deeper understanding of scientific knowledge and engineering technique, by means of studies theoretically structured and empirically based of the practice of science and engineering, past and present. The program offers students an opportunity to incorporate perspectives developed within the communication, history, sociology, and philosophy of science and technology while receiving a thorough training at the professional level in one of the home 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)

  • Soc/G 255A (Introduction to Science Studies);
  • Soc/G 255D (Advanced Approaches to Science Studies);
  • Soc/G 255B (Core Seminar in Science Studies -- special topic each year);
  • Soc/G 255C (Colloquium in Science Studies -- Soc/G 255C Science Studies Colloquium (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 a “S/U” grade option only.
  • Soc/G 200 (Intro/Foundational Methods).
  • Two quarters of sociological theory:
    • Soc/G 201 (Classical Sociological Theory),
    • Soc/G 202 (Contemporary Sociological Theory).
  • One quarter of quantitative methods (Soc/G 205 and Soc/G 206), Students may take either 205 or 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 Soc 203 (Field Methods), 204 (Text and Discourse Analysis), 207 (Comparative Historical Methods), and 227 (Ethnographic Film: Media Methods), 211 (Introduction to Computational Social Science), Soc/G206 Quantitative Methods II (if not taken to satisfy item 8 above), Research Practicum Soc/G252 and Soc/G 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: Soc/G 234 Intellectual Foundations of the Study of Science, Technology, and Medicine, Soc/G 238 Survey of the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge, Soc/G 234 Contemporary Biomedicine, Soc/G 288 Knowledge Capitalism), Soc/G 247 Madness and Society, Soc/G 232 Advanced Approaches in the Sociology of Knowledge.
  • One course in Communication, History, or Philosophy of science, technology, or medicine. Alternatively, students may take Soc255B 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 Soc/G 208 (Faculty Research Seminar), and the Science Studies Program requires students to complete an internship requirement and to make a presentation in the colloquium series.

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 2 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.