STS Major

Science and Technology Studies (STS) prepares students to analyze science and technology in relation to society and culture. Students in the STS major examine the impacts of science, technology, and medicine on every aspect of our world, from health and environment to law and innovation, from business and economics to literature, media, and the arts.

Science and Technology Studies is a fully interdisciplinary program designed to address the challenges of our increasingly high-tech world. The STS program brings the perspectives of the humanities and social sciences together with science, technology, and medicine. It combines history, philosophy, anthropology, economics, environmental studies, law, literature, business, and media studies to examine the social dimensions of science and technology. A degree in STS can prepare students for careers in fields such as law, healthcare, journalism, public policy, government, and education, as well as advanced research careers in the sciences, the humanities, or the social sciences. STS students learn to think critically, explore controversies, and find common ground between social and technical concerns.

Students can customize their coursework to follow interests in a particular scientific field or a topic of research. Students can also combine the STS major with other majors and minors to develop cross-disciplinary expertise. 

Overview of the Major

The STS major requires lower-division courses that introduce methods from the social sciences and humanities, as well as foundational courses in the natural sciences. The major also requires upper-division courses in STS theories and research practices; advanced coursework in at least one scientific field; and courses providing depth and concentration in an STS emphasis area. The STS emphasis areas are:
  • Law and Innovation
  • Health and Environment
  • Data and Media Technologies
  • History and Philosophy of Science

Students may alternatively choose not to specialize in an STS emphasis area, instead pursuing a more general route through the major. Students may also choose options for individual research, including the development of a capstone thesis project.

Learning Outcomes

Students in the STS major will be able to:

  • Analyze how science and technology have shaped—and have been shaped by—society.
  • Use methods from the humanities and social sciences to study scientific and technological change. 
  • Communicate complex ideas about science and technology effectively through writing, speaking, and multimedia composition.
  • Analyze how controversies and conflicts affect the development of science and technology.