Catastrophic Risks and Solutions
This concentration allows students to focus on understanding, anticipating, communicating, and reducing large-scale catastrophic risks, defined as threats to large cities, regions, ethnic groups, entire societies, human civilization, or humanity itself. Examples include climate change, pandemics, ecosystem collapse, famine, nuclear war, genocide, earthquakes, asteroid impacts, and uncontrolled or hostile artificial intelligence.
Communication and Media
This concentration addresses the role and impact of communication and media technology in society, as well as social factors behind their historical development.
Innovation and Organization
In this concentration, students critically examine innovation and its organizational contexts. Topics covered include various kinds of innovation and creativity.
Life Sciences and Health
Topics covered in this concentration include genetics, biotechnology, bioethics, medical ethics, mental and physical illnesses, public health, patients’ rights, body politics, and various other domains in which new knowledges and technologies produce and are produced by societal phenomena.
Politics and Policy
This concentration covers topics such as social movement, electoral politics, public policy and policymaking, national and global security (e.g., military conflicts, biosecurity, food security, cybersecurity, terrorism, nuclear proliferation), disasters, and science and technology nationalism.
Social Dynamics of Data and Information
This concentration allows students to study how data, information, and information technology (IT) both shape and are shaped by social action and social change. Students can study anything from human language and writing to computers, social media, “big data,” machine learning, and artificial intelligence. The social shaping of data, information, and IT — by history, law, economics, culture, politics, and government — is one aspect of SDDI. The flip side of social shaping is the way that data, information, and IT transform society, culture, politics, inequality, design, justice, and sustainability.
This concentration allows students to design their own curriculum that addresses pertinent topics from STS perspectives. Students need to have or develop a strong sense of why a self-designed concentration is better suited for them than the six STS concentrations or another major. Students must show a strong sense of STS analytical frameworks and demonstrate the intellectual coherence of their proposed program of study.