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Department of History and Philosophy of Science


COVID-19 guidance: The Department is keen to offer students as much support as possible but does not wish to increase workloads unduly for either students or supervisors by increasing supervision norms. Please talk to your Course Manager or Director of Studies if you feel you need additional supervision time or any other form of help with your studies.

Part IB

It is recommended that students have one supervision a week throughout the Part IB course, alternating between history of science (four supervisions per term) and philosophy of science (four supervisions per term). Students will be supervised at the same rhythm for the first half of Easter Term.

Part II

It is recommended that students write 6–8 supervision essays per paper. Students can normally expect to receive two supervisions for each primary source essay and four supervisions for their dissertation. It is recommended that most, if not all, supervisions take place in the Michaelmas and Lent Terms.

  • Option A: 4 dissertation supervisions, 4 primary source essay supervisions, 18 supervisions = 26 in groups of two.
  • Option B: 4 primary source essay supervisions, 24 supervisions = 28 in groups of two.

Part III

  • Research Paper 1: Three supervisions during Michaelmas Term
  • Research Paper 2: Three supervisions during Lent Term
  • Two Set Essays: Four supervisions (in groups of two or three) on Advanced Seminar topics in the latter half of Michaelmas Term and first two weeks of Lent Term
  • Dissertation: Four supervisions in the course of Easter Term


A student can expect to receive on average three hours of supervision for each of the three MPhil essays, and four hours of supervision for the dissertation, making a total of 13 hours of supervision throughout the course.


The level of supervision for doctoral students is determined by supervisor and student together but it is expected that they will meet a minimum of twice a term. Meetings may become more regular as the dissertation reaches its final stages.