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Science, Technology, and Society Program

Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in Science, Technology, and Society

The Science, Technology, and Society (STS) curriculum seeks to explore the myriad of ways in which science and technology shape our society. The only program of its kind in North Carolina, the core courses of STS aim to understand the connections between science, technology, economics and commerce, domestic policy and international relations, the environment, health and medicine, and other crucial areas inform basic questions of equity, justice, and sustainability. With these connections in mind, STS students examine how science and technology emerge, how they engage with society, how they change through social processes, and how society changes under their influence.

For more information, visit the STS Program website.

Minor in Science, Technology, and Society

The minor in Science, Technology, and Society is a fifteen-hour, interdisciplinary minor providing students an opportunity to appreciate and better understand the roles that science and technology play in the larger sociocultural context. The goal of the minor in Science, Technology, and Society is to enable students to increase the breadth of their interests in science and technology.

Honors in Science, Technology, and Society

The Honors Program in STS offers an enriching and challenging educational experience to qualified majors. Admission to the program requires at least a 3.25 overall GPA and 3.25 major GPA, including STS 214 Introduction to Science, Technology, and Society and at least 6 other hours of course work in the major requirements. Honors students must complete the Honors Option in STS 403 Seminar in Science, technology, and Society with a course grade of B+ or better; three hours of course work in the major requirements taken from among graduate courses and independent study courses; and three additional hours of course work in the major requirements taken from among honors courses, honors option courses, graduate courses, and independent study courses. Graduation requires a 3.25 GPA overall and a 3.40 GPA in the major. Successful completion of the program is noted on the student’s transcript and in the commencement and honors convocation programs.

Interim Director

Matthew Eisler
Teaching Assistant Professor


Core Faculty

Sarah L. Ash
Professor, Nutrition Sciences

Ross Bassett
Professor, History

William Bauer
Teaching Assistant Professor, Philosophy

Mary K. Cunningham
Associate Professor, Religious Studies

Keith R. Earnshaw
Teaching Assistant Professor

Daniel N. Graham
Teaching Assistant Professor

Adele Hite
Lecturer

William J. Kinsella
Associate Professor, Communication

Deena Murphy
Lecturer

Bob P. Patterson
Professor

Victoria N. Ralston
Lecturer

Mary Tjiattas
Teaching Assistant Professor

Sarah T. Warren
Lecturer

Thomas M. Wiggins
Lecturer

STS - Science, Technology and Society Courses

STS 210 Women and Gender in Science and Technology 3.

Interdisciplinary introduction to the reciprocal relationships between scientific/technological research and contemporary understanding of gender. Special emphasis on social factors influencing scientists and engineers in their professions.

STS 214 Introduction to Science, Technology, and Society 3.

Introduction to the field of Science, Technology, and Society (STS), including most important STS scholars, major schools of thought, and important theoretical and empirical issues in STS.

STS 257 Technology in the Arts 3.

The interaction between technology and the arts with an emphasis on developments in Western art of the twentieth century. Historical and emerging issues include: sound and film recordings, the addition of sound to films, the impact of films and television on theater, the impact of radio, computer applications to music, the visual arts, and literature.

STS 301 Science and Civilization 3.
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing.

An inquiry into the scientific achievement and cultural impact of three different, but interrelated, models (or paradigms) of understanding the world and man's place in it; the Ancient-Medieval model of Aristotle, Ptolemy and Aquinas; the 17th century model of Newtonian physics; and the emerging, but fragmentary, 20th century model based upon the new physics of Einstein, Planck and Heisenberg.

STS 302 Contemporary Science, Technology and Human Values 3.
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing.

Interdisciplinary evaluation of recent and potential influences of current scientific and technological developments on US and non-US societies. Emerging social, ethical, and intellectual issues include: The adequacy of contemporary scientific frameworks; the relations among science, technology, and society; the social consequences of scientific and technological applications, and human prospects and possibilities.

STS 304 Ethical Dimensions of Progress 3.

Multidisciplinary examination of traditional western notion of progress, focusing on ethical issues raised by concept of progress, and connections between science, technology and society. Places relationships such as engineering and social responsibility within the context of present day redefinitions of the notion of progress.

STS 322 Technological Catastrophes 3.
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing.

Interdisciplinary examination of the human, organizational and technical factors contributing to the causes and impacts of recent technological accidents such as the Bhopal chemical leak, the space shuttle Challenger explosion, the Chernobyl nuclear accident, and the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Evaluation of risk assessment, risk perception and risk communication strategies. Consideration of options for living with complex technological systems.

STS 323 World Population and Food Prospects 3.

Examination of the dynamics of population size and food needs, production, distribution and utilization. Consequences of inadequate nutrition and food choices, efforts to increase the compatibility of effective food production systems and alternate crops and cropping systems examined.

STS 325 Bio-Medical Ethics 3.

Interdisciplinary examination and appraisal of emerging ethical and social issues resulting from recent advances in the biological and medical sciences. Abortion, euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide, compromised infants, aids, reproductive technologies, and health care. Focus on factual details and value questions, fact-value questions, fact-value interplay, and questions of impact assessment and policy formulation.

STS 402 Peace and War in the Nuclear Age 3.

An interdisciplinary examination of contemporary wars and international conflict, arms, races, nuclear strategy and defense policy, arms control, theories and strategies of peace.

STS 403 Seminar in Science, Technology, and Society 3.
Prerequisite: STS 214, STS or STB Majors.

Capstone course for the Science, Technology, and Society (STS) major. Review of the principal theoretical and empirical issues of the field. Research project focused on each student's STS specialty.

STS 405 Technology and American Culture 3.

An interdisciplinary study of the role of technology in American culture which examines the ideological, political, social, economic, and institutional contexts of technological change from the 1760's to the present, and explores the cultural impacts of new technological systems.

STS 471 Darwinism and Christianity 3.
Prerequisite: One course in religious studies, biological sciences, philosophy of science, or history of science.

Evolutionary biology and Christianity. Darwin's evolutionary theory; neo-Darwinism; conflicts between evolutionary theory and Christian thought; methodological parallels and differences between science and religion; proposals for divine action in anevolutionary world.

STS 490 Issues in Science, Technology, and Society 3.
Prerequisite: Junior standing..

Examination of a significant issue, method, or historical episode in the area of science, technology, and society.

STS 491 Independent Study in Science, Technology, and Society 3.

Independent investigation and discussion of a selected topic in science, technology, and society. Individualized/Independent Study and Research courses require a "Course Agreement for Students Enrolled in Non-Standard Courses" be completed by the student and faculty member prior to registration by the department.

STS 571 Darwinism and Christianity 3.
Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

Evolutionary biology and Christianity. Darwin's evolutionary theory; neo-Darwinism; conflicts between evolutionary theory and Christian thought; methodological parallels and differences between science and religion; proposals for divine action in anevolutionary world.