Science, Technology, and Society

A woman walking and looking at scientific photographs on the wall of a hallway.

Art of Science exhibit at O'Hare International Airport. (Image courtesy of Argonne National Laboratory on Flickr.)

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 (HASTS). While many HASTS 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.

Science, Technology, and Society Courses

Course # Course Title Level
STS.001 Technology in American History Undergraduate
STS.002 Finance and Society Undergraduate
STS.002 Toward the Scientific Revolution Undergraduate
STS.003 The Rise of Modern Science Undergraduate
STS.004 Science, Technology, & World Undergraduate
STS.005 Disease and Society in America Undergraduate
STS.006J Bioethics Undergraduate
STS.007 Technology in History Undergraduate
STS.009 Evolution and Society Undergraduate
STS.010 Neuroscience and Society Undergraduate
STS.011 American Science: Ethical Conflicts and Political Choices Undergraduate
STS.014 Principles and Practice of Science Communication Undergraduate
STS.025J Making the Modern World: The Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective Undergraduate
STS.027 The Civil War and the Emergence of Modern America, 1861-1890 (Spring 2015) Undergraduate
STS.029J The Civil War and Reconstruction Undergraduate
STS.034 Science Communication: A Practical Guide Undergraduate
STS.035 The History of Computing Undergraduate
STS.036 Technology and Nature in American History Undergraduate
STS.038 Energy and Environment in American History: 1705-2005 Undergraduate
STS.042J Einstein, Oppenheimer, Feynman: Physics in the 20th Century Undergraduate
STS.049J Technology and Gender in American History Undergraduate
STS.050 The History of MIT (Spring 2016) Undergraduate
STS.050 The History of MIT (Spring 2011) Undergraduate
STS.060J Anthropology of Biology Undergraduate
STS.062J Drugs, Politics, and Culture Undergraduate
STS.064J DV Lab: Documenting Science Through Video and New Media Undergraduate
STS.065J The Anthropology of Sound Undergraduate
STS.067 Scientific Visualization across Disciplines: A Critical Introduction Undergraduate
STS.069 Technology in a Dangerous World Undergraduate
STS.071J Cross-Cultural Investigations: Technology and Development (Fall 2012) Undergraduate
STS.074J Art, Craft, Science Undergraduate
STS.075J Technology and Culture Undergraduate
STS.080 Youth Political Participation Undergraduate
STS.085 Ethics and the Law on the Electronic Frontier Undergraduate
STS.086J Cultures of Computing Undergraduate
STS.089 Technology and Innovation in Africa Undergraduate
STS.S28 Godzilla and the Bullet Train: Technology and Culture in Modern Japan Undergraduate
STS.250J Social Theory and Analysis Graduate
STS.310 History of Science Graduate
STS.320 Environmental Conflict and Social Change Graduate
STS.330 History and Anthropology of Medicine and Biology Graduate
STS.340J Introduction to the History of Technology Graduate
STS.350 Social Study of Science and Technology Graduate
STS.360 Ethnography Graduate
STS.410J Readings in American History Since 1877 Graduate
STS.415J Nature, Environment, and Empire Graduate
STS.420J The Structure of Engineering Revolutions Graduate
STS.427 The Civil War and the Emergence of Modern America, 1861-1890 (Spring 2015) Graduate
STS.428 Technology and Change in Rural America Graduate
STS.429 Food and Power in the Twentieth Century Graduate
STS.436 Cold War Science Graduate
STS.445J Technologies for Creative Learning Graduate
STS.449J Introduction to Global Medicine: Bioscience, Technologies, Disparities, Strategies Graduate
STS.449J Social Studies of Bioscience and Biotech Graduate
STS.460 Histories of Information, Communication, and Computing Technologies Graduate
STS.461J Integrating Doctoral Seminar on Emerging Technologies Graduate
STS.462 Social and Political Implications of Technology Graduate
STS.464 Technology and the Literary Imagination Graduate
STS.464 Cultural History of Technology Graduate
STS.467 Research Seminar in Deep Sea Archaeology Graduate
STS.471J Engineering Apollo: The Moon Project as a Complex System Graduate
STS.481J Cross-Cultural Investigations: Technology and Development (Fall 2012) Graduate
STS.484J The Anthropology of Cybercultures Graduate

Archived Science, Technology, and Society Courses

Some prior versions of courses listed above have been archived in OCW's DSpace@MIT repository for long-term access and preservation. Links to archived prior versions of a course may be found on that course's "Other Versions" tab.

Additionally, the Archived Science, Technology, and Society Courses page has links to every archived course from this department.