How to become a STSC major:

1. Please read the requirements for the STSC major carefully.

2. Visit Path@Penn and fill out the major declaration form under "Declare/Update field of study."

3. Fill out and submit the STSC application

4. Schedule an advising meeting with the Associate Director or Undergraduate Chair to discuss the major and your plans.


Please Note:

  • If a student who is planning a possible STSC major cannot get into a course (especially a core course) during preregistration but still wishes to take it, they should:  
(1) contact the instructor in advance to be on the waitlist
 (2) attend the first lectures and recitations and (3) contact the Undergraduate Chair or Associate Director.
  • For all STSC majors, the Associate Director is their major advisor to handle anything concerning the major. STSC Program Chair can also provide advice and support regarding the major.
  • All STSC majors are responsible for knowing the requirements of the major, and for knowing and taking the courses necessary to fulfill those requirements.


FAQs about STSC

What can I do with an STSC major?

What can’t you do? Read "What STSC Graduates Do."  They do everything.  What do YOU want to do?

What courses are recommended for me to take to explore the STSC Major? 

Many of our introductory level courses will help you explore the major. First-years are urged to consider one of the first-year seminars offered by the department. Other courses that are excellent ways to explore the major include STSC 0100 (Emergence of Modern Science), STSC 0600 (Technology and Society), STSC 1600 (Information Age), STSC 1880 (Environment and Society), STSC 0400 (Medicine in History, also HSOC 0400).  See the Courses link at the top of this site.

What is a concentration?

A concentration is an interest area. There are five STSC concentrations each reflecting a different pathway within the larger field of STS. Each concentration consists of four courses, and students select courses that all relate to their topic, question or interest.

  • Biotechnology and Biomedicine
  • Energy and Environment 
  • Global Science and Technology
  • Information and Organizations
  • Science/Nature/Culture 

What if I find a course or courses that I think should be part of my concentration, but which are not on the list of pre-approved courses?

You may submit a petition to include a course or courses into your concentration other than the pre-approved ones, if you can show, and the program directors concur, that the course (or courses) are related to Science, Technology & Society and make a meaningful contribution to your intellectual agenda within the STSC major. Courses cannot be requested to substitute for core requirements or department courses.

How do I become a Science, Technology & Society major?

Scroll to the top of this page.

What specific courses will I need to fulfill core requirements?

You must take STSC 0100 or STSC 0600, and one of the following: STSC 1600, 1880, 2080 or 1120 (or 0100 or 0600), but no particular order is required.

What is a department course?

A  course taught by standing faculty in the department. See the list of "department electives" for the courses that fulfill the 7 credits of department courses required for the major.

What if I am not ready to declare a major but have questions about STSC?

Talk to the STSC chair, or to the Associate Director for STSC; their office hours and contact information is under "Advising."

What does it mean to be on "registration hold?"

Any sophomore who has not declared a major by the time of Advanced Registration in the spring is put on registration hold by the College until they do declare a major. This means that they cannot register for courses. As soon as sophomores declare a major, they are removed from registration hold (unless they are on hold for other reasons).

Can I double-major in STSC and something else?


However, it means completing two sets of requirements, so careful planning is required.  You must have 18 credits between the two majors that are not double-counted.

It is important to remember that it is not necessary to double major! What is most important is that you get the most out of your primary major and out of your undergraduate education, and that you do not sacrifice your educational journey to the challenges of fulfilling two sets of major requirements.  Once you have graduated, double-majoring will matter little, but the quality, coherence and depth of your major will matter a lot.

Can I minor in STSC?

Yes. (But not if you are an STSC major!) See the STSC Minor page.

Can I study abroad if I am an STSC major?

Yes. We encourage STSC majors to plan a semester abroad, and many do. Credits from study abroad are applied to the concentration, with a limit of 2 c.u. Check both the College study abroad website and the Penn Abroad website for more information. Courses taken abroad are submitted through the XCat system, and evaluated for credit by the STSC Chair and Associate Director

What if I am a transfer student? How do I get credit for courses taken at another school?

Go to the section on transfer students on the College website for information. Transfer courses must be submitted via the XCat system. Credits from other institutions may be counted toward the STSC major based on the evaluation of the Director and Associate Director.

Can AP credits count toward the STSC major?


Can I get transfer credit for a summer course at another university?

Read the section about "credit away" on the College website. If you wish to take a course at another university to count for STSC, you must submit your request through XCat for evaluation.

Do LPS courses (courses offered through the College of Liberal and Professional Studies) count toward the STSC major?

Yes--if the course would count toward the major if offered in the College, then it counts if offered in LPS.

Can I take more STSC courses than the major requires?

Yes. You may take as many STSC courses as you wish.

Can I do independent study projects as part of the STSC major?

Yes. Visit the independent study page and read about our two levels of independent study, STSC 2999 and STSC 4999.

Is research an important part of the STSC major?

Yes. All STSC majors take a research seminar (STSC 4000) in the spring of junior year or fall of senior year to fulfill their Capstone Research Requirement. Some may wish to continue and write a senior thesis for honors during the first half of the senior year. STSC majors are encouraged to explore other opportunities for research, such as internships and publication. See the College website for research opportunities and for College policy on internships, and also the CURF website.

What is the Capstone Research Requirement?

This is the requirement that you take STSC 4000 during spring of junior year or senior year.

What if I want to write a senior thesis- what are the requirements for graduating with honors in STSC?

To graduate with honors, an STSC major enroll in STSC 4000 during spring of junior year, research and write over the summer, and complete the senior thesis during the fall of senior year. See the Senior Thesis page for department requirements. 

How do I participate in STSC events and meet other majors?

Become involved with the STSC UAB and help plan undergraduate events.