Courses of Study

Science, Technology, and Society
See course descriptions for this department or program 

Director, Professor James Fleming
Advisory Committee: Professors Daniel Cohen (Philosophy), James Fleming (Science, Technology, and Society), Fernando Gouvêa (Mathematics), Paul Josephson (History), Leonard Reich (Administrative Science and Science, Technology, and Society), Dale Skrien (Computer Science), and James Webb (History); Associate Professors Jonathan Hallstrom (Music), Laura Saltz (Art and American Studies); Judy Stone (Biology), and Andrea Tilden (Biology); Assistant Professor Chandra Bhimull (Anthropology and African-American Studies); Faculty Member without Rank Lauren Lessing (Museum of Art)

Science, Technology, and Society (STS) is an exciting interdisciplinary field of study rooted 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 year-long 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.

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:
  • ST 112: Introduction to STS (required)
  • ST 485: Technology Matters or ST 483 Honors (required)
  • ST 486: Senior Project: The Craft of Research or ST 484 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 STS 485, which will prepare them for research through seminar readings, literature reviews, and proposal writing. This is the first part of a year-long capstone experience in which students design and complete a final integrative project in science, technology, and society. This is followed by STS 486, an intensive research and writing experience with final public presentations. Any member of the faculty may serve as an advisor for STS senior projects.

Senior Honors Theses

Students with a 3.5 GPA in the major (and at least 3.25 GPA overall) may request permission to undertake an honors thesis. They will enroll in STS 483 and STS 484 and will meet with the other seniors. Upon successful completion of the thesis, oral presentations, and 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
Science, Technology, and Society 112, 485, 486 (or equivalent), two other STS courses, and at least two courses from the list of STS approved courses.
List of STS Approved Courses
* Key: International = I; U.S. = U; Science = S; Technology = T 
  • Anthropology 
    • 256 Land, Food, Culture, and Power I
    • 273 Medical Anthropology I
  • Biology 
    • 115 Biology of Women U, S
    • 133 Microorganisms and Society U, S
    • 245 Biology of Race and Gender S
    • 271 Introduction to Ecology
    • 274 Neurobiology S
    • 275 Mammalian Physiology S
    • 493 Problems in Environmental Science S
  • Chemistry 
    • 112 Chemistry for Citizens U, S
    • 118 Chemistry of Life S
    • 217 Environmental Chemistry S
  • Computer Science
    • 232 Computer Organization T
  • Economics 
    • 231 Environment and Natural Resource Economics U, S
  • Environmental Studies 
    • 118 Environment and Society U
    • 266 Environment and Human Health I, T
    • 319 Conservation Biology S
    • 334 International Environmental Law I
  • Government 
    • 333 Globalization and Social Justice I, S, T
  • History 
    • 242 Rivers I, T
    • 245 Science, Race, and Gender S
    • 246 Luddite Rantings U, I, T
    • 394 Ecological History I, S
    • 444 Big Science and Technology in the 20th Century I, U, S, T
    • 445 Nuclear Madness I, U, T
    • 446 Historical Epidemiology I, S
  • Mathematics 
    • 376 History of Mathematics S
  • Music 
    • 213 Introduction to Computer Music T
  • Philosophy 
    • 126 Philosophy and the Environment U, S
    • 175 Science and Skepticism in Ancient Greece I
    • 213 Philosophical Inquiries into Race I, S
    • 317 Philosophy of Science S
    • 397 Philosophy of Nature S
  • Psychology
    • 233 Biological Basis of Behavior S
  • Science, Technology, and Society 
    • 112 Science, Technology, and Society (required)
    • 175 Science in Ancient Greece I, S
    • 215 Weather, Climate, and Society I, U, S, T
    • 251 U.S. Industry, Technology, and Society U, T
    • 253 Energy Presence Energy Futures U,T
    • 271 History of Science in America U, S
    • 273 Apocalypse Now I, T
    • 298 Global Change Science: History and Public Policy I, U, S, T
    • 358 Climbing the Oil Peak I, T
    • 393 Technology, War, and Society I, T
    • 483 and 484 Honors in STS
    • 485 Technology Matters (required)
    • 486 Senior Project: The Craft of Research (required)
    • 491/492 Independent Study