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Science and Technology Studies (Ph.D.)

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Virginia Tech Blacksburg Campus, National Capital Region Campus

Residential/On Campus, Some Online Courses

Program Overview

Ph.D. in Science and Technology studies explores the relationship between science, technology, and society using a variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches. Research in STS analyzes 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 STS faculty cross a wide range of disciplinary boundaries: some rely on fieldwork, others are immersed in historical or governmental archival research, while others develop social and conceptual analyses to answer theoretical or ethical questions.

  • Minimum GPA 3.0 (4 Scale)
  • GRE Required 
  • TOEFL/ IELTS score required (if applicable)

Learn more 

The STS department has a limited number of graduate assistantships and fellowships available for students applying for full time study on the Blacksburg Campus. Entering students can apply for such funding as part of their admissions application.  No separate application required.

Find out what loans are available as a graduate student and other opportunities.

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

*Deadline for admission with full consideration for funding: February 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 these pursuits affect society. 
  • The research and scholarly interests of our faculty cross a wide range of disciplinary boundaries.
  • Best fit for students interest in full-time graduate study on the campus of Virginia’s largest research university. 
  • The graduate program in STS at Virginia Tech prepares students to be productive and publicly-engaged scholars, advancing research. 
  • Offers a full range of disciplines in the social sciences and humanities.
  • Our program offers two options to accomodate part-time or full-time enrollment. 
  • 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

You will complete 90 credit hours including core requirements, field work, electives, and research. 

Graduate students in STS come from a wide range of backgrounds including the natural and physical sciences, engineering, numerous professional disciplines, liberal arts and humanities, history, anthropology, sociology, political science, and philosophy. Graduates emerge with an ability to identify and examine the conceptual, social, cultural, historical, and policy dimensions of science and technology.

Courses leading to a PhD in STS are available at two sites, Virginia Tech's main campus in Blacksburg and the National Capital Region (NCR) in the greater D.C. metro area.

Science, Technology, and Society Faculty 

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

Meet Our Students