College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences


Perhaps the best way to get a clear sense of STS is to consider the careers for which an STS Major is useful. Very broadly speaking, the STS Major prepares students for jobs which require scientific and technological literacy as well as a broad perspective on science and technology and an ability to write and argue from this perspective. Such jobs include those in science and tech law, journalism, business, public interest advocacy, and public policy making.

In many cases these careers require further education after receiving an undergraduate degree. To see what sorts of graduate programs are available to those interested in STS-related careers, look at information about graduate programs in science and technology public policy making such as:

Or graduate programs in science and technology journalism, such as:

(For other such programs see the Directory of Science Communication Courses and Programs, compiled by Sharon Dunwoody of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Also see the National Association of Science Writers helpful FAQ for new and aspiring science writers)

Or graduate programs/law school programs in environmental and sustainability law, such as:

(For other such programs see the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s Sustainability-focused Joint Degree Programs.)

In sum, the STS Major opens opportunities for writing- and argument-intensive science-and technology-related careers which are alternative to careers as scientists or engineers (or other technologists).

By contrast, the STS Minor provides science and technology majors intending to be scientists or engineers with a sense of how science and technology exists in a broader human context. The STS Minor requires science and technology majors to systematically consider the historical, social, cultural, political, and ethical aspects of science and technology. This gives science and technology majors a better understanding of important practical aspects of science and technology, in particular, the complex interaction between science and technology on the one hand and society on the other. Such practical understanding helps put in clearer focus such issues as political influence on science and technology funding and the public understanding of science and technology.

In providing this broadening of perspective on science and technology, the STS Minor prepares science and technology majors to be better sensitive to social needs and to better understand the public's complex reaction to science and technology. In addition, the STS Minor also facilitates communication across disciplinary standpoints, even across standpoints as diverse as those in the natural sciences, engineering, the humanities, and the social sciences.