skip to content

Bulletin Archive

This archived information is dated to the 2008-09 academic year only and may no longer be current.

For currently applicable policies and information, see the current Stanford Bulletin.

Science, Technology, and Society

Emeriti: James Adams (Management Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering), Alex Inkeles (Sociology), Walter Vincenti (Aeronautics and Astronautics)

Director: Robert McGinn (Management Science and Engineering; Science, Technology, and Society)

Program Committee: Stephen Barley (Management Science and Engineering, on leave), Hank Greely (Law), Ursula K. Heise (English), Brad Osgood (Electrical Engineering), Eric Roberts (Computer Science), Selma Sabanovic (Science, Technology, and Society), Rebecca Slayton (Science, Technology, and Society), Fred Turner (Communication), John Willinsky (Education)

Lecturers: Henry Lowood, Selma Sabanovic, Rebecca Slayton

Affiliated Faculty and Staff: Stephen Barley (Management Science and Engineering, on leave), Barton Bernstein (History), Scott Bukatman (Art and Art History), Thomas Byers (Management Science and Engineering), Jean-Pierre Dupuy (French), Paula Findlen (History), Hank Greely (Law), Ursula K. Heise (English), Sarah Jain (Anthropology), Brad Osgood (Electrical Engineering), Robert Proctor (History), Jessica Riskin (History), Eric Roberts (Computer Science), Scott Sagan (Political Science), Londa Schiebinger (History), Michael Shanks (Classics, Anthropology), Fred Turner (Communication), John Willinsky (Education), Gavin Wright (Economics)

Mail Code: 94305-2120

Phone: (650) 723-2565

Web Site:

Courses offered by the Program in Science, Technology, and Society have the subject code STS, and are listed in the "Science, Technology, and Society [STS] Courses" section of this bulletin.

Technology and science are activities of central importance in contemporary life, intimately bound up with society's evolving character, problems, and potentials. If scientific and technological pursuits are to further enhance human well-being, they and their effects on society and the individual must be better understood by non-technical professionals and ordinary citizens as well as by engineers and scientists. Issues of professional ethics and social responsibility confront technical practitioners. At the same time, lawyers, public officials, civil servants, and business people are increasingly called upon to make decisions requiring a basic understanding of science and technology and their ethical, social, and environmental consequences. Ordinary citizens, moreover, are being asked with increasing frequency to pass judgment on controversial matters of public policy related to science and technology. These circumstances require education befitting the complex sociotechnical character of the contemporary era.

Science, Technology, and Society (STS) is an interdisciplinary program devoted to understanding the natures, consequences, and shaping of technological and scientific activities in modern and contemporary societies. Achieving this understanding requires critical analysis of the interplay of science and technology with human values and world views, political and economic forces, and cultural and environmental factors. Hence, students in STS courses study science and technology in society from a variety of perspectives in the humanities and social sciences. To provide a basic understanding of technology and science, STS majors are also required to achieve either literacy (B.A.) or a solid grasp of fundamentals (B.S.) in some area of engineering or science.

STS courses may be used, individually or in groups, for purposes such as:

  1. To satisfy University General Education Requirements (GER)
  2. To satisfy the Technology in Society requirement of the School of Engineering
  3. To comprise parts of student-designed concentrations required for majors in fields such as Human Biology and Public Policy
  4. To satisfy the requirements of the STS honors program complementing any major (see below)
  5. To satisfy requirements for majors in STS (see below)
  6. To satisfy requirements for a minor in STS (see below)

STS courses are particularly valuable for undergraduates planning further study in graduate professional schools (for example, in business, education, engineering, law, journalism, or medicine) and for students wishing to relate the specialized knowledge of their major fields to broad technology and science-related aspects of modern society and culture.

© Stanford University - Office of the Registrar. Archive of the Stanford Bulletin 2008-09. Terms of Use | Copyright Complaints