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Science & Technology Studies Major

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Overview

Have you ever wondered about: 

  • The ethical issues surrounding new medical technology (such as stem cells)
  • The politics of climate change
  • The new social forms surrounding computers
  • The interaction between biotechnology and the law
  • The history of modern technology

The major in Science & Technology Studies aims to further students' understanding of the social and cultural meanings of science and technology. Ideal for students pursuing careers in law, public policy or management, as well as for scientists, engineers and others interested in science, technology and society.

Major Requirements

Prerequisites:

Note: No AP Credits are allowed to fulfill any A&S Distribution Requirements

I. Completion of one S&TS course.  

There are no other prerequisites, but students should plan to fulfill the science (PBS) and quantitative (MQR) requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences early in their college careers in order to be in a position to take additional science or engineering courses as outlined below.

NOTE: It is the student's responsibility to check the college requirements.

S&TS Course Requirements:

Note: All courses used to fulfill major requirements must be taken for a letter grade, and must be a C- or above.  One course may not be used to fulfill two major requirements. 

II. Core Course: One course: STS 2011

III. Three additional 2000 level courses.

IV. Additional S&TS courses to total 37 credit hours in the major. Four of these courses must be 3000 level or above and a minimum of two of these must be 4000 level or higher. 

V. Additional S&TS Courses (Additional courses(s) chosen from the S&TS list to total 37 credit hours in the major.)

VI. Science Requirement: Two courses in natural sciences or engineering (including computer science) in addition to the science requirement of the College of Arts and Sciences. Choice of these courses should be made in consultation with the student's major advisor.

NOTE: All courses chosen to fulfill Major requirements must be taken for a letter grade.

Major Forms:

Application Forms

Please print out and submit your completed Science & Technology Studies Major Application to 303B Morrill Hall by Friday, September 8, 2017.  

For a listing of Science & Technology Studies Courses, click here, or to pick up a paper version please stop by our main office, 303 Morrill Hall.

Minor

The undergraduate minor in Science & Technology Studies (S&TS) is designed for students who wish to engage in a systematic, interdisciplinary exploration of the role of science and technology in modern societies. The minor is intended for students with varied academic interests and career goals. Majors in the natural sciences and engineering have an opportunity to explore the social, political, and ethical implications of their selected fields of specialization, while students majoring in the humanities and social sciences have a chance to study the processes, products and impacts of science and technology from multiple disciplinary perspectives.

To satisfy the requirements for the S&TS minor, students must complete, with a letter grade of C- or above, a minimum of four courses, totaling 15 credits, selected from the course offerings listed for the major, excluding first-year writing seminars. The four courses must include one, 2000 level S&TS course and at least one course at the 3000 or 4000 level. No more than one course can be at the 1000 level. Students must apply by the end of week 3 in their final semester and declare the minor by the end of week 7 in their final semester. 

Interested students may obtain further information about courses and a list of course descriptions here, or by contacting the S&TS undergraduate office, 303 Morrill Hall (607-255-3810).

S&TS Minor Information

S&TS Minor Application 

Honors Program

The Honors Program is designed to provide independent research opportunities for academically talented Science &Technology Studies majors. Students who enroll in the honors program are expected to do independent study and research, with faculty guidance, on issues in science & technology studies. Students who participate in the program should find the experience intellectually stimulating and rewarding whether or not they intend to pursue a research career.

Selection of Students:

S&TS majors are considered for entry into the honors program at the end of the second semester of their junior year. Application forms for the honors program are available in the S&TS office, 303 Morrill Hall. To qualify for the S&TS honors program, students must have an overall Cornell cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.00 and a 3.30 cumulative GPA in courses taken for the major. Additionally, the student must have formulated a research topic, and have found a project supervisor and a second faculty member willing to serve as the advisors. Both must hold academic appointments at Cornell, and at least one must be a member of S&TS. Applications will be reviewed by a committee headed by the director of undergraduate studies, who will notify students directly of the outcome. 

Students will be permitted to register for the honors program only by permission of the department. Students must register for the total credits (8) for the whole year, 4 each semester in S&TS 4991, The Honors Project I and II. At the end of the first semester, the student will receive a grade of "R" for satisfactory progress. The grade recorded at the end of the second term evaluates the student's performance in the course for the entire year. 

If, after admission to the honors program, a student fails to maintain a high scholastic average, or for any other reason is considered unsuited for honors work, the student reverts to candidacy for the regular Bachelor's degree. The student who does not continue in the honors program must change the first semester to Independent Study in order to receive a grade, and is not eligible for the honors degree.

Program Requirements:

Students are required to complete two semesters of honors project research and to write an honors thesis. The project must include substantial research and the completed work should be of wider scope and greater originality than is normal for an upper-level course.

The student has primary responsibility for constituting a committee of two faculty advisors, formulating ideas, developing the proposal, carrying out the study, and preparing a suitable thesis. Honors projects will be carried out under the direction of the two faculty advisors mentioned above. Both must be members of the Cornell faculty; at least one must be a member of S&TS. The project supervisor should be expert in the topic and willing to serve as the primary advisor. In the second semester of the senior year, the DUS will appoint a third reader of the completed honors thesis.

Students must register for the total credits (8) for the whole year, 4 credits each semester in S&TS 4991, The Honors Project I and II. At the end of the first semester, the student will receive a grade of "R" for satisfactory progress. The grade recorded at the end of the second term evaluates the student's performance in the course for the entire year. Students should note that S&TS 4991 may not be used to fulfill any major requirements. The student and the thesis advisor must reach clear agreement at the outset as to what sort of work will need to be completed during the first semester. Minimally an honors thesis outline and bibliography should be accomplished. At the end of the first semester, the student will receive a grade of "R" for satisfactory progress. The advisors, in consultation with the director of undergraduate studies, will evaluate whether or not the student should continue working on an honors project. Students who do continue in the honors program for the second semester will receive a letter grade at the end of their final term for the entire year whether or not they complete a thesis and whether or not they are recommended for honors.

Students should meet regularly with their project supervisor during the period of research and writing for the honors thesis. The responsibility for scheduling these meetings, and for carrying out the research in timely fashion, rests with the student. Advisors are expected to make themselves available for discussion and to offer advice on the plan of research, as well as provide critical and constructive comments on the written work as it is completed. They are not expected, however, to pursue students to ensure that the research and writing are being done on schedule.

The Honors Thesis:

There is no prescribed length for a thesis, since different topics may require longer or shorter treatment, but it should normally be in the range of 70 - 100 double-spaced typed pages. The thesis must be completed in a form satisfactory for purposes of evaluation and submitted by April 15* to the two thesis advisors and to one other faculty member appointed by the director of undergraduate studies. The candidate must meet with the three readers for a formal defense of the thesis by April 29. *

One copy of the completed and defended thesis (suitably bound in a plastic or hard-backed cover), together with the advisors' recommendations, must be submitted to the director of undergraduate studies by May 15. *

Following the formal thesis defense, the thesis advisors will submit to the director of undergraduate studies a recommendation to include: 1) the evaluation of the honors thesis by the three readers; 2) an evaluation of the student's academic record in the Science & Technology Studies major; and 3) a recommendation for or against awarding honors, as well as a recommendation for the level of honors. As the director of undergraduate studies may have little knowledge of the subject area of the thesis, recommendations should be carefully prepared by the committed to help ensure consistency within the Honors Program. If there is disagreement among the readers, the director of undergraduate studies will make the final decision after consultation with the interested parties.

Summary of Important Dates:

  • September 2*:  Application for honors program submitted
  • April 15*:  Thesis completed in a form satisfactory for evaluation and submitted to the three readers
  • April 29*:  Thesis defense accomplished
  • May 13*:  Bound copy of completed and defended thesis submitted to director of undergraduate studies 

*If these dates fall on a weekend, the deadline will be the previous Friday. 

Contacts

Undergraduate Program Coordinator, Science & Technology Studies Major:
Stacey Stone
303B Morrill Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853 USA
Telephone: (607) 255-6047
Email: sms252@cornell.edu

Director of Undergraduate Studies:
Professor Rachel Prentice (rep35@cornell.edu