Bachelor of Arts

Science, Technology & Society (STS)

On this page: Major Description | Requirements | Learning Objectives

The Science, Technology & Society Major

How have the fields of science and technology evolved over time, and what does the future hold?  How should societies manage those fields to achieve just and sustainable communities?  The Science, Technology & Society (STS) major prepares students to address these important questions through an integrated approach to science, technology, and their relationships to culture, history, and society.

STS students work with faculty members trained in disciplines ranging from biology and mathematics to political economy and philosophy.  Housed in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, the major enables students to develop their skills in scientific and technological research along with their capacities for critical, creative, and ethical reflection.  Students leave the program with the capacity to make informed decisions about the responsible use of science and technology -- as professionals and citizens.

Career Focus

Graduating STS students are prepared for careers with a wide variety of for-profit, not-for-profit, and governmental organizations that analyze, produce, and use scientific and technical knowledge.  These careers include planning and administration, public and investor relations, and advocacy and communications, among other areas.  STS students also pursue graduate and professional education in such fields as law, education, policy studies, and media and cultural studies. Here is more information about career possibilities or pursuing graduate school.

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STS Major Requirements


1. Two quarters of a 100 or 200-level science sequence, which may be two courses from the same sequence OR the first course from any two different sequences.

  • B BIO 180 and 200 (Introductory Biology) or their equivalents; B CHEM 143/144 and 153/154 (General Chemistry) or their equivalents; or B PHYS 114/117 and 115/118 (General Physics) or their equivalents; or B PHYS 121 (Mechanics) and B PHYS 122 (Electromagnetism & Oscillatory Motion) or their equivalents.
  • Other science courses may be accepted if they have a laboratory component and are designed for students expecting to major in the science field in which the sequence is offered.

2. B MATH 123 (Functions, Models, and Quantitative Reasoning) or pre-calculus. 

Degree Requirements

  • BIS 300 Interdisciplinary Inquiry*(5 credits)
  • BISSTS 307 (5 credits)
  • BIS 315 - min. 2.0 grade (5 credits)
  • BES 301 - min. 2.0 grade (5 credits)
  • BIS 312 - min. 2.0 grade OR BIS 340 - min. 2.0 grade (5 credits)
  • Social and Cultural Studies of Science (SCSS) Courses (15 credits)
  • Science Practice Courses (10 credits)
  • BIS 499 Portfolio Capstone - min. 2.5 grade (3 credits)
  • Additional IAS Coursework (15 credits)

TOTAL= 68 Credits

*Should be taken in the first quarter of IAS enrollment.

Note: Classes in this major are offered primarily during day time hours.

School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences (IAS) Requirements & Policies

Interdisciplinary Practice & Reflection (IPR)

The IPR requirement can be completed through elective credits or it can overlap with major coursework.

Areas of Knowledge

25 credits must be completed in each Area of Knowledge. The Areas of Knowledge are: Visual, Literary and Performing Arts (VLPA), Individuals and Societies (I&S), and Natural World (NW).

Multiply-designated courses may not be double-counted as fulfilling two Areas of Knowledge. Courses may apply to both an Area of Knowledge requirement and an STS major requirement.

Upper Division Credit Policy

Of the credits applying to STS major requirements, a minimum of 48 must be completed at the Upper Division (300-400) level.

Matriculated status

Courses taken to satisfy STS major requirements must be completed in matriculated status.

Admitted prior to Autumn Quarter, 2016?

Students admitted to the STS major prior to Autumn 2016 may be eligible to complete an older set of major requirements. For more information, please check Requirement Changes Autumn 2016 page.

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Science, Technology & Society Learning Objectives

The Science, Technology, and Society curriculum advances the five core IAS learning objectives. Students taking courses and/or majoring in Science, Technology, and Society:

  1. Think critically and creatively about social and cultural representation and practice in science and technology.
  2. Develop and communicate sophisticated arguments about how people experience power and difference in relation to scientific and technological development.
  3. Critically examine how scientific knowledge is produced and analyze scientific and technological practices in applied, interdisciplinary contexts.
  4. Recognize the social and political conditions in which science and technology have value.
  5. Conduct collaborative research that integrates quantitative and qualitative knowledge using interdisciplinary methods of inquiry. 

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