Humanities, Social Sciences & The Arts
The Best of Both Worlds
In a world that is increasingly shaped by technology and globalization, questions raised by the traditional humanities become more pointed than ever: What is the human condition? How has the world come to be as it is? How have great writers, thinkers, and artists addressed these questions, and what do their answers mean for you?
Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Arts have been central to the mission of Stevens from the start, going back to the founding of the Institute in 1870 with its "Liberal-Technical" curriculum.
That tradition continues today in our College of Arts and Letters, which emphasizes the traditional goals of liberal arts teaching and research, but from a non-traditional starting point. At Stevens you will partake in a broad interdisciplinary investigation of the humanities—literature, history, philosophy, art, music, and the social sciences—and find new ways to think about the world. We hold that one can achieve a refined understanding of the traditional humanities by using science and technology studies as intellectual tools of inquiry, making them the lens through which we see and understand the world. We call this "Tradition Informed by Today."
Under this model, the history of science, the philosophy of technology, science and literature, art and music technology, and related fields provide exciting entrées into the study of history, philosophy, literature, and the arts, yielding points of view that reflect the world today and that fit perfectly with the mission of Stevens as a center for science, technology, and entrepreneurship.
Immerse yourself in the world’s greatest novels, stories and poems while cultivating your skills in communication. You’ll have the opportunity to discuss works by authors ranging from Chaucer to Vonnegut and in genres from poetry to science fiction and beyond. And Stevens provides a privileged vantage point from which to view the study of literature—namely through the lens of science and technology.
Discover history as it relates to the great technological achievements of mankind. You’ll have the opportunity to explore the major social, political, and scientific developments throughout the ages, and understand the significance of advances such as Stonehenge, Roman vaults, and frictionless planes. You’ll unravel the Magna Carta, Federalist Papers, and Maastricht Treaty and learn about the significance of inventions like the computer, cell phone, and iPod.
Music & Technology
When you combine the best in music with the best in technology you go far beyond traditional composition theory and music history. Using traditional and nontraditional media, you’ll have the opportunity to create music for use in movie and video game scores, sound design, sonic art, and synthestration. You can choose from distinct but related tracks of Production, Composition/Theory, and Design—while you work side-by-side with award-winning musicians and composers from across genres and industries.
The philosophy curriculum at Stevens affords everyone the opportunity to cultivate the life of the mind by questioning and examining the very nature of human existence. Submerse yourself into worlds of aesthetics and ethics; social, political, and legal thought; existentialism and feminism; logic and critical thinking. You’ll not only gain a unique perspective regarding the impact of science and technology on the world, but also be able to then turn around and apply that knowledge to further our obligations toward preservation and conservation, and sustainability.
Students who pursue Science Communications will learn how to use a wide variety of media to convey information about science, technology and medicine to both general and professional audiences. They will learn processes for data gathering, interviewing, reporting, storytelling, and clear presentation of complex information. Science communication majors will benefit from learning their craft in the techno-centric Stevens environment.
Students pursuing the B.S. in Science, Technology, and Society at Stevens Institute of Technology will be at the forefront of developing solutions to the most pressing issues of the 21st century, such as global climate change, sustainable economic growth, the alleviation of poverty and disease, and the uses of artificial intelligence. Scholars in Science, Technology, and Society examine the social forces that shape the creation of scientific knowledge and examine the effect that developments in science and technology have on society.
Humans are social creatures. Studying the social sciences at Stevens allows you to examine the ways in which we relate to one another through political, psychological, legal, judicial, and even religious means. You’ll engage in mind-opening discussions and debates over the merits of urbanization, policy change, and social reform. Additionally, you’ll give due consideration to the role of class, race, nationality, and gender in all aspects of our lives.
Visual Arts & Technology
Take studio art to the next level by blending it with the newest media technologies, theories, and aesthetics. You’ll learn about animation, multimedia production, video production, installation art, programming and visualization, and much more. With New York City’s thriving art scene right across the river, you’ll find a myriad of internship opportunities in a variety of studios, galleries, companies, and organizations.
In addition to the disciplines above, the College of Arts and Letters also offers minors in Gender and Cultural Studies, Pre-Law & Public Policy, Theater and Technology, Science and Technology Studies, and Science Writings.
Students who are undecided may elect to enter as liberal arts undecided and choose a major listed above at he end of their freshman year.
A Non-Traditional Approach
Whether you choose to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree in the College of Arts and Letters or come to Stevens to pursue a B.E. or a B.S. degree in engineering, science, computer science, or business and technology—you will have the opportunity to engage the humanities in our signature fashion and take advantage of our unique intellectual and social atmosphere. Opportunities exist for minoring in several fields of the humanities, and motivated students can double major in the humanities and another discipline, earning two degrees.
Stevens’ established reputation for innovation in science, engineering, and technology enables you to reflect deeply on your chosen area of study and gain insight to make significant contributions as a leader in your professional field. Your experience in developing your skills in oral and written communication likewise should position you for success in the workplace or further study in graduate or professional school.
Our location in the dynamic city of Hoboken offers numerous opportunities to bring world-renowned faculty, artists, poets, critics, musicians, and other visiting professionals to campus. We foster practical experience with internships and want you to make use of New York City, the world’s art and literary center, just ten minutes across the Hudson River by PATH train.
Dawn Digrius is an Assistant Professor of History and the History of Science in the College of Arts and Letters. She will teach introductory courses in European intellectual and cultural history and an upper-level course on Charles Darwin and the intellectual upheaval precipitated by his theories of evolution. She will also direct the Gender and Cultural Studies Program, an interdisciplinary minor degree program that explores issues of gender, culture, race, ethnicity and sexuality. Her research centers on the history of scientific ideas and methods and their impact on society. She recently contributed a chapter on botanist Gregor Mendel, a founding figure of modern genetics, to the book Icons of Evolution: An Encyclopedia of People, Evidence and Controversies. She is currently writing a chapter for an upcoming encyclopedia on Charles Darwin, focusing on the influence of his theories on the science of botany, to be published by Cambridge University Press. Before coming to Stevens, Digrius held teaching posts at Clemson University, Drew University and Fairleigh Dickinson University. She earned her undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees at Drew University, where her dissertation on the development of paleobotany in 19th-century Europe won the university’s Mary Pennywitt Lester Prize in 2007 for Best Dissertation in History.
Gregory Morgan, a specialist in the history and philosophy of science and applied ethics, is an Associate Professor of Philosophy in the College of Arts and Letters. His research probes the relationship between science and aesthetic and ethical values, by exploring the means by which scientists use values to guide their search for scientific knowledge and the way methodological values shape our understanding of facts. A recent scholarly paper examined the post-DNA research of Rosalind Franklin, the woman whose data were used (without her consent) by Francis Crick and James Watson to solve the structure of DNA. He is currently writing about the measurement of microbial biodiversity. In addition to teaching courses in environmental ethics and policy and the philosophy of biology, he will help establish a new master’s program that will explore ethical issues surrounding emerging technologies, technology-driven business, and environmental policy. Before coming to Stevens, Morgan was a professor at Spring Hill College, where he taught courses in logic, philosophy of science, theoretical and environmental ethics, and philosophy of economics, among others. He earned master’s and doctoral degrees in Philosophy from Johns Hopkins University as well as master’s degrees in Molecular Biology and the History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Pittsburgh.
Yu Tao is an Assistant Professor of Sociology in the College of Arts and Letters. She teaches introductory courses on sociology and modern civilization, as well as an upper-level course on ethnic culture, including a close look at the cultural traditions of minority groups in the United States. Tao has written extensively on the status of ethnic and minority workers in the global science and engineering workforces as well as on their respective educational achievements. Her current research examines the career status and earnings of native- and foreign-born Asian scientists and engineers in the US, as well as the impact of gender on the earnings of scientists and engineers within different ethnic groups. She plans to develop upper-level and graduate courses that explore these topics. Tao earned master’s and doctoral degrees in the Sociology of Technology and Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology, as well as a master’s in Educational Media and technology from Boston University.
Jonathan Wharton, a lecturer in urban politics, national political movements and racial identity, is an Assistant Professor of Political Science in the College of Arts and Letters. His research interests range from urban studies, with an emphasis on gentrification and redevelopment, to U.S. political history, to the role of policy in local, state and national governments. His scholarly paper, “Gentrification: The New Colonialism in the Modern Era,” was published in a recent issue of the Journal of the Oxford University Round Table: Forum on Public Policy. Wharton also serves as the program advisor for the Institute’s minor concentration in pre-law and public policy studies, a program he helped establish. He brings wide experience in the public policy arena to his research and teaching. As a consultant to the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, he helped elucidate policy positions and prepare legislation. He also worked as a research analyst for the New Jersey Office of Legislative Services and as a policy aide on Capitol Hill. Wharton received a master’s degree in Public Administration and a doctorate in Political Science from Howard University, as well as a master’s in History from Rutgers University.