WGS.S10 | Fall 2017 | Undergraduate

History of Women in Science and Engineering


Course Meeting Times:

Seminar: 1 session / week; 3 hours / session


There are no prerequisites for this course.

Expectations and Goals

This is an introductory-level course that assumes no prior knowledge of the history of women in science and engineering. Successful students will read/watch/listen to the course materials prior to the class in which they are discussed. Each student will be graded on the following components:

Class participation, which includes regular attendance, in-class discussion, and group collaboration 15%
Written homework assignments 20%
Midterm essay (5–7 pages) plus class presentation, including a 60-second lightning introduction 25%
New or significantly enhanced Wikipedia article 10%
Final paper (10–15 pages) or project 30%

Required Books

Buy at MIT Press Abbate, Janet. Recoding Gender: Participation in Computing. The MIT Press, 2012. ISBN: 9780262534536.

 Fine, Cordelia. Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference. W.W. Norton & Company, 2011. ISBN: 9780393340242.

Layne, Margaret. Women in Engineering: Pioneers and Trailblazers. American Society of Civil Engineers, 2009. ISBN: 9780784410158.

McGrayne, Sharon. Nobel Prize Women in Science: Their Lives, Struggles, and Momentous Discoveries. Joseph Henry Press, 2001. ISBN: 9780309072700.

Nolen, Stephanie. Promised the Moon: The Untold Story of the First Women in the Space Race. Basic Books, 2004. ISBN: 9781568583198.

Padua, Sydney. The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer. Penguin Group, 2016. ISBN: 9780141981536.

Shetterly, Margot Lee. Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race. William Morrow Paperbacks, 2016. ISBN: 9780062363602.

 Sobel, Dava. The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars. Penguin Books, 2017. ISBN: 9780143111344.

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2017
Learning Resource Types
Presentation Assignments
Written Assignments
Instructor Insights