What is STS?
The academic field of Science and Technology Studies began to take shape in the early 1970s, as university researchers in the United States, Canada, England, and Holland recognized that science and technology, two of the most potent forces in modern society, deserved special scholarly attention. The foci of STS programs vary, but all STS programs (and scholars) are inherently interdisciplinary: they use the analytical tools of the humanities and social sciences to study the production of scientific and technical knowledge and the ways that science and technology have changed, and continue to change, human lives on individual, community, and global levels.
Why study STS?
First, there are intellectual and civic reasons why students enjoy STS courses. From an intellectual standpoint, STS provides a way for students to gain deep experience with subjects like history, philosophy, and sociology while keeping an eye on the practical applications of these subjects in a world that is inescapably shaped by science and technology. From a civic standpoint, STS students become expert in topics - such as the democratic control over scientific research and the ethical uses of technology - that all 21st century citizens need to understand.
Second, STS prepares students for successful and meaningful professional careers. Both degrees offered by the STS Program at Stevens - the B.A. in Science Communication and the B.S. in Science, Technology, and Society - ensure that students are comfortable with sophisticated technical concepts and expert in traditional academic skills from the liberal arts: reading, writing, critical thinking, and oral presentation. This mix of experiences and skills will serve students well in any career path they choose.
What are STS-related careers?
After they graduate from Stevens, majors in Science Communication may choose to pursue careers in science journalism and publishing, or as communications professionals within technical industries such as pharmaceuticals, finance, or new media. Graduates with a degree in Science & Technology Studies will already have experience developing policy-based solutions to emerging ethical issues in science and technology and therefore be ready to work in regulatory agencies, non-profit organizations, or private corporations in science and technology-based industries. Graduates of the STS program may also choose to enter graduate programs in medicine, public health, law, business, information science, public policy, or in STS.
Regardless of their career paths, all graduates of the STS Program at Stevens will be poised to be the translators that our 21st-century society so desperately needs; they will be expert both in the complex technical issues of our age, and have their own ideas about how to channel the power of science and technology for the betterment of human society.
As interest in STS has grown, a number of professional organizations have been developed to foster discussion and interaction between scholars within this field. Included here are links to several of these organizations:
The Society for Social Studies of Science
Society for the History of Technology
The History of Science Society
The Philosophy of Science Association
AAAS Communication Science
European Association for the Study of Science and Technology
Japanese Society for Science and Technology Studies
A number of academic journals have been founded to provide outlets for scholars interested in finding out more or writing about Science and Technology Studies:
Social Studies of Science
Science, Technology, and Human Values
Science, Technology, and Society
Science as Culture
Technology and Culture
Public Understanding of Science
Finally, those individuals interested in learning more about STS can visit STSWiki, which collects and compiles information on the study of science, technology, and society.