Science, Technology, and Society Department


Science, Technology, and Society (STS) is an exciting, cross-disciplinary field of study focused not only on how science and technology shape the world but also how social and cultural developments shape science and technology. Drawing on work in sociology, anthropology, history, philosophy, media studies, literary history, and other fields, STS examines the deep cultural roots of our techno-scientific society and addresses pressing public policy issues. STS majors take courses across the natural, computational, and social sciences and the humanities. STS provides a fundamental liberal arts education and is excellent preparation for graduate study or future employment opportunities in public service and the private sector.

Students planning to major or minor in STS should take ST112 (Introduction to Science, Technology, and Society). Thereafter, STS students choose from a variety of electives and complete a yearlong senior research project.

Faculty

Chair, Associate Professor Aaron Hanlon (English)

Core Faculty: Visiting Assistant Professor Ashton Wesner

Advisory Committee: Professors Tanya Sheehan (Art) and Melissa Glenn (Psychology); Associat Professor Gianluca Rizzo (Italian Studies); Faculty Librarian Kara Kugelmeyer (Library)

Affiliated Faculty: Professors Daniel Cohen (Philosophy), Fernando Gouvêa (Mathematics), Neil Gross (Sociology), and Russell Johnson (Biology); Associate Professors Chandra Bhimull (Anthropology and African-American Studies), Alicia E. Ellis (German), Keith Peterson (Philosophy), Elizabeth Sagaser (English), Laura Saltz (American Studies), and Andrea Tilden (Biology)


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 complete a total of 11 courses: four required courses; four ST courses or cross-listed courses designated I, U, S, and T; and three electives. Courses taken abroad or otherwise not on this list require the approval of the STS chair.

  • Required: ST112: Introduction to STS or ST120A: Information Before and After Google
  • Required: ST485: Technology Matters 
  • Required: ST486: Senior Project: The Craft of Research or ST484 Honors or ST492
  • 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 may be 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. 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 (for majors in humanities, interdisciplinary studies, and social science): Science, Technology, and Society 112 or 120A, 485, three other STS courses, and at least two courses from the list of STS-approved courses.

or

Track 2. Human Dimensions of Science (for natural science majors): Science, Technology, and Society 112 or 120A, 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

American Studies

  • 228 Nature and the Built Environment, U, T
  • 254 Surveillance Culture, U, T

Anthropology

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

Art

  • 244 Moving Images U, T
  • 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

East Asian Studies

  • 242 Development, Environment, China I, S, T

Economics

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

English

  • 120N Language, Thought, Writing Medical Ethics
  • 233 Enlightenment Data and Literature I, S
  • 247 Science Fictions I,U,S,T
  • 248 History of the Book T
  • 262 Poetry of Revolution I
  • 283 Environmental Humanities U
  • 337 Climate Fiction U
  • 363 The Enlightenment and the Anthropocene I, S, T
  • 398 Life in Times of Extinction
  • 3xx Energy and Utopia I, T

Environmental Studies

  • 118 Environment and Society U
  • 234 International Environmental Policy I
  • 239 Seafood Forensics U, T
  • 265 Global Public Health I
  • 319 Conservation Biology S
  • 366 Environment and Human Health I, T
  • 3XX Scientific Communication S
  • 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
  • 330 Global Histories of Food I
  • 348 U.S. Environmental History U, S, T

Mathematics

  • 376 History of Mathematics I, S

Music

  • 213 Intro to Computer Music S, T

Philosophy

  • 126 Philosophy and the Environment U, S
  • 213 Philosophical Inquiries into Race I, S
  • 216 Philosophy of Nature 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
  • 132 Arts and Humanities annual theme lectures (1 credit, repeatable)
  • 215 Weather, Climate, and Society I, U, S, T
  • 223 Asian Science and Society I, S
  • 234 Big History, I, U, S, T
  • 235 Digital Projects in Environmental History I, U, S, T
  • 237 History of Biology I, U, S
  • 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
  • Approved JanPlans in STS

Sociology

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