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What does the HPS master's degree course offer?

Students on the course learn to think in terms of historical categories and contexts of development and to apply them in a research context. They also learn to analyse philosophical arguments, to critically examine philosophical solutions to problems, and to present arguments in order to justify them. They obtain a deep knowledge of the general history and philosophy of science together with their foundations, methods and historiography. Selected topics and problems from these areas are studied in depth. For both research areas, technical knowledge of specific scientific research topics is indispensible and will be guided by individual research interests.

Why study HPS at the University of Vienna?

The University of Vienna offers an institutional connection between the history of science and the philosophy of science that is unique on an international scale. Vienna also looks back on a rich tradition in the area of HPS: Ernst Mach (1838-1916), a pioneer of HPS, and the famous Vienna Circle centred around the philosopher of science Moritz Schlick (1882-1936) were among those who worked here. This tradition is now being revived by several chairs and research focus areas at the University of Vienna:

·       At the Department of Philosophy and the De-partment of Contemporary History: a joint professorship of History and Philosophy of Sci-ence; a chair of Applied Theory of Science and Epistemology.

·       At the Department of History: a professorship of Modern History with a focus on the History of Science; study group for the history of science.

·      An HPS MA is the perfect basis for the newly instituted doctoral programme “The Sciences in Historical, Philosophical and Cultural Con-texts”:  http://dkplus-sciences-contexts.univie.ac.at/

·       The Institute Vienna Circle of the University of Vienna.

·       Multiple intitutional and informal links with departments in the social, cultural and natural sciences.

Is HPS the right course for me?

The HPS master’s degree course is mainly designed for students graduating with a BA in phi-losophy and/or history who have an interest in the phenomenon “science” which they want to develop in more depth. Furthermore the HPS master’s programme offers graduates from other disciplines in the natural, cultural, and social sciences a unique opportunity to view the scientific landscape from a wider perspective, and within this context add to the historical and epistemological dimensions of their discipline:

·       How does science come about? How do scientific theories change over the course of the history of science? Is there such a thing as “the” science? How should the relationship between the generation and the foundation of scientific knowledge be understood?

·       How should we interpret scientific knowledge? In what sense can we say that electrons, genes and numbers exist? What are experiments? How do experiments and everyday experiences relate to each other? What can thought experiments show? What does each of the different scientific methods offer?

·       How do science, society and politics interact? What social conditions enable scientific research? Can science as a social phenomenon produce objective knowledge? Do scientists proceed rationally?

HPS offers a unique environment for all those students who want to dedicate themselves to these exciting questions from a methodological, epistemological and historical perspective.

Structure of the HPS master's degree course 

As they come from different disciplines, students bring well-founded knowledge of specific areas to their master’s course.  In view of this, the introductory stage provides a compensatory module complementing that background (Module 1). 
At the same time, the introductory colloquium will help form the basis for discussion and cooperation among the students (Module 2). This is followed by a solid training in history of science and philosophy of science (Modules 3 and 4). Specific proficiency in one of the sciences can be gained individually with regard to the student’s own research (Module 5). A research class will accompany the students’ work on their theses (Module 6).




M1 Compensation*

M1.1 Philosophy

M1.2 History

M1.3 Science

* Students will select two of these three modules (depending on their background).


M2 Methods and issues


M3 History of Science 


M4 Philosophy of Science


M5 Research module


M6 Master's modul


Master's thesis


Master's exam






Admission Office

University of Vienna

Dr.-Karl-Lueger-Ring 1,  1010 Vienna


Studies Programme Director (SPL) Philosophy:

Univ.-Doz. Mag. Dr. Klaus Puhl

in cooperation with Studies Programme Director (SPL) History:

O. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schmale

At a Glance:

Name of the interdisziplinary degree course:

Wissenschaftsphilosophie und Wissenschaftsgeschichte/History and Philosophy of Science – HPS
Code: A 066944

Dauer: 4 semesters (120 ECTS)

This is not a distance learning course

Zulassung: Bachelor or equivalent degree (preferably Philosophy or History). Admission of graduates from other courses by discretion of the relevant university office.

Abschluss: Master of Arts (MA)

Start: 1st October 2010 (and every subsequent winter semester)

Info: http://hps.univie.ac.at

Legal notice: Responsible for content:
Dept of Philosphy and Dept of Contemporary History. Friedrich Stadler und Daniel Kuby

Vienna, 1 May 2011






English folder with information about HPS Master


Das HPS-Curriculum im Volltext


Univ.-Prof. Dr. Friedrich Stadler
University of Vienna
Department of Philosophy,
Institute Vienna Circle
Department of Contemporary History
Spitalgasse 2, Court 1.13
A-1090 Wien
T: +43-1-4277-412 29
F: +43-1-4277-9412
University of Vienna | Universitätsring 1 | 1010 Vienna | T +43-1-4277-0