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 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 Biological 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 183ADisease, Health and Medicine in American History4
HISTORY 183BHistory of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Modern East Asia4
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 Information3
INFO 205Information Law and Policy3
INFO 290ACourse Not Available (The Future of Storytelling)
PB HLTH 213AFamily Planning, Population Change, and Health3
PB HLTH 222ABiomedical Innovation 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 masterclasses 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

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)

Graduate Student Affairs Officer

Davinder Sidhu

543 Stephens Hall

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