The STS degree is a flexible degree that can be shaped by each individual student in conversation with their advisor. There is a short list of required courses for all majors to take and a list of required support courses to choose from. Because the degree is interdisciplinary, some required courses are offered in other departments – e.g., Principles of Ecology – but most are taught by our faculty.
Below you can find brief descriptions of each course, plus information about when they are offered and who teaches them each semester.
These four courses are required for all STS majors.
Introduction to Science, Technology, and Society (STS 201)
Description: This course introduces students to perspectives on the social dimensions of science and technology, the role of scientists and engineers in shaping how communities and individuals function, and the ethical dimensions of emerging technologies.
Offerings: Fall 2021, 11 am MWF, Dr. Olivia Burgess
Connections: Humanities & Technology (HUM 200)
Description: This course explores the relationship between technology and the humanities, tracing the social impact of major technologies. Specific topics and texts vary by instructor and semester.
Offerings: Fall 2021, 12 pm MWF, Dr. Christy Tidwell
Writing and Research in the Interdisciplinary Sciences (STS 401)
Description: This is an advanced writing course with an emphasis on research and exploration of science topics within the STS degree. It prepares students to complete their capstone project the following semester.
Offerings: Fall 2021, 1 pm MWF, Dr. Olivia Burgess
Capstone Research and Project (STS 498)
Description: This course provides credit for researching and writing the final capstone project with the guidance of students’ advisors.
Offerings: Capstone courses are created when STS students reach their final year and are prepared to complete their project. STS students will work with their advisor for this course.
Required Support Courses Taught by Our Faculty
STS students are required to select several courses from this list to take.
Environmental Literature and Culture (ENGL 300)
Description: This course explores ideas about the nonhuman world and humans’ relationship to it through literature, film, music, and art. What is nature? What parts of nature do we love, hate, or fear? How have humans affected it, and what responsibility do humans have for protecting it?
Offerings: Spring 2022, Dr. Christy Tidwell
Environmental History of the US (HIST 492)
Description: Examines the relationship between the natural environment and the historical movements of humans by tracing US environmental changes, beginning with the activities of the Native American peoples through the Euro-American presence to the Cold War era.
Offerings: Fall 2022, Dr. Frank Van Nuys
Environmental Law and Policy (POLS 407)
Description: This course is an examination of the political issues involved with environmental and ecological concerns such as land use, population, air and water pollution, energy, and public policy. It offers students an opportunity to investigate in some detail the most significant environmental statutes, court decisions, and policies in the U.S. over the past several decades.
Offerings: Spring 2021, 10 am MWF, Dr. Frank Van Nuys
Criminology (SOC 351)
Description: This course takes a scientific approach to understanding crime and criminal behavior in the context of real communities and social policies. Students examine the collection of crime statistics, changes in criminal behavior over the last few decades, and various social responses to crime and criminals; considers the role of the law enforcement and the criminal justice system in the creation and control of crime; and attends to the many social factors that shape crime and its control (including race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and gender).
Offerings: Fall 2022, Dr. Kayla Pritchard
Licit and Illicit Drugs (SOC 411)
Description: This course is a survey of the use, abuse, and addictive properties of psychoactive drugs other than alcohol as well as approaches to prevention, treatment, and identification of use. In this course, students examine, among other topics, 1) the social construction of drugs and drug use, 2) the emergence of anti-drug crusades and drug il/legalization, and 3) the creation, cost, consequences, and legacy of the war on drugs.
Offerings: Fall 2021, 9 am MWF, Dr. Kayla Pritchard
Psychology of Abnormal Behavior (PSYC 451)
Description: This course is a comprehensive survey of abnormal personality and behavior. It includes an examination of the origins, symptoms and treatment of psychological disorders and emphasizes understanding abnormal behavior in its cultural and historical context.
Offerings: Fall 2021, 2 pm MWF, Dr. Danielle Brady
Theories of Personality (PSYC 461)
Description: The field of personality psychology consists of research and theory on the person, specifically how and why individuals differ from one another and what might be the cause of those differences. In this course we will examine historical and contemporary theories and the various factors (biological and social) that shape personality. There will be a strong emphasis on application to better understand yourself and those with whom you associate so you can apply what you learn in the real world.
Offerings: Fall 2020, 9:30 TR, Dr. Jonathan Gibson
Computers in Society (HUM 375)
Description: This course is about the relationship between people and computers. Students will learn competing accounts of how computers and the internet were invented and read texts (including comics) and watch documentaries, TV shows, and movies in order to discuss, debate, and write about how computers impact the way we relate to one another in work, school, home, and business–both in real life and in fiction.
Offerings: Fall 2021, 2 pm MWF, Dr. Erica Haugtvedt