The STS department at Rensselaer is a place where students and professors pursue problem-centered research, drawing on diverse theoretical and methodological resources.​ Current areas of research expertise include:

  • Factors shaping the opioid overdose epidemic
  • Citizen science in environmental justice movements
  • Transportation infrastructure and accessibility
  • Race and gender in video game design
  • History of open source computing
  • Sustainability transitions
  • Regenerative design
  • Urban farming and composting
  • Design of monuments and memorials

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.

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, sociology, and media studies, 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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