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Minor in Science and Society


Professor Myles Jackson, Gallatin and FAS

Brendan Sullivan (, CAS

Steering Committee
Associate Professor Karl Appuhn, CAS
Professor Myles Jackson, Gallatin and FAS
Assistant Professor Mara Mills, Steinhardt

science textbooks


Science and society is a rich, inherently cross-disciplinary minor, drawing on the course offerings and faculty expertise of the College of Arts and Science, the Gallatin School of Individualized Study, the Polytechnic Institute of NYU, and the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. The minor analyzes how the techniques and methodologies of the humanities and social sciences can be used to illuminate both the context and content of science, technology, and medicine. Drawing upon history, philosophy, anthropology, and sociology, students investigate how culture and society frame—and, indeed, are themselves framed by—science, technology, and medicine.

The current influence of scientific, technological, and medical issues on our lives is unprecedented, altering our notions of race, health, responsibility, ownership, ethics, esthetics, and indeed self. We are therefore obliged to understand these critical interactions with a view to understand, and intervene in, the world. The types of questions this minor poses include: How has gene patenting affected both the content and conduct of molecular biology, as well as intellectual property law? What is the relationship between the mathematical descriptions that physicists employ and the nature of physical phenomena? What are the ethical and political issues involved in human embryonic stem cell research? How do machines shape esthetics? What, if anything, is the difference between a machine and a human? How does nature have a history?

This minor serves as an enlightening complement to pre-health studies, pre-law studies relevant to intellectual property, biotechnology, and environmental and healthcare studies. It also provides a potent training to those interested in pursuing advanced degrees in the history, philosophy, sociology, or anthropology of science, technology, or medicine.

Program of Study

The minor in Science and Society requires four 4-point courses (16 points). To complete the minor, students take the core course (Introduction to Science and Society, next offered by the CAS History department in Spring 2016) and choose three elective courses from the list below. Courses may be taken in any order; Introduction to Science and Society does not have to be taken first.

Many courses in the minor fall into one of the following four clusters: technology, physics, biology/prehealth, and environmental sciences. Students are strongly encouraged, however, to be creative and challenge themselves to think in ways other than those that are strictly categorical. For example, a student interested in understanding the difference between the natural and the artificial might take the following three elective courses in addition to the required Introduction to Science and Society course: Philosophy of Biology; Humans, Machines, and Aesthetics; and Nature and Technology in Modern America.

Students are also strongly encouraged to take courses in the various schools throughout NYU contributing to the minor. This will expose them to a plethora of diverse pedagogical experiences and greatly enhance co-learning. CAS students may apply 16 points taken in the other schools of NYU toward their degree. Students seeking to raise this limit so as to accommodate the course work of the Minor in Science and Society must file a petition in the Office of the Associate Dean for Students, Silver Center, Room 909; 212-998-8140.

NYU students from outside of CAS are welcome to declare a minor in Science and Society. Students should consult their home-school advisor for policies on their cross-school credit limit.

Required Course in CAS

Introduction to Science & Society (next offered by CAS History department in SP16)
(4 points)
Introduces techniques and approaches used by the humanities and social sciences in studying science, technology, and medicine. Investigates how historians, philosophers, sociologists, and anthropologists apply their methodological toolkit in investigating scientific, technological, and medical knowledge. Invites students to think synthetically, organically, and creatively across several disciplines.

Elective Courses in CAS, Gallatin, Poly, & Steinhardt

Please check Albert and departmental websites for each course's availability by semester, meeting times, and prerequisites.

College of Arts and Science

ANTH-UA 35 (4 points)
Medical Anthropology
ANTH-UA 36 (4 points)
Global Biocultures: Anthropological Perspectives on Public Health
CSCI-UA 1 (4 points)
Computers in Society
CSCI-UA 472 (4 points)
Artificial Intelligence
ENVST-UA 425 (4 points)
History of Ecology and Environmentalism
FRSEM-UA 418 (4 points)
Disease in American History
HIST-UA 115 (4 points)
Environmental History of the Early Modern World
HIST-UA 135 (4 points)
Premodern Science
HIST-UA 158 (4 points)
History of Medicine
HIST-UA 202 (4 points)
History of Western Medicine
HIST-UA 401 (4 points)
History of Sexuality and Reproduction
HIST-UA 443 (4 points)
Topics: Science, Religion, & Humanities Since Darwin
HIST-UA 547 (4 points)
Food and Drugs in Chinese History
Topics: Controversies and Debates in Public Health
HIST-UA 750 (4 points)
Topics: American Environmental History
JOUR-UA 503 (4 points)
Journalism and Society: Covering the Earth
PHIL-UA 5 (4 points)
Minds and Machines
PHIL-UA 53 (4 points)
Ethics and the Environment
PHIL-UA 80 (4 points)
Philosophy of Mind
PHIL-UA 90 (4 points)
Philosophy of Science
PHIL-UA 91 (4 points)
Philosophy of Biology
SOC-UA 414 (4 points)
Sociology of Medicine
SOC-UA 935 (4 points)
Topic: Young Adult Health
Gallatin School of Individualized Study

IDSEM-UG 1059 (4 points)
Disease and Civilization
IDSEM-UG 1156 (4 points)
The Darwinian Revolution
IDSEM-UG 1207 (4 points)
Origins of the Atomic Age
IDSEM-UG 1231 (4 points)
The Trial of Galileo
IDSEM-UG 1294 (4 points)
Philosophy of Medicine
IDSEM-UG 1298 (4 points)
Ecology and Environmental Thought
IDSEM-UG 1328 (4 points)
Rethinking Science
IDSEM-UG 1339 (4 points)
Foucault: Biopolitics and the Care of the Self
IDSEM-UG 1516 (4 points)
Understanding the Universe
IDSEM-UG 1519 (4 points)
Biology and Society
IDSEM-UG 1532 (4 points)
Lives in Science
IDSEM-UG 1534 (4 points)
The Seen and Unseen in Science
IDSEM-UG 1541 (4 points)
Science and Religion
IDSEM-UG 1551 (4 points)
Science and Theatre
IDSEM-UG 1566 (4 points)
History of Environmental Science
IDSEM-UG 1571 (4 points)
Humans, Machines, and Aesthetics
IDSEM-UG 1575 (4 points)
IDSEM-UG 1602 (4 points)
Nature, Resources, and the Human Condition
IDSEM-UG 1652 (4 points)
Science and Culture
IDSEM-UG 1703 (4 points)
The Green Dream
IDSEM-UG 1720 (4 points)
The Artificial and the Natural
IDSEM-UG 1760 (4 points)
Quantification and Social Thought
IDSEM-UG 1801 (4 points)
Minds and Bodies: A History of Neuroscience
IDSEM-UG 1832 (2 points) & IDSEM-UG 1833 (2 points)
Genetics and Society & Music and Science
Tandon School of Engineering

HI-UY 3244 (4 points)
The History of Light
HI-UY 2254 (4 points)
From Heat Engines to Black Holes
PL-UY 2274 (4 points)
Space and Spacetime
PL-UY 3284 (4 points)
Relativity and Spacetime
PL-UY 2294 (4 points)
Quantum Mechanics and Information
PL-UY 3254 (4 points)
Philosophy of Science
PL-UY 3264 (4 points)
Physics, Information, and Computation
STS-UY 2444 (4 points)
History and Philosophy of Internet Technology
STS-UY 2244 (4 points)
Magic, Medicine, and Science
STS-UY 2624 (4 points)
The Rhetoric of Science
STS-UY 2224 (4 points)
Science and Sexuality
STS-UY 3004 (4 points)
Seminar in Science and Technology Studies
STS-UY 3624 (4 points)
Science and Technology in the Literary Sphere
STS-UY 3434 (4 points)
Hypermedia in Context
STS-UY 3204 (4 points)
Science and Difference
Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development

FOOD-UE 1033 (3 points)
Food and Agriculture in the 20th Century
FOOD-UE 1180 (4 points)
Food and Nutrition in a Global Society
LIBAR-UE 141 (4 points)
Science in the Community
MCC-UE 1026 (4 points)
Disability, Technology, and Media
MCC-UE 1036 (4 points)
On the Phone: Telephone and Mobile Communication
MCC-UE 1411 (4 points)
Visual Culture of Science and Technology
NUTR-UE 1184 (3 points)
Food Science and Technology
PUHE-UE 70 (4 points)
Health and Society: Introduction to Public Health
PUHE-1315 (4 points)
Intro to Public Health Nutrition
PUHE-UE 1323 (4 points)
Environmental Health, Social Movements, and Public
19 University Place

Quick Facts

  • Four courses to complete the minor
  • One required course (Introduction to Science & Society, next offered by the CAS History department in Spring 2016). Required course does not have to be taken first.
  • Three electives from list of approved courses below
  • Course offerings from NYU's College of Arts and Science (CAS), Gallatin School of Individualized Study, Polytechnic Institute, and Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development
  • CAS students: submit this form to delcare the minor.
  • All other NYU undergradutes: declare the minor using the Application for Cross-School Minor online form, accessible via the drop-down menu on the left of your Albert Student Center.
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