Department of Science, Technology, and Society

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Department of Science, Technology, and Society


Science and technology studies is a growing field that draws on the full range of disciplines in the social sciences and humanities to examine the ways that science and technology shape, and are shaped by, our society, politics, and culture. We study contemporary controversies, historical transformations, policy dilemmas, and broad philosophical questions. The graduate program in science and technology studies at Virginia Tech prepares students to be productive and publicly engaged scholars, advancing research and making a difference.

Our program — administered by the Department of Science, Technology, and Society — has two locations that share faculty and a common curriculum. Some courses are teleconferenced across campuses. Both locations offer the master’s in science (M.S.) and the Ph.D.

Virginia Tech Main Campus in Blacksburg, Virginia

The main campus in Blacksburg offers the best fit for students interested in full-time graduate study at Virginia’s largest research university.

National Capital Region Campus in Falls Church, Virginia

The Falls Church campus offers the same program, but with evening courses to accommodate part-time students with careers in Northern Virginia and the Washington, D.C. area.


Ashley Shew

Gary Downey helped found the field of engineering studies.
Ashley Shew

Expert Receives Prestigious Grant for Research into Technologies for Disability Community

The bracelet looks unassuming, just like any other smart technology worn around the wrist. But rather than counting steps or heartbeats, it serves another purpose. The wristlet vibrates an alarm when it tracks the user subconsciously begin to pull out strands of hair. For those with trichotillomania, instead of following the compulsion to yank out their hair, the wireless device helps them notice the gestures and change their behavior.

This tool, along with other technologies for the disability community, intrigues Ashley Shew, an assistant professor in the Department of Science, Technology, and Society. In July, she received a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award that will allow her to investigate the personal accounts of people with disabilities, as well as their opinions of the technologies designed for them. View more Science, Technology, and Society stories.