The STS program explores the character and cultural significance of science and technology through interdisciplinary studies in which methods from the humanities and social sciences are applied to developments in science and technology.
The intercollegiate program in Science, Technology and Society (STS) examines how social and political conditions influence developments in science and technology, as well as investigates cultural changes, policy issues and philosophical questions prompted by those developments.
The heart of the major is a set of courses that train students in the interdisciplinary skills and theoretical results of STS, which is one of the fastest growing academic disciplines at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Majors take four core classes in STS: philosophy, history, and either public policy or anthropology of science and technology.
STS majors also take courses in one science or engineering discipline, plus at least one math class, in order to gain first-hand exposure to the theory and practice of one area of science.
Majors choose a concentration that relates to a focus in science/technology, and work with their STS advisor to choose three STS electives that explore this focus. Examples of recent concentrations include medicine, history and philosophy of mathematics, and technology development.
General and specific topics addressed in STS courses include:
- moral and policy analysis of technological systems;
- analysis of scientific methodology in terms of objectivity and rationality;
- the social factors involved in producing scientific knowledge and technological change;
- health, disease and disability;
- the political economy of pollution;
- the culture of the scientific laboratory;
- theories of race and genetic engineering;
- and social networking and the internet.
Majors are well-prepared for graduate studies, as well as career fields as diverse as the health sciences, law, education, science writing, public policy, and environmental studies. STS is a favored and particularly appropriate major for pre-med and pre-law students.