Graduate Field Handbook

Program Overview

Established in 1991, Cornell’s Department and Graduate Field of Science & Technology Studies were formed from two previously independent Programs: “Science, Technology and Society” (STS) and “History and Philosophy of Science and Technology” (HPST). The department and graduate field brought together a group of scholars with convergent interests committed to the rigorous academic advancement of this new and exciting field.

Our aim is to bring together faculty and students with diverse backgrounds and interests in a shared effort to study science and technology with special tools for exploring distinctive questions. At the same time, these tools and questions are designed to facilitate conversations with colleagues in traditional disciplines. Our approach throughout is both descriptive (aimed at understanding how science and technology are done) and normative (for example, showing where actual practices and professed norms are in conflict).

Possible topics of investigation range from transformations in early-modern natural philosophy to the dynamics of contemporary environmental, biological, and technological change. The field transcends the boundaries of pre-existing disciplinary specialties. Such categories as “historian” or “sociologist,” may still be relevant for guiding research design, but they fail increasingly to capture the transdisciplinary character of S&TS investigations.

Faculty members in the S&TS graduate field provide ties to other departments and programs through their own wider affiliations. Cemented through joint appointments and graduate field memberships, these include History, Communication, Philosophy, Government, Sociology, Anthropology, Information Science, Peace Studies, Feminist, Gender & Sexuality Studies, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Human Development and Family Studies, and other areas of the social and natural sciences. Members of the field thus provide students with a considerable range of disciplinary expertise and perspectives.

The core faculty members of the graduate field are particularly noted for their work in the following areas: history and historiography of science and technology; human-animal relations; cultural anthropology; technology and society; social study of contemporary science and technology; engineering, environmental, and biomedical ethics; gender and technology; philosophy of science; politics of science and technology; and communication and popularization of science. Much of this work necessarily is historical, sociological, and political in the broadest sense, and it draws on the well-established traditions of expertise in such studies possessed by individual faculty members.

Learning Outcomes

Although faculty members advise students and assess their progress, the program is designed to enable students independently to develop ideas and plans for an original dissertation, rather than to take up problems assigned by a faculty supervisor. Specific proficiencies that are necessary for a career in S&TS (whether in a university department, government agency, or private research center) include the following:

  • Knowing the history of the S&TS field and its relation to other traditions such as the history and philosophy of science.

  • Becoming conversant with key problems, lines of debate, and avenues of inquiry in the current S&TS literature.

  • Developing an appreciation for different theoretical, philosophical, and ethical vantage points appropriate for participation in an interdisciplinary and international field.

  • Learning to identify important research problems and produce original research projects that address those problems.

  • Conducting interviews, participant observation, ethnography, archival research, and other relevant research activities in an effective and ethically responsible manner.

  • Writing professional quality (publishable) articles, reports, and grant proposals that propose or present original contributions to the social science and historical literature on science, technology, and medicine.

  • Presenting research papers and work-in-progress at professional workshops and academic conferences such as the annual meetings of the Society for Social Studies of Science, the History of Science Society, and Society for History of Technology.

  • Acquiring professional skills for organizing, presenting and participating in formal colloquia and workshops, as well as informal communication skills for exchanging ideas with colleagues (including leading figures) in the field.

  • Developing teaching skills and gaining teaching experience.

  • Learning to contribute to S&TS graduate field meetings, workshops, colloquia, and the Graduate Student Association at Cornell.

In addition to these proficiencies, a student’s dissertation project may require competency in a foreign language, and a degree of familiarity with the technical language and practices of the scientific field the student has chosen to investigate.

Equity Statement

Much of our research in Science & Technology Studies shows how concepts become institutionalized and come to be taken for granted. The language of “diversity and inclusion” has laid foundations for progressive movement in academia over the last few decades. But we also hear the voices of marginalized groups who tell us that an invitation to the table is only the first step in a longer trajectory toward building equity. The Cornell University Department of Science & Technology Studies has therefore adopted a foundation of equity and justice that involves (1) reorienting access to resources, (2) building networks of support around members of disenfranchised and structurally vulnerable groups, and (3) practicing humility by stepping back and listening to those we invite into our offices, lecture halls, conference rooms, and intellectual communities.

Building on that foundation, the S&TS Department seeks to increase substantive diversity and accessibility by promoting race-, gender-, and class-consciousness in our course offerings, curricula, and pedagogy; research agenda; recruitment and hiring practices; and department culture. We seek to proactively affirm marginalized groups and serve as allies with them against various forms of bigotry and oppression.

Our department is a warm and inviting community. We work to lift each other up and celebrate each other’s successes. We welcome constructive critique, encouraging all to feel they can safely speak across power differentials and have their ideas and expertise respected.

Required Coursework

Course requirements provide a foundation for students in S&TS, covering key questions and relevant research methods:

  1. Each student must successfully complete, prior to their A-exams: S&TS 7111, intended as an introduction to the field as a whole; S&TS 7005, a one-credit seminar is designed to introduce PhD students in Science & Technology Studies to the faculty in the graduate field and their scholarly interests and work; and S&TS 6311 a methods course. Student must also complete four additional S&TS courses that broadly cover the field, for a total of seven S&TS graduate level classes. At least four of the courses taken during a student's first year should be designated as S&TS.

  2. In their first semester of study students should take at least three graduate level classes, two of which should be S&TS 7111 Introduction to Science and Technology Studies and S&TS 7005 STS Perspectives.

  3. In their second semester of study students should take S&TS 6311 Qualitative Research Methods for Studying Science and at least one other course taught by a member of the S&TS graduate field. At least 4 S&TS classes at the graduate level should be completed in the first year.

  4. After the completion of the first year of academic study and prior to completion of the A-exam, students should take 2-3 graduate level courses per semester. To maintain full- time status, a total of 12 credits must be taken each semester. The Graduate School will automatically enroll students in one of their variable credit research classes, if less than 12 credits is taken in a semester.

  5. All students will be expected to achieve a level of competence in one language in addition to English sufficient for reading the literature in the student's research area. It will be up to the special committee to decide how this competence should be demonstrated. Additional languages may be required at the discretion of the special committee.


There are several requirements imposed by the Graduate School, referred to as “milestones” that all students must complete at certain points during the course of their doctoral studies at Cornell. These include:

  • Formation of a Special Committee

  • Completion of Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training

  • Completion of the Student Progress Review (SPR)

  • Timely completion of A and B Exams

  • Submission of the dissertation or thesis

The field of S&TS also imposes additional requirements upon students which include:

  • Completion of Q-Exam

  • Completion of Second Year Project

The following sections will cover these requirements in detail.

chart showing Research Doctoral or PhD Milestones

Time to Degree Limit

The maximum elapsed time from first registration to completion of all requirements is seven years. Extensions may be granted by submitting a General Petition form through the Graduate School. A detailed plan for completing all remaining degree requirements is required with the submission of this form.

Special Committees

The Cornell Graduate School requires students to assemble individually-tailored “special committees” to direct their programs of study. Graduate students must select at least two members of their three- (exceptionally four-) member committee from the S&TS field. The Chairperson must be a faculty member of the S&TS graduate field. The remaining members are chosen from Cornell’s graduate faculty as a whole. This system allows students to include faculty members from outside the field of S&TS on their committees, and thus introduces a degree of flexibility in the design of each student’s specific training and research program.

In consultation with their faculty advisers, graduate students in S&TS take active responsibility for the development of their own academic programs within the overall disciplinary context of S&TS. Students are assigned a temporary chairperson, which is chosen by the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) when they enter the S&TS graduate program.

Forming a Special Committee

The temporary chair serves as chair only during the first year unless the student elects for the temporary chair to continue as chair. Before the end of the third semester, the student must form their special committee, consisting of a chair (who may but need not be the temporary chair) and two other members of the S&TS Field. Students should discuss their research interests with faculty members and invite them to serve on their committee. The student must inform the Graduate School of their special committee members through Student Center.

Emeritus Faculty may continue to serve as chairs and minor members of special committees on which she or he was serving at the time of retirement. Emeritus Faculty may accept new appointments as either a co-chair or minor member following their retirement, if the faculty in the field have voted to approve them as a "Graduate School Professor of S&TS" to a five year, renewable term. The Emeritus faculty member must continue to reside in the Ithaca area.

Changing the Special Committee

Prior to the A-exam special committee members may be changed at any time through the Student Center. After the A-exam, the Post A Committee Change Petition must be filed with the Graduate School prior to any committee changes.

If a member of a student’s special committee leaves Cornell, that member must be replaced by a Cornell faculty member prior to the end of the semester.

Although it occurs only infrequently, any member, including a chair, may resign from a Special Committee. It is the student’s responsibility to reconstitute their Special Committee if this occurs, often with guidance from the field. Students who do not have a complete, valid Special Committee may not register or continue in their program.

Responsible Conduct of Research Training

Ethical researchers and scholars think critically about the impact of their behavior on others—their research subjects, students and trainees, advisors and other field faculty, and certainly the scientific community and society at large.

Every graduate student is required to complete training on Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR), addressing issues of authorship, peer review, plagiarism, and research misconduct. Each student must complete online training through Cornell’s Office of Research Integrity and Assurance prior to the end of the second registered semester. All graduate students must complete the “Short, Foundational course” on RCR.

Graduate students who receive salaries or stipends to conduct research on an NIH and/or NSF or USDA-NIFA award have additional training required. These students must take RCR training within 60 days of being named on that grant. The training required covers a number of RCR-related topics, and is called “Full Course” in RCR. A passing grade is 80% or higher. If an individual does not complete the training by the deadline, they may not be paid on that grant. If you are required to complete training on RCR because you are supported on a NSF, NIH, or USDA-NIFA grant, the Short Course does not meet the requirements of your sponsor, and you will need to take the Full Course on RCR.

Second Year Project

A central goal of the S&TS graduate curriculum is to prepare students for independent research. To achieve this goal, each student selects a topic related to some field of specialization within S&TS and explores it under the guidance of a faculty committee. This “Second Year Project”, to be completed prior to the end of a student’s second year in the S&TS program, creates a context for students to increase their familiarity with research techniques and strategies such as ethnographic fieldwork, interviewing, or primary source and archival work. Students are expected to present the results of their research in a departmental seminar and/or professional journal or meeting.

The Second Year Project provides an opportunity to do a piece of original, empirical research—from conception and research to write-up and presentation—early in the doctoral program. This project helps students understand the research process and assess the type of research they would like to pursue in future work. The Second Year Project is a piece of original research roughly equivalent to what could be produced during a semester- long research seminar, typically between 25 to 40 double-spaced pages. It should articulate a research question, engage with relevant literatures, and analyze primary empirical materials (the kind and number of sources really depend on the type of research, method, and analysis).

There is no single approach to the Second Year Project. Some students explore a prospective dissertation topic. Others examine a “side project” that interests (obsesses?) them. For some the Second Year Project becomes the seed of the dissertation, and it might even become a dissertation chapter. For others, developing the Second Year Project is helpful because they decide they do not want to pursue this topic for their dissertation after all. Each approach has its various advantages and disadvantages. The Second Year Project will therefore serve different aims depending on the particularities of a given student.


To complete their doctoral degree in the S&TS students need to complete three exams. The Q exam, taken at the end of a student’s first year; the A exam completed by the end of the third year of student, and the B exam completed sometime after the fifth year of study, which completes a student’s doctoral studies in S&TS.

Exam Schedule

  • Q exam: End of 1st year/start of second year

  • A Exam: By end of third year

  • Pre-B: After a draft dissertation is complete and your chair says that the B exam is ready to be scheduled. The pre-B must be taken not less than one month prior to B exam.

  • B Exam: When dissertation is completed. The B and pre-B are generally taken in or after the 5th year. (Note: Funding for students beyond the 5th year is not guaranteed.)


The Q-Exam is not really a formal exam. It is a check-up to make sure that everything is going well and to assist students in planning for their Second Year Project and A-Exams. Copies of all papers written during the year should be provided to faculty attending the Q- Exam.

The Q-exam committee consists of your temporary chair, along with two professors, selected by the student, from classes they have taken in the Fall and Spring semesters.

Q-exams need to be scheduled at the end of a student’s second semester.


The A Exam is also known as the Examination for Admission to Candidacy. In S&TS, this oral exam typically includes a significant written component, as determined by your Special Committee. Passing the A Exam means the graduate faculty believes that you are ready to proceed into the dissertation phase of your degree program.

The A-Exam is expected to be taken by May 1 of the sixth semester. Students who have not completed an A exam will not be eligible for summer support in their third summer.

The A-Exams prepare you for the three fields you are examined in (if you want a fourth member on your committee, it is easier to add them after the A-Exam; however, some students decide to do four fields). It enables faculty to write letters of recommendation that you have in-depth knowledge of these fields and could teach them, if need be. It is also one of those rare occasions when your committee is together and you get a chance to discuss your project in great depth. It is a chance for students to demonstrate their knowledge and passion and get helpful feedback on how to improve their dissertation proposal.

Students must schedule exams with the Graduate School at least seven calendar days in advance by filing the proper examination scheduling form. Examination results must be filed with the Graduate School within three business days of the exam. Both forms are available on the Graduate School website.


The B Exam is an oral defense of your dissertation. This exam is taken after completing all degree requirements. Successful completion of the B exam means that a student has demonstrated a comprehensive knowledge of their area of study and is ready to be awarded their doctoral degree.

In S&TS, students also complete a pre-B examination prior to the B exam. The pre-B provides an opportunity for the student to receive detailed feedback on the dissertation from their entire special committee while there is still time to do some revisions. After a draft dissertation is complete and your chair says that it is time, the pre-B will be scheduled. The pre-B must take place at least a month prior to the date of the B exam.

Timeline for Completing and Submitting the Dissertation

Students are required to submit a completed dissertation draft for committee review six weeks prior to holding the B exam. As with the A exam, students must schedule their B exam with the Graduate School at least seven calendar days in advance by filing the proper examination scheduling form. Examination results must be filed with the Graduate School within three business days of the exam. Both forms are available on the Graduate School website. Submission of the final dissertation must be within 60 days of the B exam.

Students who miss the 60 day submission deadline are ineligible to register in future terms.

Understanding the steps and associated deadlines in the dissertation and degree conferral process is necessary to establish a successful plan and realistic timeframe. The major steps are:

  1. Complete draft of dissertation

  2. Schedule pre-B exam; the pre-B must take place at least a month before the B exam

  3. Complete pre-B exam.

  4. Schedule B exam and submit Schedule B Exam paperwork to the Graduate School. The B exam must be scheduled at least 7 days in advance.

  5. Take B exam and submit B Exam Results Form to the Graduate School

  6. Make revisions to dissertation

  7. Less than 60 days after the B exam: Submit final electronic dissertation (ETD) to the Graduate School. The dissertation will be made available via ProQuest

Conferral of the PhD Degree

Degrees are awarded in May, August, and December. Please carefully check the deadline for you to submit the final electronic copy of the dissertation for the conferral date you are considering. Then work backwards, leaving plenty of time for all of the steps. Remember that your committee members have busy schedules. You have to leave time for them to read your dissertation. Finding times when all of your committee members can meet for the pre-B and B-exam can also introduce delay. Final revisions also include putting the dissertation in the proper format for electronic publication. Be sure to obtain a copy of those instructions and leave time for that as well. It generally takes three or four months from initiating the process of completion till conferral of the degree. The deadlines for conferral are not flexible, so if you miss the deadline, then you degree will be conferred on the next conferral date.

Student Progress Review

The Graduate School implemented the Student Progress Review (SPR) requirement in 2017 at the request of students and faculty to support the regular exchange of constructive, written feedback between advisees and advisors. It codifies a process for research degree students and their Special Committees to have at least one formal conversation per year about academic progress and future plans. Using the SPR form, students are asked to reflect on their recent accomplishments, identify challenges, and set goals. Committee chairs then review their students’ SPR forms and enter constructive feedback. Chairs indicate whether progress has been excellent, satisfactory, needs improvement, or is unsatisfactory. Feedback that is documented on the SPR will be made available to the student, all members of the student’s special committee, and the DGS and Graduate Field Assistant (GFA).

Overview of the SPR Process

Step 1: In S&TS the deadline for completing the SPR at the end of May each year. Prior to the deadline the Graduate Field Assistant will send students instructions and a link to the SPR form at the appropriate time.

Step 2: Student schedules the SPR meeting with their advisor/chair

Step 3: Student completes their portion of the SPR form.

Step 4: SPR face-to-face dialog.

Step 5: If the student saved their SPR form as a draft, they may edit the form after meeting with their chair and/or Special Committee. Upon submission by the student, the form is routed to the Special Committee chair (after this point the student cannot edit the SPR form unless it is returned to them by their chair).

Step 6: The Special Committee chair enters written comments and evaluates student progress.

Step 7: Contents of the form will be available to the student, the student’s special committee, DGS, and GFA.

Student Statuses

During the course of your graduate studies in the S&TS program, it is likely that you maintain several different student statuses.

Active Status

Active status is the status you are automatically registered in when you begin your studies at Cornell. This status is intended for full-time, in-person graduate course work and research on campus. To maintain active status, you must be enrolled in at least 12 credits per semester, have no outstanding bursar charges, and have completed all appropriate milestones.

In Absentia Status

Upon the completion of their A exams, students commonly switch their status to In Absentia. This status is for students who plan to leave the Ithaca area to conduct approved research or study 100 miles or more away from the Cornell campus while still under the guidance of their special committee.

To register for in absentia status, submit an In Absentia Petition with a study plan approved by your special committee outlining how you will accomplish your degree requirements. Approval by the Graduate School is required. In absentia students are charged $200 tuition/semester.

When you are in approved in absentia status you are eligible for fellowships, assistantships, the student health plan, and educational loans as in on-campus registration status. The same limitations on employment apply for in absentia students as for on- campus students; time away from campus is expected to focus on making academic progress.

You may request in absentia status for a maximum of two academic semesters at a time. In absentia status is not automatically extended; you must submit a new petition justifying the need for the extension. If you request an extension, your study plan must include what research you have completed and what research still needs to be done. You may register in absentia for no more than a total of eight academic semesters.

Personal leave of absence

Under certain circumstances, students may wish to take a personal leave of absence for a non-medical and non-children-related reason. Common reasons students take a personal leave include family situations, financial situations, or a need to re-evaluate their interests and goals. A personal leave of absence is for a period of up to 12 months with annual renewal possible for a total of four years. A student is not permitted to return from a personal leave after an academic term has begun. The Graduate School may permanently withdraw students who do not return from a personal leave of absence. Time away on a leave of absence does not count toward time to degree. The original offer of financial support made at time of admissions is not guaranteed to students returning from a personal leave.

Students who take personal leaves are not registered with the university and therefore are not eligible for privileges afforded to register1e3d students, including, but not limited to, residing in university housing, accessing university resources, and receiving direct supervision by faculty members. Your Cornell email account will remain active while you are on leave.

Health leave of absence

A health leave of absence is a voluntary separation from the university for health reasons and allows the student to “stop the clock” on academic responsibilities while prioritizing health needs. Only the student can initiate this voluntary process. Any student who may be interested in initiating a health leave of absence should seek guidance from their health care provider, the Health Leaves Coordinator (, or the Graduate School to help determine when this course of action is appropriate. Some common signs that a health leave might be beneficial include:

  • Your medical condition has made it difficult for you to focus or concentrate.

  • Your medical condition has left you lacking the motivation needed to successfully pursue graduate studies.

  • Your medical condition has made it difficult to complete your academic or research requirements.


Often graduate and professional students will take a health leave of absence when:

  • The individual students believe this is the best course of action for them.

  • There has been a medical assessment from a provider who has recommended that the student take a break from their academic pursuits.

  • They seek to take a leave before the quality of their academic work suffers and becomes noticeable by the faculty. Typically, faculty members are very helpful and supportive when health is a concern; however, there can be limits to how long they are able to be supportive if a lack of academic progress due to health issues continues for an extended period of time. It is best to take a health leave before problems with academic and assistantships become too severe. It is important for students to engage in productive communications with their Special Committee Chair and DGS about their future academic plans.

The duration of the leave will depend upon the time you need for treatment and/or recovery, along with the resolution of any academic conditions determined by your graduate program.

The Graduate School allows health leave of absence status at increments of 12 months with a possible annual renewal for up to four years total. Depending on your academic program will determine the flexibility of when you will be able to return. You may not return from a leave within the semester that the leave was taken and you must return at the start of a Fall, Spring or Summer semester.

Time away does not count toward time to degree. Financial support is not available to a student on a health leave. While you are on a health leave of absence, you will not be a registered student. This will have an impact on your access to university services, but there are some resources, particularly on the Ithaca campus, that students on a health leave can continue to use.

In brief, if you are on a health leave, you will no longer have access to campus facilities and services that you would normally access with your NetID. However, your Cornell email will remain active for the duration of your health leave of absence. You may request library privileges with support from your academic advisor and director of graduate studies, and pay any applicable fees.

Leave upon Completion of Degree

Registered students who complete all degree requirements prior to the end of the fall or spring semester may request a Leave upon Completion. Tuition will be prorated according to a daily pro-rated schedule. The effective date of this leave will be when ProQuest confirms submission of the dissertation.


Students may withdraw voluntarily at any time. Withdrawal is appropriate for students who do not intend to resume studies or to complete an advanced degree at Cornell University. Students may also be withdrawn if they fail to complete milestones at the appropriate time, have outstanding bursar charges, or have academic integrity issues.

Descriptions of graduate program leaves

Student Funding

Students in the S&TS program are guaranteed five years of funding, with two years of Sage fellowship and three years of assistantship positions, usually as teaching assistants (TA) but sometimes as research assistants (RA). Four years of summer funding are also provided, if certain conditions set by the Graduate School are met.

Typical Funding Package

  • First year SAGE Fellowship

  • 2nd year TA

  • 3rd Year TA

  • SAGE Dissertation Year Fellowship

  • o Note: students must complete A-exam prior to beginning the Sage Dissertation Year Fellowship

  • 5th Year TA

Requirements for Summer Funding

Students will be eligible for the first and second summers of funding only if they file with the Graduate School by May 1 of that year an academic plan describing the anticipated summer academic activities and outcomes.

To be eligible for second-summer funding, a student must have assembled the Special Committee before the end of the third semester of registration, as required in the Code of Legislation (and must file an academic plan by May 1, as above).

Students will be eligible for third-summer funding only if they have passed the A exam or have filed an exam scheduling form by May 1 of that year that indicates they are scheduled to attempt the A-exam prior to the start of their seventh semester of enrollment, as required in the Code of Legislation, and if they have filed with the Graduate School by May 1 an academic plan describing anticipated summer academic activities and outcomes.

Students will be eligible for fourth-summer funding only after passing the A exam, and only by application. A student must submit an application to the Graduate School for fourth summer of support by May 1 of that year, describing the scholarly work completed with the third summer of support and stating the academic objectives to be undertaken during the fourth summer. Graduate School staff will review the applications.

SAGE Dissertation Year Funding

The dissertation-year fellowship (second year Sage) will be available only to students who have passed the A exam. In addition, students seeking the dissertation-year fellowship must have written and submitted an external fellowship or grant proposal before the dissertation-year fellowship is awarded, to encourage all students to pursue external funding.

Other Sources of Funding

Students are encouraged to explore and apply for funding—in the department, at Cornell, and through funding sources outside the institution. Students should consider applying for national fellowships, such as NSF graduate fellowships, which offer full support for up to three years, and NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grants. In addition, Cornell has many internal sources of money for additional summer support, travel, and conference attendance. If you are awarded an external fellowship for one year, it will not mean you are supported for an additional year, rather the fellowship will substitute for other means of support. Prestigious fellowships will enhance your CV and may enable you to substitute grant support for a TA.

UCLA runs an excellent scholarship database Emails will also be sent to the student email list with external funding opportunities. If you do win an external fellowship, please send the award letter to the Graduate Field Assistant, so he update the relevant records and inform the Graduate School.

TA Assignments

Late in the Spring Semester, an email will be sent to all graduate students requesting their TA course preferences. Students are not guaranteed that they will TA for their preferred class. TA spots are only reserved for students within their guaranteed funding period, however if spaces are available TA positions will be offered to students beyond their guaranteed funding period.

Applying for a Grant to Support Your Doctoral Research

When it comes time for you to be considering applying for a grant to support your doctoral research, which you will decide in collaboration with your committee, there are a lot of resources available to assist you in that effort. You are encouraged to seek funding from external sources appropriate to your field of research; however, the most common application is to the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant (DDRIG). These grants are specifically for graduate students working on PhD research and are a common source for our students to support research expenses. The grants typically provide $10,000 in funding plus the required indirect cost (IDC), the rate for which will vary based on fiscal year of the grant inception as well as whether your research is to be done on or off campus. The DDRIG grants are intended for Students who have completed their A-exam.

Your doctoral committee chair will be the official Principal Investigator (PI) listed on the grant, the student is listed as a co-PI. You should discuss your ideas for your proposal with your chair and begin the writing process well before the grant application deadline.

The first step in the process of submitting your grant proposal to NSF is to have your committee chair initiate the grant application in Fastlane (the federal government system in which an NSF proposal is submitted) as well as in the Research Administration

Support System (RASS) where you will, at a minimum, complete the information necessary to submit the “Form 10.” The Form 10 information is required by Cornell’s Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) and guides them in initiating appropriate review of the proposal. The RASS and a plethora of helpful information regarding system usage is available here:

Please note that the RASS system and a Form 10 are used for ALL grant submissions regardless of the funding agency to which you are applying. Fastlane may NOT be the appropriate system in which to submit the proposal if it is not an NSF-funded application. Research Services, another division of OSP, has an extremely helpful website to assist you in preparing all of the sections of your proposal as well as links for rates you’ll need to reference, training requirements, etc. Click on “prepare a proposal” here to get started: Again, this information is helpful for any grant submission.

Assistance with the content of the proposal should be sought from your committee chair. The STS department manager can assist you with the development of the budget and justification, and will provide a review of the full proposal submission prior to its release to OSP for review. In general, the deadline for NSF grant submission is early August, so you should plan on a mid-July deadline for finalization of the proposal so that it can be reviewed by both the department and OSP fully before they submit it to NSF. It is recommended that you engage the department manager regarding your intent to apply by early May at the latest.

If you are successful in obtaining a grant that will be administered by the university (all NSF grants are administered by the university) vs. a fellowship paid directly to you by the granting agency, the department manager will provide you with an information sheet regarding how to access the funds and the rules that cover the use of funds and reimbursement of expenses. Questions about grant application or usage may always be addressed to the department manager.

Department Staff

Sarah Albrecht, Department Manager 607-255-6043
Morrill Hall, Room 303D
Sarah can assist in addressing immigration issues; building space; and funding concerns, including submission of grant proposals.

Bailey Colvin, Event Coordinator/STS Minor Coordinator 607-255-3810
Morrill Hall, Room 303
Bailey assists with planning SSRGs and other events in the department.

Sara Hatfield, Course Coordinator 607-255-6234 
Morrill Hall, Room 303C
Speak to Sara to arrange independent study or if you are interested in applying to teach a Freshman Writing Seminar.

Matthew Morgan, Graduate Field Coordinator, Undergraduate Program Coordinator 607-255-6047
Morrill Hall, Room 303B
Matthew will be your main point of contact in the department. He maintains records for all graduate students, tracks your progress in the program, and can inform you of policies governing graduating students and assist you in navigating the Graduate School bureaucracy.

Christine Ward, Undergraduate Support Specialist (Biology & Society) 607-255-6047 
Morrill Hall, Room 303B
Christine supports undergraduate Biology & Society students from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Graduate Student Association

The STS GSA is our department's Graduate Student Association, and it is linked with the broader Graduate and Professional Students' Association (GPSA). It is generally made up of a president, vice president (SSRG coordinator), and treasurer, though this is subject to change depending on who is available and who is willing. The GSA's primary responsibility is to serve as a space for official interaction between graduate students and faculty in the department, alongside maintaining a sense of departmental community. The major tasks that are part of the GSA's purview include organizing weekly SSRGs, coordinating a semesterly meeting with the DGS and the graduate students, ensuring there is a graduate student representative at faculty meetings, and providing budgets to the GPSA such that we can secure funding for things like SSRG meals and visiting scholars. The GSA also maintains the STS grad listserv, purchases end of semester gifts for staff in the fall semester, and organizes social and professional events for the graduate students like career-development seminars, picnics, and movie nights. The GSA has historically been composed of second year students, though this is subject to change depending on the year.

The official GSA for 2021-2022 will be composed of Jason Ludwig (president) and Yue Zhao (SSRG coordinator).

Science Studies Reading Group

The Science Studies Reading Group (SSRG) meets weekly during the Fall and Spring semesters to provide a forum for faculty and graduate students to discuss their work. It is an excellent venue for work-in-progress talks, and students are expected to attend and participate. The current SSRG schedule is available here.      

Updated 10/14/21