History of Health Sciences MA

The History of Health Sciences (HHS) program, founded in 1930, is the second-oldest such program in the United States. HHS is concerned with the historical development of medical practices, disease categories, biomedical technologies, and healthcare systems. With an emphasis on modern (late nineteenth to twenty-first century) American and European contexts, the program's faculty and students investigate how medicine, health, and illness are historically perceived, and how these perceptions reflect and shape culture and society. Examining the role of the patient, provider, institution, and state in healthcare systems, the program provides students the ability to understand how medical ideas and practices have been deployed and negotiated in different historical contexts.

Students in the HHS program learn to examine the history of health sciences from a variety of critical approaches. Graduates from the program enrich their careers and chosen fields by infusing unique historical perspectives into their work. The location of the HHS program at UCSF, one of the nation's leading health sciences campuses, gives students the opportunity to collaborate with their counterparts in the basic and clinical sciences to advance the historical analysis and understanding of biomedical research, clinical practice, and health policy.


There are eight core faculty and three primary faculty members with other academic appointments in the HHS program; and 27 other affiliated faculty. 

Career Outcomes 

Graduates from the HHS program are prepared to undertake a wide variety of professional careers in academia, industry, government, and communications. The History of Health Sciences program office at UCSF is located at the Mission Bay campus.

Visit the program website for more information or contact Program Coordinator Bonita Dyess to apply.

The History of Health Sciences program is offered by the UCSF Graduate Division administered by the UCSF School of Medicine delivered by faculty members in the UCSF School of Medicine.


Program Manager
Bonita Dyess

Program Director
Dorothy Porter, PhD