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

Science, Technology and Society

University Catalog

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Lehigh University Catalog


Core 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; Steven Louis Goldman, Ph.D. (Boston), Andrew W. Mellon Chair and Professor of Philosophy; 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; Edward J. Gallagher, English; John Gillroy, international relations; Ned D. Heindel, chemistry; Breena Holland, political science; Sharon Kalafut, computer science and engineering; Chaim D. Kaufmann, international relations; Kenneth L. Kraft, religion studies; Judith N. Lasker, sociology; Jeffrey Milet, speech and theater; Vincent G. Munley, economics; Anthony O'Brien; economics; Michael Raposa, religion studies; Robert E. Rosenwein, sociology and anthropology; Dork Sahagian, earth and environmental science; Roger D. Simon, history; Bruce Thomas, Art, Architecture and Design; Ricardo Viera, Art, Architecture and Design; Todd Watkins, economics; Peter K. Zeitler, earth and environmental sciences.

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. Cutcliffe (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. Goldman. (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. Cooper (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. Grafe (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. S. Friedman (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. Goldman (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. Small (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. Nagel (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. S. Friedman (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. Goldman, Nagel (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. Cutcliffe (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 (Thomas)

ARCH 210                             20th Century Architecture (Jung)

CHM 5                                   Chemistry and National Issues

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

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 (Gillroy)

ES 338                                   Environmental Risk: Perception and Communication

HIST 7                                    Technology in America's Industrial Age (Smith)

HIST 8                                    Technology in Modern America (Smith)

HIST 107                                Technology and World History (Smith)

HIST 111                                Engineering in the Modern World (Smith)

HIST/STS/WS 117                 Women, Science and Technology (Cooper)

HIST/STS/HMS 118               History of Modern Medicine (Grafe)

HIST/STS 145                        Introduction to the History of Science (Goldman)

HIST 308                                Industrial American Since 1945 (Cooper)

HIST/ES 315                          American Environmental History (Cutcliffe)

HIST/ASIA 340                      Japanese Industrialization (Cooper)

IR 34                                      Society, Technology, & War (Kaufmann)

IR/ES 333                              International Environmental Law and Policy (Gillroy)

IR/ES 343                              Comparative Environmental Law and Policy (Gillroy)

IR 344                                    International Politics of Oil (Barkey)

JOUR/STS 124                      Politics of Science (Friedman)

JOUR/ES 125                        Environment, Public and Mass Media (Friedman)

JOUR/HMS/STS 323             Health and Environmental Controversies (Friedman)

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 (Holland)

POLS/ES 106                         Environmental Values and Ethics (Holland)

POLS/ES 107                         The Politics of the Environment (Wurth)

POLS 115                               Technology as Politics (Wurth)

POLS/ES 328                         U.S. Politics and the Environment (Wurth)

POLS/ES 355                         Environmental Justice and the Law (Holland)

POLS/ES 375                         Seminar: Green Polity (Wurth)

REL 6                                      Religion and the Ecological Crisis (Kraft)

REL/WGSS 8                          Prehistoric Religion, Art, and Technology (Girardot)

REL/PHIL 116                         Bioethics

REL 187                                  Science, Technology, & the Religious Imagination (Raposa)

SSP/HMS 160                         Medicine and Society (Lasker)

SSP 302                                  The Sociology of Cyberspace (Rosenwein)

SSP/JOUR 327                       Mass Communication and Society (Rosenwein)

THTR/ARCH 161                    Performing Arts Venue Design and Technology