Science and Technology Studies (STS) was born of the realization that urgent social challenges are rooted in scientific worldviews and technological practices. It is a multidisciplinary social science and humanities field devoted to critical inquiry about the mutual shaping of science, technology, and society. Rensselaer established the first Ph.D.-granting STS Department in the United States. It is a world-class group of students and faculty, globally renowned for research on the cultural, historical, economic, political, and social dimensions of scientific and technological society.
Students in the Ph.D. program learn to conduct cutting-edge research based in three interlocking practices:
- Scholarly analysis of historical and contemporary cultures of research and innovation.
- Critique of the public policies, social practices, and political-economic institutions that shape, and are shaped by, scientific discovery and technological design.
- Direct participation in collaborative projects that bring about change in the domains of science, medicine, design, and engineering.
Graduates typically go on to be researchers, professors, planners, and advisers in academic, government, and private institutions.
Students entering the program with a master’s degree in STS or a closely aligned discipline may enter directly into the PhD program on the recommendation of the Admissions Committee. Students who enter the program without a master’s degree may apply to earn one along the way to the Ph.D.
Outcomes of the Graduate Curriculum
Students who successfully complete this program will be able to:
- Conduct scholarly analysis of historical and contemporary cultures of research and innovation.
- Critically analyze the public policies and political-economic institutions that shape, and are shaped by, scientific discovery and technological design.
- Participate in collaborative projects that have the ability to bring about change in the domains of science, medicine, design, and engineering.
- Design and articulate research problems and conduct independent, original, and significant research.
- Communicate effectively to specialized and general audiences.
- Seventy-two (72) credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree
- No more than 15 credit hours of 4000-4990 courses may count toward the degree or be applied to the Plan of Study
- Individual course requirements can be waived or substituted by the Graduate Program Director when required courses are not offered or under other exceptional circumstances, (without reduction to the total number of credits required for the degree).
- Successful completion of the Portfolio (Comprehensive Exam), Literature Review, Dissertation Proposal (Candidacy Exam), and Dissertation Defense.