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The interdisciplinary field of Science, Technology, and Society Studies examines the ways in which society influences the creation of scientific knowledge and technological development. At the same time, it seeks to understand the ways science and technology affect our lives and communities.These perspectives, combined with complementary education in a traditional discipline, prepare the STS student for graduate study or for a wide range of career opportunities. Upon graduation students might use their skills in government, business, or non-profit sectors in policy analysis, planning, or research.
The STS Program at Lehigh University was founded in 1972 and is one of the oldest such programs in the United States. It is the product of a continuing inter-college effort to create a common ground from which to explore the relations between science, technology, and society. The STS Program serves as a focal point for a wide range of courses that study the natures of science and technology, and analyze their social and personal implications. As such, it lends coherence and visibility to other course offerings within the university. In addition to its curricular mission, the STS Program hosts lectures, seminars, and conferences.
Undergraduate students may chose to major or minor in STS Studies, or they may take individual courses within the program, or from participating departments. Opportunities for student research projects are also available. Graduate students may chose STS as a minor field of study; this is usually done within the context of the History Department's Ph.D. program in the History of Technology.
The over 25 different faculty teaching in the STS program come from more than 15 departments. They bring to their STS teaching a wide variety of disciplinary perspectives and collectively contribute to the interdisciplinary mission of the Program.
Since 1977 the Program has also published the internationally recognized Science, Technology & Society Curriculum Newsletter. The STS Newsletter includes short articles, in-depth program and course descriptions, and reviews of recent works in the STS field. It is available online at no cost.
With funding from the National Science Foundation, faculty from the STS Program have been engaged in the development of a database of STS scholarship and curriculum programs treating the implications of nanotechnology developments for society.