Science, Technology, and Society

A woman walking and looking at scientific photographs on the wall of a hallway.

Art of Science exhibit at O'Hare International Airport. (Image courtesy of Argonne National Laboratory on Flickr.)

Founded in 1976, the Program in Science, Technology, and Society attempts to increase human understanding of the human-built world.

Science and technology are no longer specialized enterprises confined to factories and laboratories: they have become intertwined with each other and with human society. The fundamental contribution of STS is to look at the human-built world as an integrated whole. Two basic, interrelated questions are addressed by faculty and students in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society:

  • How did science and technology evolve as human activities?
  • How do they relate to the larger civilization?

The STS perspective has become of critical importance in understanding a host of public issues such as privacy, democracy, environment, medicine, education, and national and global security.

Beginning in 1988, the STS Program, in collaboration with the History Faculty and Anthropology Program, created a doctoral program in the History and Social Study of Science and Technology (HASTS). While many HASTS graduates teach at universities, others bring an STS perspective to law, business, journalism, and museum work. An undergraduate program in STS has existed since 1980. It typically attracts students with broad interests who seek an interdisciplinary approach to education and who want to learn how scientists and engineers influence the world. Students may concentrate, minor, joint major or double major in STS.

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Science, Technology, and Society Courses

Archived Science, Technology, and Society Courses

Some prior versions of courses listed above have been archived in OCW's DSpace@MIT repository for long-term access and preservation. Links to archived prior versions of a course may be found on that course's "Other Versions" tab.

Additionally, the Archived Science, Technology, and Society Courses page has links to every archived course from this department.