Group of three students discussing project

Student and faculty research topics include: 

  • Factors shaping the opioid overdose epidemic
  • Greening of public K-12 schools
  • Drinking water crises
  • Stakeholder perceptions of nuclear power
  • Urban composting
  • Citizen science in environmental justice movements
  • Fracking and rural communities
  • Women in environmental leadership
  • Zoos and environmental conservation
  • Global governance of nanomaterials
  • Ethics of invasive animal eradication
  • Extreme heat governance
  • Whale hunting and indigenous rights
  • Cleaning up uranium mining waste


Students meeting outdoors

We encourage students to explore and develop diverse and innovative research methods, which may include ethnographic fieldwork, historical and archival research, discourse analysis, policy analysis, participatory design, philosophical argumentation, and other approaches to social inquiry and theory development. In short, the STS department at Rensselaer is a place where students and professors pursue problem-centered research, drawing on diverse theoretical and methodological resources.​

Student looking at a 3D prototype of a wind turbine

Much of the research in the STS department falls into three broad areas: the environment, technological design, and governance. However, the department has tremendous intellectual diversity. Faculty members come from the traditional disciplines of anthropology, history, political science, sociology, economics, communication, and social psychology, as well as interdisciplinary science and technology studies.


Group discussion with 3D printed prototypes

Majors in STS, DIS, and Sustainability Studies research and write a senior thesis.  Some recent examples include:

  •  Emily Giff (2019) “How Female Game Developers’ Social Media Experience Shape Their Perception of Sexism in the Gaming Industry"

  • Tim Rice, (2018), Reimagining the Urban Jungle
Radio telescope array


The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
Russell Sage Laboratory (SAGE) 5304, 110 8th Street, Troy, NY 12180
(518) 276-6575

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