Science, Technology, and Society Program


Science, Technology, and Society (STS) is an exciting interdisciplinary field of study grounded in the history, philosophy, anthropology, and sociology of science and technology. It examines deep cultural roots of our technoscientific society and addresses pressing public policy issues. It constitutes a fundamental aspect of a liberal arts education and is excellent preparation for graduate study or future employment opportunities.

Science and technology have become increasingly important components of our world, changing the ways we live, work, and think. The well-being of individuals, nations, and ultimately our Earth depends in part on technoscientific developments that are part of the process shaping both the social fabric and the natural environment, both in America and globally.

Following an introductory core course, students in the STS Program choose from a variety of electives and complete a yearlong senior research project. By doing so they gain an understanding of the historical and social dimensions of science and technology, become better-informed citizens of our high-tech society, and hone critical and valuable interdisciplinary skills involving writing, speaking, and creative thinking. Students pursuing a major or minor in STS require no special technical expertise.

Faculty

DirectorProfessor James Fleming

Program Faculty and Staff: Professor James Fleming, Postdoctoral Fellow Lijing Jiang

Advisory CommitteeProfessors Daniel Cohen (Philosophy), James Fleming (Science, Technology, and Society), Fernando Gouvêa (Mathematics and Statistics), Neil Gross (Sociology), Russell Johnson (Biology), Paul Josephson (History), Dale Skrien (Computer Science), Judy Stone (Biology), and Dasan Thamattoor (Chemistry); Associate Professors Chandra Bhimull (Anthropology and African-American Studies), Melissa Glenn (Psychology), Jonathan Hallstrom (Music), Keith Peterson (Philosophy), Elizabeth Sagaser (English), Laura Saltz (American Studies), Tanya Sheehan (Art), and Andrea Tilden (Biology); Assistant Professors Alicia Ellis (German), Serena Ferrando (French and Italian), Aaron Hanlon (English), and Gianluca Rizzo (French and Italian); Postdoctoral Fellow Lijing Jiang (Science, Technology, and Society); Faculty Members without Rank Kara Kugelmeyer (Library), and Elizabeth Finch (Museum of Art)


Requirements +

Requirements for the Major in Science, Technology, and Society

The STS major has a core curriculum based on the research and teaching interests of the faculty. All courses are either U.S. or internationally focused and either science or technology focused. Majors must take three required courses and choose a minimum of eight electives from the list of STS-approved courses below. Courses taken abroad or otherwise not on this list require the approval of the STS Program director.

  • ST112: Introduction to STS (required) or ST114: Introduction to Medicine and Society
  • ST485: Technology Matters (required)
  • ST486: Senior Project: The Craft of Research or ST484 Honors (required)
  • One 200-level or higher course in natural science or computer science beyond the all-College requirement
  • One STS internationally focused course (designated I)
  • One STS U.S.-focused course (designated U)
  • One STS science-focused course (designated S)
  • One STS technology-focused course (designated T)
  • Three approved STS electives

Electives are chosen from the list of STS-approved courses to fulfill the I, U, S, and T foci, but a course that satisfies two or more foci may not be counted twice. In choosing the eight electives, students must take a minimum of three courses designated or cross-listed as ST. A student may not count more than two 100-level electives toward the major.

Senior Projects

All senior STS majors will take ST485, which will prepare them for research through seminar readings, literature reviews, and proposal writing. This is the first part of a yearlong capstone experience in which students design and complete a final integrative project in science, technology, and society. This is followed by ST486, an intensive research and writing experience with final public presentations. Any member of the faculty may serve as an advisor for STS senior projects.

Honors in Science, Technology, and Society

Students with a 3.5 GPA in the major (and at least a 3.25 GPA overall) may request permission to undertake an honors thesis. They will enroll in ST485 and meet with other STS seniors to prepare a literature review and proposal, which must be approved by a panel of faculty members. Students continuing in the honors program will enroll in ST484 under the supervision of an advisor and second reader. Upon successful completion of the thesis and fulfillment of all requirements for the major, and if a 3.5 GPA in the major is maintained, the student will be invited to deposit a copy of his or her thesis in Miller Library and will graduate with “Honors in Science, Technology, and Society.”

Requirements for the Minor in Science, Technology, and Society

Track 1. Social-Cultural: Science, Technology, and Society 112 or 114, 485, three other STS courses, and at least two courses from the list of STS-approved courses.

or

Track 2. Human Dimensions of Science: Science, Technology, and Society 112 or 114, 485, and three other STS courses; a two-course thematic cluster consisting of at least one 300-level or higher natural science, computer science, or mathematics course. The thematic cluster must be approved in advance by the STS Program, in consultation with the relevant department(s). The final paper in 485 must integrate the thematic cluster with its human (social and cultural) implications.

Other Applicable Courses +

List of STS-Approved Courses

* Key: International = I; U.S. = U; Science = S; Technology = T

Anthropology

  • 112 Cultural Anthropology I
  • 256 Land, Food, Culture, and Power I
  • 341 Culture, Mobility, Identity I

Art

  • 252 Medicine and Visual Culture U, S
  • 285 History of Photography I, T
  • 454 Picturing Nature: American Art and Science U, S

Biochemistry

  • 362 Medical Biochemistry S

Biology

  • 133 Microorganisms and Society U, S
  • 164 Evolution and Diversity S
  • 198 Biochemistry of Food S
  • 259 Plants of the Tropics I, S
  • 271 Introduction to Ecology S
  • 274 Neurobiology S
  • 275 Human Physiology S

Chemistry

  • 217 Environmental Chemistry S

Computer Science

  • 151, 152, or 153 Computational Thinking:  T 
  • 232 Computer Organization T

Economics

  • 231 Environmental and Natural Resource Economics U
  • 341 Natural Resource Economics U, S

English

  • 233 Data and Literature in the Scientific Revolution I, S
  • 247 Science Fictions I,U,S,T
  • 262 Poetry of Revolution I
  • 283 Environmental Humanities U
  • 398 Life in Times of Extinction

Environmental Studies

  • 118 Environment and Society U
  • 234 International Environmental Policy I
  • 265 Global Public Health I
  • 319 Conservation Biology S
  • 366 Environment and Human Health I, T
  • 494 Problems in Environmental Science S

German

  • 263 Weird Fictions I

History

  • 149 Modern Utopias I, U
  • 245 Science, Race, and Gender S
  • 246 Luddite Rantings: A Historical Critique of Big Technology U, I, T
  • 248  Nuclear Visions, Environmental Realities I, U, T

Mathematics

  • 376 History of Mathematics I, S

Philosophy

  • 126 Philosophy and the Environment U, S
  • 213 Philosophical Inquiries into Race I, S
  • 217 Feminism and Science S
  • 317 Philosophy of Science S
  • 328 Radical Ecologies S

Psychology

  • 233 Biological Basis of Behavior S

Science, Technology, and Society

  • 112 Science, Technology, and Society (required)
  • 114 Introduction to Medicine and Society I, U, S, T
  • 117 Information Use and Misuse: Big Data in America U, T
  • 120A Information Before and After Google U, T
  • 215 Weather, Climate, and Society I, U, S, T
  • 235 Digital Projects in Environmental History I, U, S, T
  • 297 Global Food Health and Society I, T
  • 484 Honors in STS
  • 485 Technology Matters (required)
  • 486 Senior Project: The Craft of Research (required)
  • 491/492 Independent Study

Sociology

  • 131 Introduction to Sociology U
  • 247 Universal Health Care: Could It Work Here? I, U
  • 249 Life Sciences and Society U, S