Offered by: College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences, Philosophy Department
The Science, Technology, and Society (STS) Minor is an interdisciplinary program which integrates knowledge in the natural sciences and in technology as well as in the humanities and social sciences. However, the goals of the STS Minor are quite different from those of the STS Major, and the Minor serves a distinct group of students.
The STS Minor requires science, engineering, and other technology majors to systematically consider the historical, social, cultural, political, and ethical aspects of science and technology. This gives science and technology majors a better understanding of important practical aspects of science and technology, in particular, the complex interaction between science and technology on the one hand and society on the other. Such practical understanding helps put in clearer focus such issues as political influence on science and technology funding, and the public understanding of science and technology.
In providing this broadening of perspective on science and technology, the STS Minor prepares science and technology majors to be better sensitive to social needs and to better understand the public’s complex reaction to science and technology. In addition, the STS Minor also facilitates communication across disciplinary standpoints, even across standpoints as diverse as those in the natural sciences, engineering, the humanities, and the social sciences.
In sum, the STS Minor provides science and technology majors with a sense of how science and technology exists in a broader human context. (By contrast the Major opens opportunities for writing- and argument-intensive science- and technology-related careers (such as those in science- and technology-related law and public policy) which are alternative to careers as scientists and technologists.)
Peter Ross, Director