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  • 62nd in the world

    We're ranked 62nd globally for natural sciences by the 2021 QS University Rankings by Subject.

  • 1st for employability

    Our graduates are ranked 1st in Australia and 4th globally for employability by the 2020 QS Graduate Employability Rankings.


In response to COVID-19, the University of Sydney has reviewed the availability of courses to be delivered remotely for students commencing their studies in Semester 1, 2021.

This course will be available to study remotely for students commencing in Semester 1, 2021. Please note that some units of study that are not essential to completing the degree may not be available to be studied remotely.

Note: The University intends to offer as many units of study as possible in a remote as well as face-to-face learning method of delivery in Semester 1, 2021 and subject to ongoing border closures and public health orders impacting attendance on campus, in Semester 2, 2021. However, some units of study and courses require students to study in-person at the relevant University of Sydney campus/es and host locations for placements and will not be available remotely. 

About this course

What is science? Why do we trust it to give us the truth about reality? How does it shape our society? Through socio-historical and philosophical techniques, the Graduate Certificate in Science (History and Philosophy of Science) will enable you to critically examine the fields of science, technology and medicine and deepen your understanding of their social, political, cultural, and conceptual ramifications.

Sitting at the intersection of arts and science, the Graduate Certificate in Science (HPS) is a fascinating course that offers a balanced introduction to the study of history, philosophy and social studies in science and medicine.

Completed part-time over one year, the Graduate Certificate will inform you about what makes science different from other forms of knowledge. You will be introduced to the most important attempts to define the nature of science, the methods behind those interpretations, and how this has come into play in specific episodes in the history of science.

Our selection of courses will give you the option to either focus on the philosophy of biomedical sciences, bioethics, or the history of medicine. Or you might like to work on the history and philosophy of the physical sciences, mathematics, or early modern science. As part of your studies you will reflect on the place of science in modern society as well as the ethical implications of science.

Upon completion of this course you will have acquired a combination of basic research skills and the ability to identify and examine the conceptual and social dimensions of science, technology and medicine using a variety of scholarly techniques.

Subject areas
Shared pool

Entry, fees, funding & how to apply

Depends on your qualification, citizenship status
The details on this page based on your selections are a guide only, and are subject to change.

Your entry requirements

English language proficiency

Find out if you need to prove English language proficiency (depends on your country of origin and educational background).

For academic requirements check the ‘Admission requirements’ section on this page.

Your fee

How to apply

You can apply online via the application portal. When you are ready to apply, select the ‘Apply’ button on this course page. Visit the How to apply page for other important information. 

Closing dates

Semester 1 - 31 January of the commencing year

Late applications may be considered subject to availability of places. We strongly encourage applicants to apply as early as possible, offers are made on a rolling basis and places are limited. Separate scholarship deadlines apply - check the scholarships website for details.

Starting date

Semester 1 (March) 

This course is not available to international students. 

Starting date

What you'll study

Study plan

The course is completed normally over the course of two semesters on a part time basis only.

You will complete a total of 24 credit points (cp) from the following units of study (6cp each): HPSC4104, HPSC4102, HPSC4103, HPSC4104, HPSC4105, HPSC4108, HPSC4201.

HPSC4108 is compulsory for, and available only to those students who have not completed a major in history and philosophy of science or equivalent.

Units of Study

Admission requirement

Admission to the Graduate Certificate in Science (History and Philosophy of Science) requires a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Medical Science or Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Liberal Studies, or any bachelor's degree from the University of Sydney, or equivalent qualification.

Upon successful completion of the Graduate Certificate in Science (History and Philosophy of Science), students may gain entry to the Graduate Diploma in Science to undertake a further research project in the area of history and philosophy of science. A separate admission application for the Graduate Diploma in Science is required.

CSP is not available in this course.

We strongly encourage applicants to apply as early as possible, offers are made on a rolling basis and places are limited. Separate scholarship deadlines apply. Please check the relevant website for details. 

The academic requirements that are displayed are applicable to currently available courses only, and are updated annually in October and may be changed without notice. The Handbooks Online and the University of Sydney Calendar are the official legal source of information relating to study at the University of Sydney, and you are referred to those documents.

Career Pathways

The Graduate Certificate in Science (History and Philosophy of Science) can inform many career paths. Science and medical policy, science journalism, science communication and the management of science and medicine are just some of the areas in which our graduates work. Many of our former students have successfully pursued further study in a range of internationally recognised academic programs. In addition, postgraduate programs can provide career enhancement for those whose previous technical training does not meet their current job needs.

Domestic students

International students

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.