Science and Technology Studies

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

The Designated Emphasis (DE) in Science and Technology Studies (STS) is a program of training in the social studies of science, technology, and medicine for Berkeley and UCSF PhD students from any home department. Students who are accepted into the program, and who complete its requirements, will be in a strong position to excel within STS-related fields.

Students in this program receive a rigorous grounding in the studies of knowledge production and technological change. The program also facilitates a deeper involvement with the lively interdisciplinary research community at Berkeley dedicated to understanding the dynamic relations among science, technology, and social and political formations.

For current DE students, small grants are available for STS-related conferences and fieldwork. 

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To be admitted to the Designated Emphasis in Science and Technology Studies, an applicant must already be accepted into a PhD program at the University of California, Berkeley. For further information regarding admission to graduate programs at UC Berkeley, please see the Graduate Division's admissions website.

How to apply for the DE:

  1. One-page letter of intent summarizing research interests, educational or employment background, and any related coursework in areas related to Science and Technology Studies;
  2. A list of courses the student would use to satisfy the elective requirement (optional but encouraged);
  3. A writing sample (e.g., a paper you have written for a UC graduate course) that is indicative of your research interests; and
  4. Letter of recommendation from a member of the Science and Technology Studies Affiliated Faculty group.

Designated Emphasis Requirements


STS C200Topics in Science and Technology Studies3
STS C250Science and Technology Studies Research Seminar3
Select three electives that place a critical engagement with science, technology and/or medicine at their core (see sample electives below)


Students are also required to take three elective courses that place a critical engagement with science, technology and/or medicine at their core. To foster interdisciplinarity, no more than two of these electives can be taken from the student’s home department. As a package, the three elective courses are expected to enhance the student’s capacity to understand and analyze how science and technology operate through and within ethical, historical, social, or cultural formations. Courses listed on the DE website are acceptable. If the student wishes to have a course not listed count, he or she should send an email to the head graduate adviser, including the syllabus for the course and a justification for why it should be acceptable.

Below is a partial list of approved electives:

ANTHRO 210Special Topics in Physical Anthropology4
ANTHRO 219Topics in Medical Anthropology4
ANTHRO 250GSeminars in Social and Cultural Anthropology: Anthropology of Ethics4
ANTHRO 250XSeminars in Social and Cultural Anthropology: Special Topics4
ANTHRO 280CSeminars in Area Studies: South Asia (“Hope and Futurity”)4
CY PLAN 254Sustainable Communities3
ENGLISH 203Graduate Readings (On Life)4
ESPM 256Science, Technology, and the Politics of Nature3
ESPM 260Governance of Global Production3
ESPM 261Sustainability and Society3
GEOG 203Nature and Culture: Social Theory, Social Practice, and the Environment4
GWS 232Transnational Feminist Approaches to Knowledge Production4
GWS 237Transnational Science, Technology, and New Media4
HISTORY 275SCore Courses in the Literature of the Several Fields of History: History of Science4
HISTORY 280SAdvanced Studies: Sources/General Literature of the Several Fields: History of Science4
HISTORY 290Historical Colloquium1
INFO 203Social Issues of Information2
INFO 205Information Law and Policy2
INFO 290ASpecial Topics in Information (The Future of Storytelling)1,2
PB HLTH 213AFamily Planning, Population Change, and Health3
PB HLTH 222AHealth Care Technology Policy3
PUB POL 282Environment and Technology from the Policy and Business Perspective4
RHETOR 104Rhetorical Theory and Practice in Historical Eras4

Qualifying Examination

Your PhD qualifying exam committee must include at least one member of the DE affiliated faculty who will evaluate your knowledge related to the designated emphasis.


Your PhD dissertation topic must be related to Science and Technology Studies, and your PhD dissertation committee must include at least one member of the DE affiliated faculty who can evaluate it from that perspective.

Teaching Opportunities

Students may be asked to be a GSI (graduate student instructor) for STS C100 or other courses that the center might develop.

Professional Development Activities

The Center for Science, Technology, Medicine, & Society provides many opportunities for professional development. The STS Working Group meets regularly to discuss STS texts and provide feedback on presentations, job talks, and other aspects of an academic career. Students are welcome to partake in master classes with visiting speakers in our colloquium series. Students are also invited to organize a conference on their general topic, with the assistance of the center.


Science and Technology Studies

Faculty and Instructors


Vincanne Adams, Professor.

Ruzena Bajcsy, Professor. Artificial Intelligence (AI), Biosystems & Computational Biology (BIO), Control, Intelligent Systems, and Robotics (CIR), Graphics (GR), Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Computer vision, Bridging information technology to humanities and social sciences, Security (SEC).
Research Profile

David William Bates, Associate Professor. Enlightenment, early Modern European intellectual history, 20th century European and American intellectual history, history and theory of media and technology, history of political thought.
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Charles L. Briggs, Professor. Linguistic and medical anthropology, social theory, modernity, citizenship and the state, race, and violence.

Clair Brown, Professor. Innovation, management, economics, labor, employment, labor market institutions, semi-conductor industry.
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Jenna Burrell, Associate Professor.

Cathryn Carson, Associate Professor. History of physics, science and society, history of universities, German history, intellectual history, ethnography, data science, nuclear waste.
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James Casey, Professor. Continuum mechanics, finite elasticity, continuum thermodynamics, plasticity, theories of elastic-plastic materials, history of mechanics, dynamics.
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Mel Y. Chen, Associate Professor. Queer and feminist theory, Disability theory, Critical animal studies, Materiality studies, Cultural politics of race, sexuality, ability, and immigration, Critical linguistics, Paradigms of inter- and transdisciplinarity.

Lawrence Cohen, Professor. Social cultural anthropology, medical and psychiatric anthropology, critical gerontology, lesbian and gay studies, feminist and queer theory.
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Elena Conis, Professor.

Marianne Constable, Professor. Law and language, legal rhetoric and philosophy, social and political thought, Anglo-American legal history, Continental philosophy, law and society.
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Brian Dolan, Professor.

John A. Douglass, Senior Research Fellow.

Sandra Eder, Assistant Professor. Gender, sexuality, medicine, science, US History 20th century, popular culture.
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Daniel Farber, Professor. Environmental law, constiutional law, freedom of speech.
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Marion Fourcade, Professor. Culture, social theory, political sociology, economic sociology, comparative methods, knowledge and science.
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Beate Fricke, Professor. Medieval art and architecture, idolatry, iconoclasm, history of allegory, formation of communities, incest, anthropophagy, animation, emergence of life and procreation, theories and practices in use of images and relics, visual and material culture, Carolingian Art, Gothic Art, Ottonian Art.
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Ken Goldberg, Professor. Robotics, art, social media, new media, automation.
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Deborah Gordon, Assistant Adjunct Professor.

Jodi Halpern, Professor. Public health, bioethics, patient autonomy.
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John Harte, Professor. Global change, ecology, sustainability, energy policy, theoretical ecology, biodiversityl.
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Cori Hayden, Associate Professor. Latin America, Mexico, social and cultural anthropology, kinship, anthropology of science, technology, and medicine, post-colonial science, gender, queer studies.
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Seth Holmes, Assistant Professor. Immigration and migration, medical anthropology with foci on social theory and ethnography, social studies of medicine and science, social difference related to race, social difference related to socioeconomic status, social difference related to citizenship, social difference related to gender, social difference related to sexuality, the naturalization and normalization of social hierarchies and health disparities, social suffering and symbolic violence, urban and rural Latin America and North America, population health with focus on global health, population health with focus on health disparities, population health with focus on social determinants of health.
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Alastair Iles, Associate Professor. Science, technology and environment, green chemistry, sustainability learning, environmental policy.

Jennifer Johnson-Hanks, Professor. Culture, population, social action, intentions, Africa, gender, fertility, marriage.
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Donna V. Jones, Associate Professor. Critical theory, English, modernism, literature and philosophy, literature of the Americas, literature of the African Diaspora, postcolonial literature and theory, narrative and historiography.
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Rosemary Joyce, Professor. Latin America, anthropology, gender, archaeology, sexuality, museums, cultural heritage, ethics, Central America, feminism.
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Sharon Kaufman, Chair.

Ann C. Keller, Associate Professor. Managing expertise and knowledge validation in public health organizations, scientists’ role in environmental policy, patient interest group advocacy, organization and expertise in pandemic response.
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Kelly Knight, Assistant Professor. The social construction and experience of addiction Co-morbidity (HIV, substance abuse, mental illness), homelessness, and US urban health Structural competency in medical education and clinical care Chronic non-cancer pain, clinical uncertainty, and scientific evidence Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bi-polar disorder, and the US welfare state Gender, reproduction, motherhood and citizenship The production of knowledge in science, clinical medicine, and public health.

Jake Kosek, Associate Professor. Cultural politics of nature and difference, cultural geography, science and technology studies, critical race theory, critical cartography, biopolitics, human and the non-human, and environmental politics.

Thomas W. Laqueur, Professor and Co-Director. Medicine, religion, body, human rights.
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John Lie, Professor. Social theory, political economy, East Asia.
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Maria Mavroudi, Professor. Byzantine studies.
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Massimo Mazzotti, Professor and Director. History of science, History of Mathematics, social theory, science and society, STS .
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Carolyn Merchant, Professor. Environmental history, philosophy and ethics.
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Guy Micco, Clinical Professor and Co-Director. Aging/old age, suffering, and death, the medical humanities.
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Minoo Moallem, Professor. Transnational and Postcolonial Feminist Studies, cultural studies, Visual and Material Cultures of Religion, Immigration and Diaspora Studies, Middle East Studies, and Iranian Studies.
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Rachel Morello-Frosch, Professor. Race and class determinants of the distribution of health risks associated with air pollution among diverse communities in the United States .
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Deirdre Mulligan, Associate Professor.

Greg Niemeyer, Associate Professor. Art, film studies, digital media installations, photography.
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Aihwa Ong, Professor. Cultural anthropology, anthropology, transnationalism, citizenship, global cities, migration, Southeast Asia, urbanism.
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Nancy L. Peluso, Professor. Political ecology/resource policy and politics/forests/agrarian change/property and access.
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Dorothy Porter, Professor.

Michele Pridmore-Brown, Research Fellow.

Paul M. Rabinow, Professor. Cultural anthropology, social thought, modernity, biotechnology, genome mapping, France, Iceland.
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Leigh Raiford, Associate Professor. Social movements, visual culture, memory, photography, African American history and culture.
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Francesca Rochberg, Professor. History of science, ancient near east, cuneiform studies.
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Christine Rosen, Associate Professor. History of business and the environment, business history, green chemistry, sustainable business strategies.
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Caitlin C. Rosenthal, Assistant Professor. American history, capitalism, economic history, slavery.
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Pamela Samuelson, Professor. Public policy, intellectual property law, new information technologies, traditional legal regimes, information management, copyright, software protection and cyberlaw.
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Annalee Saxenian, Professor. Innovation, information management, entrepreneurship, Silicon Valley, regional economic development, high skilled immigration, Asian development.
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Nathan F. Sayre, Associate Professor. Climate change, endangered species, rangelands, political ecology, pastoralism, ranching, environmental history, suburbanization, human-environment interactions, environmental geography, range science and management, Southwestern US, scale, community-based conservation.
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Janet Shim, Associate Professor.

David Teece, Professor. Role of product and process development, intellectual property, competitive performance, innovation and organization of industry.
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Sarah Vaugn, Assistant Professor. Cultural Anthropology, (Post)colonial Science Studies, Environment, Expertise, Climate Change, Vulnerability, Critical Theories of Race and Racialization, Theories of Liberalism, Caribbean/Latin America.

Elizabeth Watkins, Professor.

Steven Weber, Professor. Political science, international security, international political economy, information science.
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David E. Winickoff, Associate Professor. Biotechnology, bioethics, environmental regulation, Science and Technology studies, geoengineering, technology transfer.
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Michael Wintroub, Associate Professor. Religion, ritual, social change, rhetoric, history of science, early modern cultural history, travel, identity formation, alterity, cross-cultural contact, popular and court culture, state-building, humanism, vernacular consciousness and literature, mater.
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Alexei Yurchak, Associate Professor. Language, Discourse, power, social theory, late socialism, theories of ideology, subjectivity, popular culture, ideology, Soviet and post-Soviet culture and society, post-socialism, telecommunications, linguistics, speech synthesis.
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Nasser Zakariya, Assistant Professor.

Affiliated Faculty

Aimee Medeiros, Affiliated Faculty.

Visiting Faculty

Daniel Robert, Visiting Lecturer.

Emeritus Faculty

Adele Clarke, Professor Emeritus.

Frederick M. Dolan, Professor Emeritus. Ethics, modernity, aesthetics, political theory, literature and politics, theories of interpretation, Continental philosophy, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Arendt, Foucault, American political discourse, aesthetics and politics.
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Evelyn Nakano Glenn, Professor Emeritus. Labor, citizenship, undocumented students, caring work, settler colonialism, skin color bias.
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Bronwyn H. Hall, Professor Emeritus. Applied econometrics, economics of technical change, economics of innovation, patent policy, RandD value, taxation, financing RandD.
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John L. Heilbron, Professor Emeritus. History of the physical sciences, biography.
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David Hollinger, Professor Emeritus. US history.
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William E. Kastenberg, Professor Emeritus. Risk management, risk assessment, nuclear reactor safety, ethical issues in emerging technologies.
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John Lesch, Professor Emeritus.

Kristin Luker, Professor Emeritus. Social policy, jurisprudence.
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Gene I. Rochlin, Professor Emeritus.

Harry N. Scheiber, Professor Emeritus. American legal history, ocean law and policy, Law of the Sea (international law), federalism and state-federal relations, American constitutional development.
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Nancy Scheper-Hughes, Professor Emeritus. Critical medical anthropology, violence, genocide, inequality, marginality, childhood, family, psychiatry, deinstitutionalization, medical ethics, fieldwork ethics, globalization medicine, social/ political illness, disease, AIDS, Ireland, Brazil, cuba.
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Nancy A. Van House, Professor Emeritus. Digital libraries, science, information management, technology studies, knowledge communities, user needs, information tools, artifacts, participation of users.
Research Profile

Contact Information

Graduate Group in Science and Technology Studies

543 Stephens Hall

Phone: 510-642-4581

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Department Chair

Massimo Mazzotti, PhD (History)

Head Graduate Adviser

David Winickoff, JD, MA (Bioethics and Society)

115 Giannini Hall

Phone: 510-643-0319

Fax: 510-643-2504

Graduate Student Affairs Officer

Davinder Sidhu

543 Stephens Hall

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