Science, Technology, and Society

Science, Technology, and Society (STS) is an interdisciplinary field that studies (1) the conditions under which the production, distribution, and utilization of scientific knowledge and technological systems occur, and (2) the consequences of these activities upon different groups of people. The disciplines out of which STS emerged were the history and philosophy of science and technology, science and technology policy studies, and sociology, and these origins shape the primary modes of analysis in STS. More recently, anthropology, literary studies, and cultural history have all left their mark in fundamental ways on STS. The intercollegiate program brings together courses taught in a variety of departments. It is divided into three principal areas: history of science and technology; philosophy of science; and political, cultural, and social perspectives on science and technology. The latter covers such topics as national science policy, how science and technology affect people, and how computers affect society, as well as more specific subjects such as the Internet, pollution, and genetic engineering.

Students majoring in STS are well prepared to pursue graduate study in related fields and also have a solid foundation for work as science journalists, policy researchers and advisers, science educators, and advocates of change around issues such as gender and science, renewable energy, and the social effects of the information revolution. In addition, STS is an excellent academic background for students intending to pursue careers in medicine, law, business, and education.

Scripps students interested in the STS major must have a Scripps faculty adviser, normally from a related social science, mathematics, literature, philosophy, or natural science. In addition, STS students should contact the STS Program Coordinator, Richard Worthington (PO). These advisers will assist the student to establish a meaningful focus within the STS major and to choose appropriate courses. They will help to ensure that the required courses and general preparation are in place for the senior seminar, as well as help the student to secure the necessary readers for the senior thesis.