Welcome to Science, Technology and Society!
Thank you for your interest in STSC! Please explore our site to learn more about who we are, what we do, and how you can get involved in our exciting program!
About Science, Technology and Society (STSC)
Science, Technology & Society (STSC) examines the social contexts and consequences of science and technology. In a wide array of courses, STSC students learn to think critically about questions such as: Why does modern science look the way it does? How and why do particular technologies and technological systems emerge, expand and become obsolete? How do science and technology sometimes exacerbate race, gender and class inequalities, and how might they be changed to reduce them? How do science and technology shape society, and how does society shape science and technology?
The STSC major has an interdisciplinary methodology. It balances a broad foundation of courses within the department with submajors that draw on courses from across the university. Those submajors focus on more specialized interests within science and technology studies, including biotechnology and biomedicine, energy and environment, global science and technology, information and organizations, and the history and philosophy of science.
The major equips its graduates with sophisticated critical faculties, multidisciplinary skills and wide knowledge. It prepares them for careers in business, law, government, journalism, research, and education, and it provides a foundation for citizenship in a globalizing, diversifying world with rapid technological and scientific change. To see what our graduates are doing, go to our STSC alum page.
STSC courses teach students to:
- Analyze the interplay of social factors that have resulted in particular scientific and technological outcomes both in the present and in the past
- Read scientific, technological and historical texts critically, assessing their social, cultural and political origins and ramifications
- Pursue research projects using published sources, technical and scientific data and unpublished archival materials
- Deploy evidence and reasoning to build strong arguments about the relationships between science, technology and society
Why major in STSC? Here's what our graduates say:
"I've long struggled with expressing the merit of my Science, Technology, and Society studies – until I realized that the inexpressible was the merit itself. As opposed to the many pre-professional, unambiguous majors of my peers, STSC has given me a flexible analytical framework which which to see the world – a brilliant alchemy of history, sociology, and anthropology. Robert Safian, the editor of Fast Company, declared our generation 'Generation Flux' – the age of agility and adaptability – and I could think of no better way to prepare for this world that my studies in STSC."
"When I look back at my time at Penn, one of the best parts of my college experience was my major: Science, Technology, and Society. I was able to meet frequently with professors and develop close relationships, take a variety of fascinating lecture and seminar courses, work passionately on my thesis for over a year with continuous help and support from my advisors, and create lasting friendships with other STSC major students."
"STSC challenged me to examine the relationships between science and technology, and the material, social, religious, political, and cultural environments in which these practices occur. This type of thinking and approach, along with the writing and research skills I developed, have been applicable to many aspects of my job and graduate level courses."
"My coursework taught me to approach all tasks with clear and rational thinking. It has shown me the rewards of perseverance, innovation, and careful attention to detail. These lessons will translate well when developing complex solutions in the business world."
"I think I offer a different perspective than a lot of the other analysts hired at my consulting firm, as most of them are business undergrads who may not have the broad critical thinking skills to consider the societal implications of any technology we might be implementing."
For Prospective Students
- We encourage you to explore the website in advance of contacting faculty or visiting campus.
- Any appointments with faculty must be arranged prior to visiting campus and depend on faculty schedules and availability.
- If you wish to speak with the STSC Chair or Associate Chair, please contact them by email to arrange an appointment.
- If you wish to visit classes, the recommended courses for visitors are listed on the College’s Courses for Visitors page. Prospective students should check with the course instructor to make sure that the day they plan to visit is good for seeing the class in action, and that there is no field trip or exam on that day.
- Talk to a MAP advisor about STSC
- What STSC Graduates Do
- Link to the College of Arts and Sciences
Myths about Majors:
- I have to find the right major to get a job/get into graduate school
- I have to know now exactly what my career path is
- I have to do something pre-professional right now
- I am the only person at Penn who doesn't know what they want to do after college