Undergraduate Minor in STS

As our students enter into a world of accelerating change, it has become ever more important that these future scientists, engineers, computer and data scientists, health care practitioners, social scientists, teachers, policymakers, and more be able to reason about the social and ethical implications of science and technology in their fields and in public life. The Undergraduate Minor in Science, Technology and Society (STS) brings Berkeley undergraduates to the forefront of understanding the global impact of science, technology and medicine-related challenges. 

The STS Minor provides students critical thinking skills to effectively contribute to a world shaped by computing and artificial intelligence, environmental change, new medical technologies, and genetic engineering. Students engage with current technoscientific issues in historical context, develop capacities to examine scientific and technical processes, and practice speaking about them effectively to multidisciplinary audiences.

What is STS?

Science & Technology Studies has the capacity to forge new thinking and new collaborations at the intersection of the sciences and society. 

As a multidisciplinary field with a signature capacity to rethink the relationship among science, technology, and political and social life, Science and Technology Studies is particularly well placed to address the critical problems of the 21st century. From global climate change to the reanimation of race through genomics, from political movements galvanized through new media, to efforts to improve access to medicines for the world’s poor, the pressing problems of our time are simultaneously scientific and social, technological and political, ethical and economic.

Given the complex nature of our world, entrenched disciplinary divides have become increasingly untenable as the basis for research, and for the training of scholars and social actors. Science and Technology Studies is drawing the interest of ever-increasing numbers of students and faculty because of its unique ability to help us understand the complexity of contemporary and historical problems, and because it can help us craft intellectual projects and modes of engagement that reflect this complexity more fully. Several generations of innovative work in the philosophy, history, rhetoric, and social studies of science and technology have generated influential languages, platforms, and methods for understanding the interplay between science, technology, and social-political formations – domains that are too often treated separately. This virtue is being recognized and reflected in the growing interest in the field: Science and Technology Studies is one of the fastest growing areas in the social sciences and humanities, nationwide and internationally.

Disciplinary lines and research landscapes are starting to shift in directions anticipated by Science and Technology Studies. National directives now encourage the participation of social scientists in engineering research; medical schools increasingly require applicants to train in the humanities; and emerging fields such as ‘green chemistry’ demand heterodox approaches to thinking about environmental and social parameters, the properties of chemical substances, and shifting industrial horizons. Meanwhile, cutting-edge work in the humanities and social sciences has made science and technology central to the humanistic project, examining for example, the past and future of the book, historical and contemporary foundations of race and racial identity, or ethical debates over biomedicine and the boundaries of the body. Indeed, the humanities and social sciences are recognized as key fields from which crucial questions about science and technology emerge, helping us understand when and why particular research programs become dominant, attending to the effects and implications of new technologies and knowledges, and placing ethical and social inquiries at the center of scientific enterprises. Science and Technology Studies organizes and galvanizes precisely these kinds inquiries and approaches.

To Apply for the Undergraduate Minor in STS:



DEADLINE TO DECLARE OR COMPLETE STS MINOR: APRIL 4, 2022.

To declare the minor:

  1. Complete the core course with a C (2.0) or better. In Spring 2022, the core course is HIST 182A. After Spring 2022, the core course is STS 100.
  2. Complete the STS Minor Application (FORTHCOMING), listing your proposed (or any already-taken) elective courses, to declare the minor by the deadline listed above.

The STS Minor advisor will notify the student whether their proposal satisfies the requirements for the minor, and will advise the student on their proposed self-designed pathway, if applicable.

To complete the minor:

  1. Complete four upper-division electives toward the minor. See below for suggested paths through the minor and elective options.
  2. Petition (FORTHCOMING) to have STS any elective courses not currently on the approved list (if any) included in your minor. These must be upper-division or graduate-level courses.
  3. Complete the STS Minor Application (FORTHCOMING) with all upper-division elective terms and grades entered to complete the minor by the deadline listed above.
  4. NOTE: If you will be completing courses toward the minor during your graduating semester, please email cstms@berkeley.edu to let us know by the deadline listed above. Then, complete the STS Minor Application form as soon as your grades are posted and email cstms@berkeley.edu again.
  5. Complete the general minor petition in L&S or your home college.

Upon approval, the STS Minor advisor will notify the student that they have successfully completed the requirements for the minor.

Learning Objectives

Students who complete the STS Minor will be able to: 

  • Understand the historical arcs of scientific and technological innovations, with an appreciation for how they are socially constructed, historically contingent, and contested;
  • Reason critically about scientific and technological development processes in both public and professional contexts, including how they interact with policy, institutions, and various forms of global social inequity; and
  • Imagine just technoscientific futures through developing a broad set of humanistic sensibilities and critical skills while being attuned to the social and ethical contexts of their work.

Program Requirements and Recommendations

Students must take one required upper-division core course and four upper-division elective courses that relate to Science, Technology and Society and are taught by affiliated faculty.

In Spring 2022, the required core course is HIST 182A, Science, Technology, and Society. After Spring 2022, the required core course is History 182C/STS C100, Introduction to Science, Technology, and Society.

Students have the option to choose one of four pathways through the Minor, selecting their four electives from among the approved courses in that pathway, or to design their own pathway in consultation with the Minor Advisor. Each elective may be no fewer than 3 units. See below for a list of approved upper-division elective courses.

A lower-division gateway course of HIST 30A, HIST 30B, DATA 4AC, ANTHRO 84, and/or ISF 60 for the minor is recommended but not required. These courses serve as channels to the Minor, familiarizing students with fundamental STS topics and setting them up to succeed in the Minor.

Pathways through the STS Minor

Students may follow one of four recommended pathways through the Minor, detailed below, or propose their own pathway in consultation with the STS Minor Advisor when declaring the Minor. These pathways draw on approved course offerings curated by the Center for Science, Technology, Medicine and Society and offer guidance on how the STS Minor complements popular majors on campus including computer science, data science, molecular and cell biology, sociology, history, environmental studies, and more. They have been developed in consultation with the STS faculty across UC Berkeley. They are:

  1. History and Philosophy of Science
  2. Medicine, the Body, and Society
  3. Environmental Change and Society
  4. The Human Contexts of Data and Computing

A list of courses for each pathway is provided below.

Course Policies Regarding the STS Minor

One of the four elective courses that counts toward the minor can be taken outside UC Berkeley (pending the approval of the undergraduate minor advisor); the rest must be taken at UC Berkeley and cannot be transferred from other institutions. The core course must be taken at UC Berkeley.

Students must take all five minor courses for a letter grade, and maintain an average of 2.0 in those courses, to fulfill the minor. There is no overall minimum GPA requirement to declaring or completing the minor.

Students may use a single course from a single major to satisfy a minor requirement. The overlapping course must not exceed four units.

Upper-Division Elective Courses for the STS Minor

Following is a list of courses in each of the predefined pathways of the STS Minor, as well as a full list of STS-related courses that can be used as electives for the Minor if a student chooses to build their own pathway.

Upper-division and graduate-level STS-related courses not currently on the list of approved electives can be approved by petition to the STS Minor advisor. Students must submit the syllabus of the course with their petition. Eligible courses must be at least three units and be taken for a letter grade.

Courses for the STS Minor Pathways

Students who choose one of the pathways through the STS Minor will choose from the following courses to complete the Minor:

1. The History and Philosophy of Science

  1. ANTHRO 155: Modernity
  2. HIST 100S: Special Topics in the History of Science
  3. HIST 138/138T: History of Science in the U.S.
  4. HIST 180/180T: The Life Sciences since 1750
  5. HIST 182A/AT: Science, Technology, and Society 
  6. HIST C191: Death, Dying, and Modern Medicine: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives
  7. INFO 103: History of Information
  8. LD ARCH C171: The American Designed Landscape Since 1850
  9. PHIL 121: Moral Questions of Data Science
  10. PHIL 128: Philosophy of Science
  11. POLECON W160A: Political Economy in Historical Context: The Twentieth Century: Economies, Societies, Polities, Technologies 
  12. RHETOR 107: Rhetoric of Scientific Discourse
  13. RHETOR 115: Technology and Culture
  14. RHETOR 145: Science, Narrative, and Image

2. Medicine, the Body, and Society

  1. ANTHRO 115: Introduction to Medical Anthropology
  2. ANTHRO 119: Special Topics in Medical Anthropology
  3. CHICANO 176: Chicanos and Health Care
  4. DEMOG C126, SOCIO C126: Sex, Death, and Data
  5. ENGLISH 172: Literature and Psychology 
  6. ESPM 162: Bioethics and Society
  7. ESPM 162A: Health, Medicine, Society and Environment
  8. GWS 130AC: Gender, Race, Nation, and Health
  9. GWS 131: Gender and Science
  10. HIST C191: Death, Dying, and Modern Medicine: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives
  11. INTEGBI 117: Medical Ethnobotany (2 units, it needs to be taken with 117LF to make up 4 units)
  12. LEGALST 151 Law, Self, and Society 
  13. LEGALST 156 Bioethics and the Law 
  14. LEGALST 168 Sex, Reproduction and the Law
  15. L&S 180AC Archaeology of Sex and Gender
  16. PBHLTH 116: Seminar on Social, Political, and Ethical Issues in Health and Medicine
  17. PBHLTH C155: Sociology of Health and Medicine
  18. SOCIO C115: Sociology of Health and Medicine
  19. SOCIO 115G: Health in a Global Society
  20. UGIS 110: Introduction to Disability Studies
  21. UGIS C133 Death, Dying, and Modern Medicine: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

3. Environmental Change and Society

  1. ANTHRO 137: Energy, Culture and Social Organization 
  2. ENERES W100/C100: Energy and Society
  3. ENERES 101: Ecology and Society
  4. ENERES 131: Data, Environment and Society
  5. ENERES 160: Climate Justice
  6. ENERES 171: California Water
  7. ENGIN 157AC, IAS 157AC: Engineering, The Environment, and Society
  8. ENGLISH 180Z: Science Fiction
  9. ESPM 151: Society, Environment, and Culture
  10. ESPM 161: Environmental Philosophy and Ethics 
  11. ESPM 163AC: Environmental Justice: Race, Class, Equity, and the Environment
  12. ESPM C167/PUB HLTH C160: Environmental Health and Development
  13. GEOG 108: Geographies of Energy: The Rise and Fall of the Fossil Fuel Economy 
  14. GEOG 130: Food and the Environment
  15. LD ARCH C171: The American Designed Landscape Since 1850
  16. PBHLTH 101: A Sustainable World: Challenges and Opportunities
  17. SOCIO 137AC: Environmental Justice: Race, Class, Equity, and the Environment

4. The Human Contexts of Data and Computing

  1. AFRICAM 134/C134, AMERSTUD C134: Information Technology and Society 
  2. AFRICAM 136L: Criminal Justice and Surveillance in America
  3. BIOENG 100: Ethics in Science and Engineering
  4. DATA C104: Human Contexts and Ethics of Data
  5. ENGIN 125: Ethics, Engineering, and Society
  6. ENGLISH 180Z: Science Fiction
  7. FILM 155: Media Technologies
  8. INFO 103: History of Information
  9. INFO 188: Behind the Data: Humans and Values
  10. ISF 100D: Introduction to Technology, Society, and Culture
  11. ISF 100G: Introduction to Science, Society, and Ethics
  12. ISF 100J: The Social Life of Computing
  13. JOURN 124: Introduction to Data Journalism 
  14. LEGALST 123 Data, Prediction & Law 
  15. LEGALST 149 Law, Technology and Entrepreneurship
  16. LEGALST 152AC Human Rights & Technology
  17. LEGALST 182 Law, Politics and Society
  18. L&S 128 Crowds and Clouds
  19. NWMEDIA 151AC Transforming Tech: Issues and Interventions in STEM and Silicon Valley
  20. PHIL 121: Moral Questions of Data Science
  21. POLECON 156 Silicon Valley and the Global Economy
  22. RHETOR 115: Technology and Culture
  23. SOCIO 166: Society and Technology
  24. SOCIO 167: Virtual Communities/Social Media
  25. UGIS 162Q Youth, Social Media and Development

Courses for Students Building Their Own Pathways 

This is a broad list of courses that students should reference if they elect to build their own pathway through the Minor, in collaboration with the Minor advisor.

African American Studies (AFRICAM): 

  1. AFRICAM 112A, 112B: Political and Economic Development in the Third World
  2. AFRICAM 134/C134: Information Technology and Society 
  3. AFRICAM 136L: Criminal Justice and Surveillance in America
  4. AFRICAM 181AC: Prison

American Studies (AMERSTD): 

  1. AMERSTD 101: Examining U.S. Cultures in Time
  2. AMERSTD C134 Information Technology and Society
  3. AMERSTD C172 History of American Business

Anthropology (ANTHRO): 

  1. ANTHRO 115: Introduction to Medical Anthropology
  2. ANTHRO 119: Special Topics in Medical Anthropology
  3. ANTHRO 137: Energy, Culture and Social Organization 
  4. ANTHRO 150 Utopia: Art and Power in Modern Times 
  5. ANTHRO 155: Modernity

Bioengineering (BIOENG):

  1. BIOENG 100: Ethics in Science and Engineering

Chicano Studies (CHICANO): 

  1. CHICANO 176: Chicanos and Health Care

Data Science (DATA): 

  1. DATA C104: Human Contexts and Ethics of Data

Demography (DEMOG): 

  1. DEMOG C126: Sex, Death, and Data 

Digital Humanities (DIGHUM):

  1. DIGHUM 100: Theory and Method in the Digital Humanities

Energy and Resources Group (ENERES):

  1. ENERES W100/C100: Energy and Society
  2. ENERES 101: Ecology and Society
  3. ENERES 131: Data, Environment and Society
  4. ENERES 160: Climate Justice
  5. ENERES 171: California Water

Engineering (ENGIN): 

  1. ENGIN 125: Ethics, Engineering, and Society
  2. ENGIN 157AC: Engineering, The Environment, and Society

English (ENGLISH): 

  1. ENGLISH 145: Writing Technology
  2. ENGLISH 172: Literature and Psychology
  3. ENGLISH 180Z: Science Fiction

Environmental Science, Policy and Management (ESPM): 

  1. ESPM 151: Society, Environment, and Culture
  2. ESPM 161: Environmental Philosophy and Ethics 
  3. ESPM 162: Bioethics and Society
  4. ESPM 162A: Health, Medicine, Society and Environment
  5. ESPM 163AC: Environmental Justice: Race, Class, Equity, and the Environment
  6. ESPM C167/PUB HLTH C160: Environmental Health and Development

Film & Media Studies (FILM): 

  1. FILM 155: Media Technologies

Gender and Women’s Studies (GWS): 

  1. GWS 102: Transnational Feminism
  2. GWS 130AC: Gender, Race, Nation, and Health
  3. GWS C155: Race, Space, and Inequality
  4. GWS 131: Gender and Science

Geography (GEOG): 

  1. GEOG 108: Geographies of Energy: The Rise and Fall of the Fossil Fuel Economy 
  2. GEOG 130: Food and the Environment

History (HIST): 

  1. HIST 100S: Special Topics in the History of Science
  2. HIST 138/138T: History of Science in the U.S.
  3. HIST 180/180T: The Life Sciences since 1750
  4. HIST 182A/AT: Science, Technology, and Society (note: this serves as the core STS Minor course in 2021-2022)
  5. HIST C184D: Human Contexts and Ethics of Data
  6. HIST C191: Death, Dying, and Modern Medicine: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

International and Area Studies (IAS):

  1. IAS 157AC: Engineering, the Environment, and Society

Information (INFO): 

  1. INFO 103: History of Information
  2. INFO 188: Behind the Data: Humans and Values

Integrative Biology (INTEGBI): 

  1. INTEGBI 117: Medical Ethnobotany (2 units, it needs to be taken with 117LF to make up 4 units)
  2. INTEGBI 160: Evolution

Interdisciplinary Studies Field Major (ISF): 

  1. ISF 100D: Introduction to Technology, Society, and Culture
  2. ISF 100G: Introduction to Science, Society, and Ethics
  3. ISF 100J: The Social Life of Computing

Journalism (JOURN):

  1. JOURN 124: Introduction to Data Journalism 

Landscape Architecture (LD ARCH):

  1. LD ARCH C171: The American Designed Landscape Since 1850

Legal Studies (LEGALST):

  1. LEGALST 102: Policing and Society
  2. LEGALST 123 Data, Prediction & Law 
  3. LEGALST 149 Law, Technology and Entrepreneurship
  4. LEGALST 151 Law, Self, and Society 
  5. LEGALST 152AC Human Rights & Technology
  6. LEGALST 156 Bioethics and the Law 
  7. LEGALST 162AC Restorative Justice
  8. LEGALST 168 Sex, Reproduction and the Law
  9. LEGALST 182 Law, Politics and Society
  10. LEGALST C185/C185AC: Prison

Letters and Science (L&S): 

  1. L&S 121 Origins in Science and Religion
  2. L&S 128 Crowds and Clouds
  3. L&S 180AC Archaeology of Sex and Gender

New Media (NWMEDIA):

  1. NWMEDIA 151AC Transforming Tech: Issues and Interventions in STEM and Silicon Valley

Philosophy (PHIL): 

  1. PHIL 121: Moral Questions of Data Science
  2. PHIL 128: Philosophy of Science

Political Economy (POLECON):

  1. POLECON 156 Silicon Valley and the Global Economy
  2. POLECON W160A: Political Economy in Historical Context: The Twentieth Century: Economies, Societies, Polities, Technologies 

Public Health (PBHLTH): 

  1. PBHLTH 101: A Sustainable World: Challenges and Opportunities
  2. PBHLTH 116: Seminar on Social, Political, and Ethical Issues in Health and Medicine
  3. PBHLTH C155: Sociology of Health and Medicine

Rhetoric (RHETOR):

  1. RHETOR 107: Rhetoric of Scientific Discourse
  2. RHETOR 115: Technology and Culture
  3. RHETOR 145: Science, Narrative, and Image

Sociology (SOCIO): 

  1. SOCIO C115: Sociology of Health and Medicine
  2. SOCIO 115G: Health in a Global Society
  3. SOCIO C126: Sex, Death, and Data
  4. SOCIO 137AC: Environmental Justice: Race, Class, Equity, and the Environment
  5. SOCIO 166: Society and Technology
  6. SOCIO 167: Virtual Communities/Social Media

Undergraduate Interdisciplinary Studies (UGIS): 

  1. UGIS 110: Introduction to Disability Studies
  2. UGIS C133 Death, Dying, and Modern Medicine: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives
  3. UGIS 162Q Youth, Social Media and Development

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