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Science, Technology and Society

Science, technology and society (STS) is an internationally recognized field of cross disciplinary study that integrates philosophical, social scientific and humanistic studies to better understand the natural and human-built world. The minor offers students the opportunity to critically examine science, technology and medicine as methods for reasoning about and acting upon the natural world as expressions of human cultures, past and present.

Students learn to scrutinize the ideas, reasoning, values, practices and artifacts embedded in the world they inhabit today. They explore how choices made within various historical, social, economic and political contexts sometimes influence the development of science, technology and medicine. They also see how the adoption and diffusion of ideas, artifacts and techniques can then influence individuals, society, politics and culture. Courses in this minor draw students together from diverse majors across the campus and encourage open inquiry into the role of science and technology in society.

The minor in STS is open to all undergraduate students at JMU. Courses taken to complete the STS minor can also be used to satisfy the student’s major and General Education requirements.

The STS minor requires 18 credit hours with at least one course each from the history, sociology and ISAT courses listed.

Required Courses    

Credit Hours

Choose one:


ISAT 131. Technology, Science, and Society


HIST 327. Technology in America


SOCI 315. Science, Technology, and Society


Elective courses


Choose five from at least four different programs/majors:


ANTH 340. The Invention of Race


ANTH 360. Medical Anthropology


ANTH 373. Anthropological Perspectives on Environment and Development


ARTH 303. History of Design


ARTH 376. Modern Architecture


CS 330. Societal and Ethical Issues in Computing


GEOG 322. Agricultural Systems


GEOG 325. Environmental Ethics


GEOG 344. Economic Geography and Development Issues


GEOG/ISAT 429. Sustainability: An Ecological Perspective


HIST 305. History of Science and Christianity


HIST 306. A History of the Body in the West


HIST 326. The Automobile in 20th Century America


HIST 327. Technology in America


HIST 404. Science and Society in Early Modern Europe


HIST 405. Travel and Exploration


HIST 427. U.S. Environmental History


HIST 443. Modern American Technology and Culture


ISAT 231. Political Economy of Technology and Science


ISAT 311. Role of Energy in Modern Society


ISAT 411. Energy Economics and Policy


ISAT 421. Environmental Policy and Regulation


ISAT 456. Ethical, Legal and Social Implications of Biotechnology


ISAT 464. Telecommunications in the Public Interest


ISAT 471. Transportation: Energy, Environment and Society


ISAT 477. Complex Systems and How They Fail


PHIL 396. Philosophy of Physics       


PHIL 397. Philosophy of Space and Time     


PHIL 398. Philosophy of Quantum Theory     


PHIL 410. Philosophy of Science


SOCI 311. Sociology of the Environment


SOCI 316. Space, Time and the Human Social Environment


SOCI 366. Sociology of Knowledge


SOCI 375. Medical Sociology 


WGS/ISAT 485. Gender Studies in Science


WRTC 358. Writing About Science and Technology      


WRTC 416/SCOM 465. Rhetoric of Environmental Science and Technology


WRTC 458. Scientific and Medical Communication



Special topics courses not listed can be applied to the minor with prior approval of the program coordinator.