Science, Technology, and Society (STS) is an interdisciplinary field that asks questions such as:
- How does science work?
- How are we to understand scientific controversies?
- How is scientific knowledge and practice affected by economic, political, religious, or philosophical currents in a given time and place?
- How do societies and governments allocate resources for scientific research and science-based policies?
- How have scientific research ethics evolved, and what ethical issues are now being contested?
STS applies the history, philosophy, and sociology of science to answer these and other questions. At the University of Puget Sound, STS majors are also required to do substantial work in the sciences themselves, as a necessary complement to their reflection on science as a human activity.
STS has its roots in the history, philosophy, and sociology of science. “Science and Technology Studies” is a term that is sometimes used for a closely related field. Around the United States, several dozen universities have programs in these areas, including more than a dozen with undergraduate programs. There are undergraduate STS programs at universities in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia as well.
At the University of Puget Sound, STS majors take a common sequence of four mainstream courses distributed over their undergraduate years. The remainder of the degree requirements is decided in concert with the student’s advising committee. The goal is to provide each student with an individually tailored program that achieves a balance between breadth and concentration in the student’s special area of interest.