Politics and Policy Studies of Science and Technology Certificate


Virginia Tech Blacksburg Campus, National Capital Region Campus

Residential/On Campus, Some Online Courses

Program Overview

The graduate certificate program in Politics and Policy Studies of Science and Technology targets three audiences: graduate students in other programs at Virginia Tech who would like to demonstrate additional competence in the politics and policies of STS, graduate students in contributing departments who would like to demonstrate special competence in the politics and policies of STS in their home discipline, and non-degree-seeking students who desire special competence in the politics and policies of STS for career advancement. In addition, mid-career professionals pursue this certificate if they are not particularly interested in another degree, however, they would like to be able to point to the completion of some shorter course of study. Students in this certificate program will critically assess science and technology policy. Students will be exposed to issues in bioethics in public policy, information technology, and politics.


Domestic Application

  • Fall: August 1
  • Spring: January 1
  • Summer I: May 1
  • Summer II: Jun 1

International Application

  • Fall: April 1
  • Spring: September 1
  • Summer I: Jan 1
  • Summer II: Feb 1

Saul Halfon, Graduate Director
232 Lane Hall

Sonja Schmid, NCR Co-Director
Northern Virginia Center

Janet Abbate, NCR Co-Director
Northern Virginia Center

Carol Slusser, Graduate Coordinator
121 Lane Hall

Why choose this program?

  • We analyze how society affects the development and implementation of scientific, technological, and medical knowledges and practices and how scientific, technological, and medical pursuits affect society. 
  • The research and scholarly interests of our faculty cross a wide range of disciplinary boundaries.
  • The graduate program in STS at Virginia Tech prepares students to be productive and publicly-engaged scholars, advancing research. 
  • Full range of disciplines in the social sciences and humanities
  • All classes are taught in small seminars and offer personal interaction with faculty and peers. 
  • Conduct research that integrates science and technology with societal institutions, norms, and practices.
  • Part-time program and evening classes cater to working professionals. Convenient to the Washington DC Metro at West Falls Church. 
  • All classes are taught in small seminars and offer personal interaction with faculty and peers. Students from all academic and professional backgrounds are welcome.

What You'll Study

Number of Credit Hours: 12 credit hours. Only 6 credits can be double counted for this certificate and a graduate degree. Transfer credits are not permitted.

Required Courses (6 credit hours):

STS/SOC 5105: Social Studies of Science and Technology I

STS/PAPA 5614 Introduction to Science and Technology Policy

Restrictive Elective (6 credit hours):

STS 5424: Topics in Science and Technology Studies

STS 5444: Issues in Bioethics

STS/PAPA 6664: Advanced Topics in Science and Technology Policy

PSCI/GIA 5354: Public Policy Analysis

PSCI/GIA 5214: Contemporary Political Theory

SPIA/GIA 5454: Advanced Topics in Information Technology and Public Policy

SPIA/GIA 5555: Culture, Politics, and Society in a Networked Environment

UAP 5564: Information Technology, Society, and Public Policy

The cloud exists as an assemblage of technologies, infrastructures, and human practices. Seeing how social values are built into technologies can help us build more robust and egalitarian systems. As a Science and Technology Studies (STS) researcher, Trevor's work is interdisciplinary. His dissertation borrows from STS scholars, historians, computer scientists, sociologists, and philosophers. These multiple perspectives provide the tools to understand how the cloud and other technological systems interface with the social world. 

— Trevor Croker

My field is called Science and Technology Studies, or STS. It's an interdisciplinary program that intersects with four main disciplines: history, anthropology, sociology, and philosophy. By interweaving the theories and methods of these disciplines, alongside those developed within STS itself, scholars in my field become social scientists and humanists who study scientists, their practices, and technologies--or scholars interested in different kinds of expertise, instruments, and the process of knowledge creation.

— Jennifer Henderson

Research and Scholarly Work