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Undergraduate Catalog 2016-2017

Science, Technology and Society Certificate

1125 Cumberland Hall, 301-405-0527
Director, David Tomblin, PhD, dtomblin@umd.edu

The undergraduate University Certificate program in Science, Technology, and Society (STS) enables students to learn about the dynamic, interactive and creative relationships among science, technology, and society. This 21-credit program helps structure a student’s general education and elective requirements into a unifying theme. The end product of the program is a research project of the student’s own choosing, which is developed under faculty mentorship. The STS University Certificate is especially helpful to students who are seeking jobs that require understanding policy decisions as they relate to scientific and engineering endeavors, those students hoping to seek a graduate degree that integrates science, technology, and policy, or students simply interested in developing a greater understanding of social issues related to science and technology.

STS is an interdisciplinary field that has been taught for more than 30 years at universities in the United States and Europe, notably in those with strong engineering and public policy programs.  In recent years, STS University Certificate students have chosen to write their capstone term papers about timely topics, including the interactions among science, technology and society related to nanotechnology, fuel cell applications, physics research funding, climate change modeling, religious principles as a basis for climate action, integration of SONAR into underwater vehicles, nuclear power in developing countries, and interpersonal impacts of social networking.


The STS program requires 9 credits of Lower Level (100-200) and 9 credits of Upper Level courses (300-400) and the STS Capstone (ENES 440, 3 credits).  Students must obtain prior approval of the director before counting courses toward their individualized STS curriculum.  Many of these credits may overlap with major and minor requirements.  For guidance, see the website for a list of approved courses, and note that students may ask the director to approve a course not listed on the website.

Lower Level (100- and 200-level) Courses (9 credits):

Three courses that relate science to society, technology to society, or science to technology; one of the courses should be CPSS 225 (STS sophomore survey course)

Upper Level (300- and 400-level) Courses (12 credits):

These courses have an interdisciplinary orientation that demonstrates inter-relationships between science and society, between technology and society, or between science and technology. Students choose three courses and the fourth course is ENES440, the STS University Certificate capstone.

Joining the Program and Program Requirements:

Students interested in STS should contact the director to obtain advice and approval prior to enrolling in courses that fulfill the program. Students record their progress with the STS program office as they complete requirements, participate in a semi-annual advising meeting, and write a brief evaluation upon completing the program.  Students must earn a minimum grade of "C-" in each course they wish to credit toward the STS University Certificate. A student's individual course of study may not exceed these maximums: 9 credits of courses applied to the student's major; 3 credits of Special or Selected Topics courses; 9 credits of courses taken outside UMCP; and 6 credits of courses with the AREC, ECON and GVPT prefixes. Once all requirements are met and the director affirms that the student has completed the program, the Registrar includes a notation of this University Certificate on the student's transcript.

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