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Science, Technology and Society STAS

Instruction offered under the direction of the Faculty of Communication and Culture. For information visit the Faculty of Communication and Culture website,, or contact the Communication and Culture Faculty Office, (403) 220-6343.

Division Head: M. Khouri

Additional interdisciplinary courses are offered under the course headings African Studies; Canadian Studies; Central and East European Studies; Communications Studies; Development Studies; East Asian Studies; Film Studies, General Studies; Innovation Studies, Latin American Studies; Law and Society; Museum and Heritage Studies; Northern Planning and Development Studies; South Asian Studies; and Women's Studies.

Junior Course

Science, Technology and Society 201 H(1.5-1.5)

The Process of Inquiry in the Natural Sciences

Provides an introduction to scientific thought. Topics covered will be selected from among: debate and consensus building in science; abstractions, models, and the importance of mathematics; the value systems of the scientific community; scientists as experts in policy matters; and public appreciation of science. Particular attention will be given to the public impact of science and the role of science as a cultural and political force. Current issues such as climate change, genetically modified food, and the dynamics of pharmaceutical innovation will be studied as particular cases.

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Senior Courses

Science, Technology and Society 325 H(3-0)

Technology Within Contemporary Society

Definitions of technology; theories of technology/society interaction; innovation and waves of technological change; technology as a system; automation and "post-industrial" society; impact of new technology on work; growth and its limits; alternative technology; energy technology; biotechnology and the Green Revolution; human reproductive technology; information technology; controlling technology; ethical problems in technology.

Note: This course may not be offered every year.

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Science, Technology and Society 327 H(3-0)

Science in Society

A case study analysis of the practice of science as a human activity. The theories linking the emergence of modern science to western culture are considered. An analysis of ideas of the social structure of scientific activity including: the role of examples in forming scientific theories, the value system of scientists in both basic research and applied research environments, "individual genius" vs multiple discovery, and the influence of "leading" figures. The linkages of scientific activity with other cultural dimensions are explored and the bases for formulation of "science policy" are considered.

Note: This course may not be offered every year.

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Science, Technology and Society 341 H(3-0)

Information Technology and Society

A study of the implications of information technology for political, social and economic organization, individual psychology, and concepts of knowledge. Historical, ethical and legal implications will be discussed.

Note: Credit for both Science, Technology and Society 341 and any of Communications Studies 380 or General Studies 341 will not be allowed.

Note: This course assumes only very basic familiarity with computers at the "user" level. Familiarization with more advanced applications will be provided as required.

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Science, Technology and Society 343 H(3-0)

Canadian Science Policy and Technology Development

Examination and analysis of Canadian science policy and technology development. Factors which influence policies and strategies, and factors which should influence them. Evaluation of success and failures through case studies and policy analysis.

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Science, Technology and Society 401 H(3-0)

Special Topics in Science, Technology and Society

An examination of selected topics in Science, Technology and Society. See Schedule of Classes for current topic(s).


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Science, Technology and Society 407 H(3-0)

Science, Value and the Environment

An examination of scientific, legal, cultural, economic, management and normative perspectives regarding the care and use of the natural environment.

Prerequisites: At least one prior course in Science, Technology and Society or permission of the instructor.

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Science, Technology and Society 501 H(3-0)

Research in Selected Topics

Supervised individual study of a special topic.

Prerequisites: Consent of the Associate Dean (Undergraduate Programs).

Note: Students should contact the Office of the Associate Dean (Undergraduate Programs) at least two weeks prior to the first day of classes to arrange an independent study course.


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Science, Technology and Society 505 H(3S-0)

Topics in Science and Technology Policy Research

This course treats topics in the formulation of science, technology, and/or innovation policy. It deals with the knowledge that shapes government, industry and public perceptions of science and technology issues, and how that knowledge is produced, interpreted and absorbed by the policy-making process. The course is intended for senior students in the STAS major or minor, or students with appropriate course preparation in related disciplines such as economics or political science.

Prerequisites: Completion of three half-course equivalents in Science, Technology and Society at the 300 level or higher, or permission of the Division Head.

Note: Credit for both Science, Technology and Society 505 and 401.02 will not be allowed.

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Science, Technology and Society 591 H(3-0)

Integrative Seminar

An integrative seminar on the central themes of science and technology studies.

Prerequisites: Two of Science, Technology and Society 325, History 477.01, 477.02, Philosophy 367, Sociology 435; or consent of the Faculty.

Note: This course may not be offered every year. It may be taken as a reading course if an instructor is available.

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