Science and Technology Studies (Ph.D.)

Campuses: 

Virginia Tech Blacksburg Campus

 National Capital Region Campus

Instructions:

Residential/On Campus 

 Some Online Courses

Examine how science and technology intersect with society, politics, and culture. We use the tools of social science, history, philosophy, and policy to understand complex issues. 

CAMPUSES

48  CONFERENCE

PAPERS PRESENTED

BY STUDENTS IN  2016

46 

CURRENT PH.D.

STUDENTS

1990 

FIRST PH.D.

AWARDED

What is Science and Technology Studies?

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.

Why Study Science and Technology Studies Here?

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 integrates science and technology with societal institutions, norms, and practices.

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

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.

 

  • 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. 
  • Full range of disciplines in the social sciences and humanities
  • 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.

Our Faculty 

Research Interests

  • History of computing 
  • Internet culture and policy 
  • Science, technology & gender 
  • The rise of scientific disciplines

Janet Abbate, Associate Professor

Janet Abbate, Associate Professor
Janet Abbate, Associate Professor

Research Interests

  • Technoscience and Justice
  • Environmental health
  • Environmental justice
  • Participatory science
  • Sociology of knowledge

Barbara L. Allen, Professor

Barbara L. Allen, Professor
Barbara L. Allen, Professor

Research Interests

  • Economic sociology
  • Energy markets
  • Performativity

Daniel Breslau, Associate Professor and Department Chair

Daniel Breslau, Associate Professor and Department Chair
Daniel Breslau, Associate Professor and Department Chair

Research Interests

  • Environmental Science
  • Climate Change
  • Environmental Ethics

Eileen Crist, Associate Professor

Eileen Crist, Associate Professor
Eileen Crist, Associate Professor

Research Interests

Research Interests

Gary Downey, Alumni Distinguished Professor- Blacksburg Campus

Gary Downey, Alumni Distinguished Professor- Blacksburg Campus
Gary Downey, Alumni Distinguished Professor- Blacksburg Campus

Research Interests

  • Food security 
  • Food studies 
  • Political sociology 
  • Science policy

Saul Halfon, Associate Professor

Saul Halfon, Associate Professor
Saul Halfon, Associate Professor

Research Interests

  • Biopolitics 
  • Biosecurity and biodefense 
  • Ethics 
  • Global and community health

Rebecca J. Hester, Assistant Professor

Rebecca J. Hester, Assistant Professor
Rebecca J. Hester, Assistant Professor

Research Interests

  • Bioethics 
  • Bodies and technologies
  • Deathcare cultures 
  • Medicine in society technology ethics

Philip R. Olson, Assistant Professor

Philip R. Olson, Assistant Professor
Philip R. Olson, Assistant Professor

Research Interests

  • Emergency response
  • Energy policy
  • History of technology
  • Nuclear energy

Sonja D. Schmid, Associate Professor

Sonja D. Schmid, Associate Professor
Sonja D. Schmid, Associate Professor

Research Interests

  • Disability Studies
  • Ethics and Emerging Technologies
  • Philosophy of Technology
  • Technological Knowledge
  • animal studies

Ashley Shew, Assistant Professor

Ashley Shew, Assistant Professor
Ashley Shew, Assistant Professor

Research Interests

  • History of Innovation and Innovators
  • bodies and technologies
  • history of technology
  • science and technology

Lee Vinsel, Assistant Professor

Lee Vinsel, Assistant Professor
Lee Vinsel, Assistant Professor

Research Interests

  • History of Innovation and Innovators
  • Art and technology
  • Critical participation
  • Engineering
  • Interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity

Matthew Wisnioski, Associate Professor

Matthew Wisnioski, Associate Professor
Matthew Wisnioski, Associate Professor

Science and Technology in Society Research Highlights

2018 “Strongly Participatory Science and Knowledge Justice in an Environmentally Contested  Science,“ Technology, & Human Values. doi.org/10.1177/0162243918758380.

2017 Cohen, Alison, Travis Richards, Barbara Allen, Yolaine Ferrier, Johanna Lees, Louisa Smith. “Health Issues in the Industrial Port Zone of Marseille, France: The Fos EPSEAL Community-Based Cross-Sectional,“ Journal of Public Healthdoi:10.1007/s10389-017-0857-5.

Olson, Philip R. 2016. “Domesticating Deathcare: The Women of the U.S. Natural Deathcare Movement,” Journal of Medical Humanities (December): 1–21.

Olson, Philip R. 2015. “Knowing Necro-Waste.” Social Epistemology 30(3) (May): 326–345.

Schmid, Sonja D. 2016. “What if there’s a next time? Preparedness after Chernobyl and Fukushima.” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Global Forum, published online 14 June 2016. dx.doi.org/10.1080/00963402.2016.1194623.

Interested in learning a wide range of research topics in social sciences and humanities to examine the ways that science and technology shape, and are shaped by, our society, politics, and culture?

Blacksburg Campus prospective students, please call Saul Halfon at 540-231-1648 or email: shalfon@vt.edu 

National Capitol Region prospective students, please call Janet Abbate at 703-538-3768 or email: stsinncr@vt.edu

Visit our Blacksburg office at 122 Lane Hall, 280 Alumni Mall, Blacksburg, VA 24061 

Visit our National Capitol Region office at 7054 Haycock Rd, Northern Virginia Center, Falls Church, VA, 22043

Domestic Application

*Fall: August 1

Spring: January 1

International Application

*Fall: April 1

Spring: September 1

* Students seeking assistantships for funding should submit all required admissions materials by February 1 for full consideration.

CONTACT US

Saul Halfon, Graduate Director
232 Lane Hall
540-231-1648
shalfon@vt.edu

Janet Abbate, NCR Co-Director
Northern Virginia Center
703-538-3768
abbate@vt.edu

Sonja Schmid, NCR Co-Director
Northern Virginia Center
703-538-8482
sschmid@vt.edu

Carol Slusser,Graduate Coordinator
121 Lane Hall
540-231-0719
slusserc@vt.edu