PLEASE NOTE: As of Fall 2018, this program is not accepting new majors or minors.

Science, Technology and Society

University Catalog

Spring 2019 Course Offerings

Summer 2019 Course Offerings

Lehigh University Catalog

Faculty: Gail A Cooper, Ph.D. (U.C., Santa Barbara), associate professor of history; Sharon M. Friedman. M.A. (Penn State), professor of journalism and communication; John K. Smith, Jr., Ph.D. (Delaware), associate professor of history; Albert H. Wurth, Jr., Ph.D. (N.C., Chapel Hill), associate professor of political science; Bill Best , Professor of Practice in Electrical and Computing Engineering and Co-Director of IDEAS program, DIrector of STS.

Affiliated Faculty: Henri J. Barkey, international relations; Mark Bickard, philosophy; Derrick Brown, civil and environmental engineering; Robin Dillon, philosophy; Edward B. Evenson, geological sciences; John Gillroy, international relations; Ned D. Heindel, chemistry; Breena Holland, political science; Sharon Kalafut, computer science and engineering; Chaim D. Kaufmann, international relations; Vincent G. Munley, economics; Anthony O'Brien; economics; Michael Raposa, religion studies; Dork Sahagian, earth and environmental science;Todd Watkins, economics.

The Science, Technology and Society (STS) program is the product of a continuing cross-college effort to create a common ground from which to explore the relations between science, technology and society: between ideas, machines and values.

The STS program serves as a focal point for a wide range of courses that study the natures of science and of technology, and analyze their social and personal implications. It lends coherence and visibility to offerings otherwise dispersed throughout the catalog.

STS Studies Major

The major in science, technology and society studies prepares students for graduate study or for a wide variety of career opportunities including policy analysis, planning, or community relations with public or private sector agencies concerned with the social relations of scientific research and technological innovation. The intrinsically cross-disciplinary character of science-technology-society interactions is reflected in the B.A. requirements. Majors must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours in STS courses, listed below, together with at least 15 credit hours in any traditional academic discipline: engineering, physical or life science, the humanities, or the social sciences. This collateral set of courses should be chosen in consultation with the program director to provide the foundation needed to engage STS studies issues in which that discipline is implicated. The senior seminar provides an opportunity for students to integrate the knowledge they have gained and the skills they have acquired in their coursework.

Opportunities for student research are available, especially through STS 181: Independent Study and STS 391: Honors Thesis.

STS studies is a social science major in the College of Arts and Science, and majors must fulfill the college's B.A. distribution requirements. A detailed description of the STS studies major requirements follows.

Detailed Description of STS Major Requirements

Required STS Courses (minimum of 30 hours)

Core Courses (20 credits)

STS 11 Technology and Human Values (4)

HIST 7 Technology in America's Industrial Age (4) or

HIST 8 Technology in Modern America (4)

STS/JOUR 124 Politics of Science (4) or

POLS 115 Technology as Politics (4)

PHIL 128 Philosophy of Science (4) or           

PHIL 225 Topics in Philosophy of Science (4)

STS 381 Senior Seminar (4)


Three additional advanced courses (at least two of which must be at the 100 level or higher) from the list of approved STS Studies courses (10-12 credits)

  1. Concentration in a complementary discipline (minimum of 15 hours to be chosen in conjunction with STS studies advisor); or approved departmental or interdisciplinary program minor; or double major.
  2. Science and Mathematics Requirement. Students must fulfill the college's regular B.A. distribution requirements of at least eight credits in the natural sciences; and at least three credits in mathematical sciences. At least one of the courses in the natural sciences must also include the associated laboratory course. These courses should be chosen in consultation with the advisor.

Honors in STS

In order to receive Honors in STS, the student must attain a 3.5 grade-point average in courses presented for the major and a 3.2 grade-point average over all, and must complete the 4credit Honors Thesis sequence (STS 391 and 392) beyond the required minimum of 30 Core credits required of all STS majors.

STS Studies Minor

The program also offers a minor in science, technology & society studies which is open to all undergraduates. Students electing the minor must take a set of courses totaling a minimum of 15 hours that includes STS 11: Technology and Human Values and electives chosen from the list of all courses eligible for STS studies which follows below. Students should consult with the program director when selecting courses for either the major or the minor.

Science, Technology, and Society Courses

STS 11. Technology and Human Values (4)
Impact of technology on society in relation to ethical problems raised by the exploitation of technological innovations. Illustrations from history, social studies, philosophy, literature, and film. (SS)

STS 12. Engineering and Society (4)
An examination of the social, political, commercial, and cultural factors that determine the problems engineers are asked to solve as well as the terms of acceptable solutions to those problems. This is a discussion-based course using a mix of books, articles, and videos. (SS)

STS 117. (HIST 117/WS117) Women, Science and Technology (4)
Explores the impact of technology and science on women's social roles and the contribution of women engineers and scientists to their disciplines. Will focus on the American experience. Among the topics discussed are invention, design, laboratory research, education, engineering, professionalism, labor force participation, office mechanization, household appliances, virtual spaces, childcare and reproduction. (SS)

STS 118 (HMS 118, HIST 118) History of Modern Medicine (4)
Introduction to Western medical history from the 18th century to the present day. Students will explore patient/practitioner relationships, examine changing ideas concerning health, sickness, and disease, chart changes in hospital care and medical education, and tackle topics such as eugenics, medical experimentation, and health insurance. (HU)

STS 124. (JOUR 124) Politics of Science (4)
Analysis of the multidimensional interaction between the federal government and the scientific community. Explores historical growth of the science-government connection, the scientific establishment both past and present, and the role of scientific advice to the White House and Congress. Also examines scientific ethics, public attitudes toward science, science-society interactions, and case studies of scientific controversies. (SS)

STS 145. (HIST 145) Introduction to the History of Science (4)
The history of modern science, primarily physical and biological, with emphasis on the development of major theoretical models since the seventeenth century. (SS)

STS 181. Independent Study (1-4) fall/spring
Prerequisite: consent of the program director. (HU or SS)

STS 221. (MAT 221) Materials in the Development of Man (3)
Development of materials technology and engineering from the Stone Age to Atomic Age as an example of the interaction between technology and society. In-class demonstration laboratories on composition and structure of materials. Term projects using archaeological materials and alloys. Course intended for, but not limited to, students in the humanities and secondary science education. Engineering students may not use this course for engineering science or technical elective credit.(SS)

STS 252. (CSE 252, EMC 252) Computers, the Internet, and Society (3)
An interactive exploration of the current and future role of computers, the Internet, and related technologies in changing the standard of living, work environments, society and its ethical values. Privacy, security, depersonalization, responsibility, and professional ethics; the role of computer and Internet technologies in changing education, business modalities, collaboration mechanisms, and everyday life. (SS)

STS 323. (HMS323/ES/JOUR 323) Health and Environmental Controversies (4) spring
Exploration of health, and environmental controversies from the perspectives of scientific uncertainty and mass media coverage. Examines genetic engineering, biotechnology, environmental health risks, and nanotechnology. Includes discussion of ethical and social responsibilities and interactions with the public.(SS)

STS 341. Issues in American Competitiveness: At Home and Abroad (4)
Issues affecting American commercial competitiveness focusing on topics associated with the recent emergence of a new commercial environment in all First World societies. Team taught in a highly interactive setting with industry, public sector, and government experts, in addition to academics from various disciplines and institutions. Students read topical articles and books, participate in team projects and debates, and conduct team research on competitiveness issues they have chosen for a term report. (SS)

STS 381. Senior Seminar (4)
In-depth study of selected topics in science, technology, and society with special attention to methodological issues. Subject matter may vary from semester to semester. Intended for STS majors and minors, but open to others. Prerequisite: STS 11 or consent of program director. (SS)

STS 391 Honors Thesis (1) Fall
Preparation for honors research thesis (STS 392). Identification of topic, preliminary compilation of source materials, and preparation of a proposal. Program permission required. (ND)

STS 392 Honors Thesis (3) Spring
Directed undergraduate research thesis required of students who apply and qualify for graduation with program honors. Prerequisite: STS 391, or concurrent with STS392. (ND)

Graduate Courses in STS (Open to undergraduates by petition only.)

STS 481. Readings in Science, Technology and Society (3)
Readings seminar on selected themes and topics in science, technology, and society, may be repeated for credit with permission of the program director.

Other STS Courses

ARCH 107 History of American Architecture

ARCH 210 20th Century Architecture

CHM 5 Chemistry and National Issues

CSE/EMC/STS 252 Computers, the Internet, and Society 

DES 66 Design History

ECO 311 Environmental Economics

ECO 314 Energy Economics

EES 2 Intro to Environmental Science

EES 4 Science of Environmental Issues

ES 1 Intro to Environmental Studies

ES 331 U.S. Environmental Law I: Pollution and Risk Abatement 

ES 338 Environmental Risk: Perception and Communication

HIST 7 Technology in America's Industrial Age 

HIST 8 Technology in Modern America 

HIST 107 Technology and World History 

HIST 111 Engineering in the Modern World 

HIST/STS/WS 117 Women, Science and Technology 

HIST/STS/HMS 118 History of Modern Medicine 

HIST/STS 145 Introduction to the History of Science 

HIST 308 Industrial American Since 1945 

HIST/ES 315 American Environmental History 

HIST/ASIA 340 Japanese Industrialization 

IR 34 Society, Technology, & War 

IR/ES 333 International Environmental Law and Policy 

IR/ES 343 Comparative Environmental Law and Policy 

IR 344 International Politics of Oil

JOUR/STS 124 Politics of Science 

JOUR/ES 125 Environment, Public and Mass Media 

JOUR/HMS/STS 323 Health and Environmental Controversies 

MAT/ANTH/STS 221 Materials in the Development of Man

PHIL/REL 116 Bioethics

PHIL 128 Philosophy of Science

PHIL 228 Topics in the Philosophy of Science

PHIL /COGS 250 The Philosophy of Mind

POLS/ES 105 Environmental Policy and Planning 

POLS/ES 106 Environmental Values and Ethics 

POLS/ES 107 The Politics of the Environment 

POLS 115 Technology as Politics 

POLS/ES 328 U.S. Politics and the Environment 

POLS/ES 355 Environmental Justice and the Law 

POLS/ES 375 Seminar: Green Polity 

REL 6 Religion and the Ecological Crisis 

REL/WGSS 8 Prehistoric Religion, Art, and Technology 

REL/PHIL 116 Bioethics

REL 187 Science, Technology, & the Religious Imagination 

SSP/HMS 160 Medicine and Society 

SSP 302 The Sociology of Cyberspace 

SSP/JOUR 327 Mass Communication and Society 

THTR/ARCH 161 Performing Arts Venue Design and Technology