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Science, Technology, and Society

Program in Science, Technology, and Society

Founded in 1976, the Program in Science, Technology, and Society attempts to increase human understanding of the human-built world. Science and technology are no longer specialized enterprises confined to factories and laboratories: they have become intertwined with each other and with human society. The fundamental contribution of STS is to look at the human-built world as an integrated whole. Two basic, interrelated questions are addressed by faculty and students in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society:

  • How did science and technology evolve as human activities?
  • How do they relate to the larger civilization?

The STS perspective has become of critical importance in understanding a host of public issues such as privacy, democracy, environment, medicine, education, and national and global security.

Beginning in 1988, the STS Program, in collaboration with the History Faculty and Anthropology Program, created a doctoral program in the History and Social Study of Science and Technology (HSSST).  While many HSSST graduates teach at universities, others bring an STS perspective to law, business, journalism, and museum work. An undergraduate program in STS has existed since 1980. It typically attracts students with broad interests who seek an interdisciplinary approach to education and who want to learn how scientists and engineers influence the world. Students may concentrate, minor, joint major or double major in STS.

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Undergraduate Courses
MIT Course #Course Title
STS.001 Technology in American History, Spring 2006
STS.002 Toward the Scientific Revolution, Fall 2003
STS.003 The Rise of Modern Science, Spring 2005
STS.005 Disease and Society in America, Fall 2005
STS.006J Bioethics, Spring 2006
STS.011 American Science: Ethical Conflicts and Political Choices, Fall 2004
STS.014 Principles and Practice of Science Communication, Spring 2006
STS.029J The Civil War and Reconstruction, Fall 2005
STS.035 The History of Computing, Spring 2004
STS.036 Industrial Landscapes, Fall 2004
STS.038 Energy and Environment in American History: 1705-2005, Fall 2006
STS.042J Einstein, Oppenheimer, Feynman: Physics in the 20th Century, Spring 2006
STS.049J Technology and Gender in American History, Spring 2004
STS.062J Drugs, Politics, and Culture, Spring 2006
STS.062J Drugs, Politics, and Culture, Spring 2003
STS.066 Brains and Culture: Love, Lies & Neurotransmitters, Fall 2002
STS.067 Scientific Visualization across Disciplines: A Critical Introduction, Spring 2005
STS.069 Technology in a Dangerous World, Fall 2002
STS.075J Technology and Culture, Fall 2006
STS.085 Ethics and the Law on the Electronic Frontier, Fall 2005
STS.086J The Anthropology of Computing, Fall 2004
STS.S28 Godzilla and the Bullet Train: Technology and Culture in Modern Japan, Fall 2005

Graduate Courses
MIT Course #Course Title
STS.210J Theories and Methods in the Study of History, Fall 2004
STS.210J Theories and Methods in the Study of History, Fall 2003
STS.250J Social Theory and Analysis, Fall 2004
STS.310 History of Science, Fall 2005
STS.320 Environmental Conflict and Social Change, Fall 2005
STS.330 History and Anthropology of Medicine and Biology, Fall 2006
STS.340J Introduction to the History of Technology, Fall 2006
STS.350 Social Study of Science and Technology, Spring 2004
STS.360 Ethnography, Spring 2003
STS.410J Readings in American History Since 1877, Fall 2003
STS.415J Nature, Environment, and Empire, Spring 2005
STS.420J The Structure of Engineering Revolutions, Fall 2001
STS.428 Technology and Change in Rural America, Fall 2004
STS.429 Food and Power in the Twentieth Century, Spring 2005
STS.436 Cold War Science, Spring 2004
STS.445J Technologies for Creative Learning, Fall 2004
STS.449J Social Studies of Bioscience and Biotech, Fall 2005
STS.461J Integrating Doctoral Seminar on Emerging Technologies, Fall 2005
STS.462 Social and Political Implications of Technology, Spring 2006 NEW
STS.464 Cultural History of Technology, Spring 2005
STS.467 Research Seminar in Deep Sea Archaeology, Spring 2002