York’s Science & Technology Studies (STS) program is the only one of its kind in Canada. You will be exploring the global impacts of science and technology on society, world religions, and cultures – as well as investigating specific scientific and technological discoveries and their implications.
You will learn to think critically, developing knowledge and an understanding of the history, nature and impact of science and technology. While embarking on this journey, you will find yourself devising questions and exploring them in a unique way. Independent research, or participation in new and exciting research with one of the program’s faculty members, will aid in your quest for answers.
The small class sizes in our STS program create a more personal atmosphere, where you can develop individual relationships with both professors and other students. You will find yourself among peers with similar interests to you, enabling you to create lifelong friendships.
Science and Technology Studies (STS) students have the option of pursuing either a three-year Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree or a four-year Honours degree BSc or BA. Other program options include Specialized Honours, Honours Double Major, Honours Major-Minor, or the Honours Minor program.
Your courses will vary between lectures, tutorials, seminars and even independent research courses. In the BSc option, your first year will include Calculus, Computer Use, and a choice of Biology, Chemistry, Physics, or Earth and Atmospheric Science. Normally in your second year you will take the introductory course in Science and Technology Studies. For your third and fourth years, you can select from a range of more than thirty STS courses concerned with the nature of the life sciences, the physical sciences, biomedicine, science and religion, science and gender, science and the humanities, technology and information, sociology of science and technology. Normally in your last year, you will synthesize your knowledge in the Seminar in Science and Technology Studies.
STS is an exciting and challenging interdisciplinary study that evolved from earlier fields of history, philosophy and sociology of science. Several major world universities have STS programs; in terms of core faculty, York’s program is one of the largest anywhere with an impressive depth of scholarly and teaching experience.
Facilities and Opportunities
The research conducted by our faculty members is widely varied:
from Canadian topics such as the history of Canadian radio astronomy, to international research such as the history of modern China;
from the past – the relationship between Victorian science and unbelief, to the current – interactions of technical experts and public interest groups during the SARS crisis;
from the physical – human-computer interaction, to the theoretical – the concept of chance.
Summer employment positions, conducting undergraduate research with one of our professors, are available. With the abundance of different research areas, you will be sure to find a topic of interest to you.
Departmental activities also provide opportunities for employment, as well as a forum to develop a global awareness of current research and a unique chance for networking:
York’s STS program is now the home of Isis, internationally recognized as the leading journal in the history of science. We provide undergraduate student positions in the editorial office;
The STS Research Seminars is a bi-weekly series that hosts leading international researchers in the field of science and technology studies;
Our program also participates in Norman Bethune College-sponsored events and speaker series dedicated to the guiding theme of Science and Society.
Our STS program will prepare you both for employment in the field or a continuation of your education. If you are interested in post-graduate studies, options that are available with an undergraduate degree in STS are law, medicine, and education, as well as graduate study in STS at York or elsewhere. If you are excited about entering the work force, your career may range from: science journalism or writing, to museum or curatorial work, to developing public policy and regulations, to science and technical media work, or academic research. A degree in STS from York will allow you to develop a solid foundation of knowledge and will open doors to unimaginable opportunities – to wherever your mind may take you.
If you major in Science & Technology Studies your courses in first year will probably be:
• two of Biology, Chemistry, Physics, or Earth & Atmospheric Science
• Computer Use or Computer Programming
• optional: Psychology
• a general education course
In second year you will probably take:
• Introduction to Science & Technology Studies
• a general education course
• additional science credits
In third and fourth year, you can choose courses from the following areas:
• Technology (history of technology, information and computer technology, failure of technology, technology and experts, international development)
• The nature of Life Sciences and medicine (genetics, exploration, history of life science, eugenics, biomedicine)
• The nature of Physical Sciences (development of modern physics, rise of cosmology, matter and science in Victorian times)
• Science, Technology and Culture (science and gender, religion, nature and literature)
At the end of your program of study, you will take the Seminar in Science & Technology Studies and possibly Independent Research in STS or an Honours Thesis in Science and Technology Studies.
Career options for Science & Technology Studies majors include:
• Science Journalism
• Science Policy
• Science & Technology-based Commerce
• Professional Studies
• Health Policy
• Health Planning
• Environmental Policy Administration
• Education – elementary, high school, college, university
• Postgraduate Studies/Academic Career