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  Dec 15, 2017
 
 
    
Rensselaer Catalog 2007-2008 [Archived Catalog]

Science and Technology Studies


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The STS bachelor’s program of study requires 124 credit hours, including the standard Rensselaer 24-credit hour humanities and social sciences requirement and 24-credit hour science, math, and computing requirement. At least 32 credit hours are required within the student’s major. These must be accompanied by 16 credit hours in a technical area (the technical option) relevant to this STS major.

The 32 credit hours usually include the following: STSH/STSS 1110 Science, Technology, and Society, a 2000-level STS concentration option, a course that fulfills the breadth requirement, two of the 4000-level STS advanced options, a public service internship, and a senior project or thesis. The eighth course can be either a research methods or statistics course that fulfills the methods/statistics requirement, or if the requirement is already satisfied, a third advanced options course. The department head or undergraduate adviser may allow substitutions.

Students must also satisfy the humanities and social science core program, which can be achieved through STSH courses for humanities credit and STSS courses for social sciences credit. Some STS courses are offered with the IHSS code in the first year studies program; all courses with an IHSS code may be counted for either humanities or social sciences credit.

Built into the program are several important elements. Among these is a part-time internship in a government agency or other setting where social issues in science and technology are discussed. Additional elements include skills training in computing, statistics, and research methods; strong development of speaking and writing skills; and opportunities to serve as faculty research assistants.

In cooperation with a faculty adviser, each student tailors a program of study to his or her interests. So, for example, a student interested in environmental issues can combine technical courses in environmental engineering and/or science with STS Advanced Option courses in Law, Environment and Public Policy (see list below). These can also be accompanied by other courses in humanities and social sciences such as ECON 4230 Environmental Economics. An internship with a New York state environmental agency and a senior project on regulation of acid rain or hazardous waste are additional possibilities for environmentally geared students. A comparable set of coursework and internship opportunities may be arranged for those interested in other professional and pre-professional tracks including medicine, law, engineering, and information technology, as well as for those interested in pursuing graduate studies in STS.

Although specific courses will vary based on such individual interests, the template below provides a sample STS curriculum.

First Year


Fall


  • Science Seq. Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 2 below)
  • Hum. or Soc. Sci. Elective Credit Hours: 4

Spring


  • Science Seq. II  Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 2 below)
  • STS Conc. Options Credit Hours: 4
  • Hum. or Soc. Sci. Elective Credit Hours: 4

Second Year


Fall


  • STS Breadth Requirement Credit Hours: 4
  • Hum. or Soc. Sci. Elective Credit Hours: 4
  • Elective Credit Hours: 4

Spring


  • STS Methods/Stats. Option Credit Hours: 4
  • Hum. or Soc. Sci. Elective Credit Hours: 4
  • Elective Credit Hours: 4

Third Year


Fall


  • STS Technical Option Credit Hours: 4
  • Hum. or Soc. Sci. Elective Credit Hours: 4
  • Elective Credit Hours: 4

Spring


  • STS Technical Option Credit Hours: 4
  • Advanced STS Option Credit Hours: 4
  • Hum. or Soc. Sci. Elective Credit Hours: 4
  • Elective Credit Hours: 4

Fourth Year


Fall


  • STS Technical Option Credit Hours: 4
  • Advanced STS Option Credit Hours: 4
  • Electives Credit Hours: 8

Spring


  • STS Technical Option Credit Hours: 4
  • Elective Credit Hours: 4

Concentrations


STS offers several concentration “options,” each of which is described below.

STS Concentration options


Each student should select an area of concentration from among the four areas listed below, with the assistance of the adviser. The student must also take at least one of the survey courses listed within the declared concentration.

Medicine, Biology, and Public Health


History, Culture, and Society


Appropriate readings (STSH 4940) and special topics courses (STSH 4960) may also be selected with approval of the adviser.

STS Methods/Statistics Option


is one course, selected with the assistance of the student’s adviser, in either (1) research methods, (such as STSS 4130 Decision Making), a third course from among the STS Concentration Options listed above, or under special circumstances, a graduate-level research methods seminar; or (2) statistical methods, such as ENGR 2600 Modeling and Analysis of Uncertainty, ECON 4120 Quantitative Analysis, PSYC 2310 Experimental Methods and Statistics, or DSES 2010 Statistics for Management.

Advanced STS options


These are two related courses selected with adviser assistance from one of the following five lists, each of which represents one of the concentrations on science and technology.

Medicine, Biology and Public Health


  • STSS 4960 - Advertising and Mass Media*
  • STSH 4960 - Biology, Mind, Social Robotics: New Philosophies*
  • STSS 4960 - Culture & Cognition II: Theory and Practice*
  • STSS 4960 - Self Organization in Science and Society*

History, Culture, and Society


  • STSS 4960 Culture and Cognition II: Theory and Practice *
  • STSS 4960 Self Organization in Science and Society*

Appropriate readings (STSH-4940) and special topics courses (STSH-4960) may also be selected with approval of the adviser.

Law, Environment, and Public Policy


Engineering, IT, and Design


  • STSS 4960 - Environment, Justice, and Entrepreneurship
  • STSS 4960 - Self Organization in Science and Society*

STS Technical options


These four related courses are selected with student adviser assistance from among the course offerings of the Schools of Architecture, Engineering, Management, or Science (and Electronic Arts for dual majors). Students are encouraged to earn a minor or a second major through these courses or in combination with other electives. Minors can be earned, for example, in biology, computer science, environmental engineering, or science and management. The STS adviser may approve a proposal for a technical option in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

STS Research Methods/Statistics Option


STS Research Methods/Statistics Requirement is three courses, selected from the STS concentration option, breadth option, or two advanced options courses, that include a research paper or a substantial research project based on the analytical techniques of the humanities and social sciences. These three courses should be selected with the assistance of the student’s adviser, and be taken prior to or concurrent with the senior project. A list of the courses that meet the requirement will be maintained by the department. One of the three courses may be a research methods course in STS (such as STSS 4130 Decision Making) or else a course in statistical methods, such as ENGR 2600 Modeling and Analysis of Uncertainty, ECON 4120 Quantitative Analysis, PSYC 2310 Experimental Methods and Statistics, or DSES 2010 Statistics for Management.

STS Breadth Requirement


Students are required to satisfy a breadth requirement by taking one other STS course outside of their declared concentration. (For DIS majors, this is satisfied by IHSS 2610 PDI Studio III; in special cases, with the permission of the student’s adviser or as described in a published dual-degree template, this may be satisfied with a second survey course within the student’s declared concentration).

Footnotes


  1. Other mathematics options may be selected with the permission of the students adviser.
  2. The science sequence may be selected, with the assistance of the student’s adviser, from among 1000-level introductory sequencies in biology, chemistry, geology, or physics, including ERTH 1030, ERTH 1040. See the handout on the science core available from the School of Science. The science or mathematics elective that completes the core requirements in physical, life, and engineering sciences should be chosen, with the assistance of the student’s adviser, to prepare for STS Technical options and/or other electives.
  3. BIOL 1010 is not required if the first major is Engineering.

 

* A  special topics course.

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