About the Major
The Science, Technology, & Society (STS) major is a customizable interdisciplinary major that prepares students to engage with complex issues and address emerging challenges which have arisen as a consequence of the interconnectedness of systems in the current era. Students in the STS program learn to apply methods of scientific thinking and creative problem solving to confront unstructured, real-world problems faced by individuals, organizations, industries, and societies in ways which cut across traditional boundaries of disciplinary thought. Due to its broad applicability and high degree of customizability, STS is one of the most popular majors on campus with roughly 1200 students enrolled in the program each year.
Contemporary challenges faced by employers today don’t necessarily fall neatly into individual academic disciplines. Many issues lie at the intersection of multiple academic fields (e.g. sociology, politics, economics, the sciences, etc.) and require a sophisticated multi-perspective approach integrating across these fields to be adequately addressed. A Spring 2021 report by the Association of American Colleges and Universities highlights this, where nearly 500 employers polled cite critical thinking, an ability to analyze and interpret data, application of knowledge to real-world settings, an ability to work in teams, and an ability to demonstrate complex problem solving skills among the most sought after skills of potential employees.
These exact skills are developed by students in the STS program through upper-division coursework in scientific thinking, technical communication, data science, geographical information science, and organizational leadership. This skill-set is then applied in courses covering topics best addressed through a multiperspective, interdisciplinary approach. Topics include the societal impact of technological change, environmental science and energy sustainability, global affairs, and gender, race, and culture. The degree culminates in an applied learning capstone experience where students can choose to enroll in a senior seminar or an internship relevant to their studies
Graduates of the STS degree go on to careers in the fields of health, human services, business, politics, law, energy sustainability, and more. This diverse array of potential careers is possible because the STS program is designed to allow students to shape their curriculum, in consultation with academic advisors, to meet their academic interests and professional goals.