The major program in Science in Society has three components: science courses, SiSP courses, and an area of concentration. Those students whose area of concentration is one of the sciences must complete a major in that science as part of the requirements for their SiSP major.

All majors must also participate in the SiSP Assessment Program, by submitting an initial statement of their goals in the Program when first declaring the major, and a self-assessment of what they have accomplished and learned in the Program during their final semester.  For details about this requirement, see our official statement under Learning Goals and Assessment

I. Science Courses

All students are required to take a minimum of four 1-credit major track courses in a single science. The sciences which we accept for this purpose are : Astronomy/Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Earth & Environmental Sciences, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, Neuroscience, Physics, Psychology. The laboratory courses associated with introductory science courses do not count toward the four-course requirement.

N.B. For most students, these science courses must be completed in a single department, to enable them to get beyond the introductory level.  For example, one cannot satisfy this requirement by taking one year of Chemistry and one year of Biology.  There are two kinds of exceptions to this policy.  First, students who do their science in Biology, MB&B, Neuroscience, or Psychology may take courses under more than one departmental designation, so long as all four of the courses that they count toward the SiSP major are cross-listed in one of those departments.  Second, there are some variations permitted for students who do their science courses in Astronomy or E&ES.  Students who do their science courses in Astronomy may count Physics 113, 116, along with Astronomy 155 and one upper-level ASTR course toward the requirement.  Students who do their science in E&ES may count a year of Chemistry, E&ES 199, and a 200-level E&ES course OR a year of Biology, E&ES 199, and an upper-level Biology course in Ecology or Conservation Biology.

II. Science in Society Courses

All students are required to take a minimum of six credits in courses listed at the 200- or 300-level in the Program, of which three must satisfy specific requirements in History of Science, Philosophy of Science, and Sociocultural Studies of Science and three additional courses in the program (including at least one 300-level seminar). Individual or group tutorials, including senior thesis or essay tutorials, normally cannot count toward the 6-credit requirement within SiSP.

HISTORY OF SCIENCE (students are encouraged but not required to take a history course emphasizing the sciences they have studied for their science requirement).

SISP 221 - History of Ecology

SISP 254 - History of Scientific Thought since 1700

SISP 258 - The Evolution of Scientific Medicine

SISP 259 - Discovering the Person

SISP 276 - Science in the Making

SISP 336 -Science and the State

N.B. 100-level FYI (First Year Initiative) courses in history of science do not currently satisfy this requirement, nor do they count as electives for the major.


SISP 202 - Philosophy of Science

SISP 286 - Philosophy of Mind (Open to SiSP students whose science courses are in Psychology)


SISP 205 - Sciences as Social and Cultural Practices

SISP 206 - Theorizing Science and Medicine

SISP 208 - Gender and Technology

SISP 242 - All Our Relations? Kinship and the Politics of Knowledge

SISP 260 - Social Life of the Modern Fact

SISP 262 - Sociology of Medicine

SISP 313 - Bodies of Science, Bodies of Knowledge

SISP 397 - The Politics of Nature: Modernity and Its Others

A second approved course in the History of Science (see above list) will also satisfy this requirement.

III. Area of Concentration

Option 1: Students may fulfill their area of concentration in a science by completing a major in that science (the first four courses satisfy their science requirement; the remainder count as their area of concentration).

Option 2: Students may fulfill their area of concentration by taking three courses in any of the following areas as specified below:

ANTHROPOLOGY:  EITHER ANTH 101 OR one course the from "Crafting Ethnography" concentration within the department; two relevant upper-level electives, at least one of which must be at the 300-level. In planning this concentration with their adviser, students should note that ANTH 101 can be a pre-requisite for certain upper level courses and plan accordingly.

FEMINIST, GENDER, AND SEXUALITY STUDIES: FGSS 209 and two other courses approved by the adviser.  One FGSS Gateway course may normally be included in the concentration.

HISTORY: Students are encouraged to work with their adviser to devise a coherent concentration in History.  The three courses for the concentration must include at least one Seminar (either a Sophomore Seminar, or an Advanced Seminar), and should normally be taken within a single field (e.g., AALA, United States, Europe, Intellectual, Gender, Religion, etc.). History concentrators must also include a second course in the History of Science among their SiSP couses.

PHILOSOPHY (metaphysics and epistemology):  PHIL 202 (Philosophical Classics II), one intermediate level "Mind and Reality" course, and a third course approved by the adviser.). 100-level courses do not count toward this concentration.

PHILOSOPHY (ethics and political philosophy): Three courses in ethics or political philosophy (numbered 211-230, 266-285 or 331-360).  With permission of your adviser, a course in political theory in the Government Department may be counted toward this concentration.

RELIGION (NEW!) Three courses, one each drawn from the Religion Department’s classification of courses as addressing “Method and Theory,” “Thematic Approaches,” and “Historical Traditions.”  Other appropriate courses may be substituted with adviser’s permission.  RELI 101 can count toward the concentration as a “Method and Theory” course.

SOCIOLOGY: SOC 151 and two additional courses approved by the adviser.  Many students find it helpful to take some courses cross-listed with SiSP for their sociology concentration, but must then take other SiSP courses as electives for the Program.

Miscellaneous Program Policies

Courses that are cross-listed between SiSP and a student's Area of Concentration department may be counted for either requirement, but not for both simultaneously.

Education-in-the-Field, Individual Tutorials, Group Tutorials, Senior Theses, and other independent study formats are not normally accepted toward the five required courses in SiSP itself. Students are strongly encouraged not to include more than one such course in their Area of Concentration.

Courses may be transferred from other institutions to replace one of the Science in Society requirements, but we review these requests very stringently, and only accept courses clearly equivalent in level and field to courses we would accept at Wesleyan.