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Undergraduate Catalog 2013

Human Context of Science and Technology


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Joseph N. Tatarewicz

Human Context of Science and Technology Committee

Ted Foster
Sandra Herbert
Jessica Pfeifer
Phillip S. Sokolove
Lynn C. Sparling
Laszlo Takacs

Courses in this program are listed under HCST .

This is a 27-credit, upper-division certificate program. It complements the student's major.

For students in the humanities and social sciences, the Human Context of Science and Technology (HCST) Certificate Program provides a core of foundational courses in one of the areas of science or engineering that will provide the technical background allowing them to integrate humanistic and scientific learning. The HCST Program provides students in the sciences and engineering with a broad-based education that will equip them to understand the cultural setting and societal impact of their future work.

To assist students in their future careers, whether in business, engineering, education, writing or in the arts, the HCST Certificate Program provides a bridge connecting the cultural life of the humanities and the sciences. In an era when individuals change careers with some frequency, it also provides avenues into a number of different areas of knowledge.


The program has a three-part structure:

1) A required introductory course, HCST 100 (three hours)
2) Electives chosen from a list of prescribed courses (15 hours)
3) Natural science/ engineering component (nine hours minimum)

I.) HCST 100 (3 credits) (GFR: meets A/H, GDR: meets H)

II.) Electives (15 hours)

A student in the HCST Certificate Program would take five of these courses, of which at least four would have to be at the upper level. Substitutions to this list can be approved by the director of the certificate program. This course list will be subject to periodic revision. For all courses, a grade of “C” or better is required.

Electives List:

  • AMST 270 American Culture and Science
  • AMST 388/ENGL 388 American Environment: Landscape and Culture
  • ANTH 312 Medical Anthropology
  • ENGL 200 Language and Scientific Value
  • ENGL 317/CPLT 317 Literature and the Sciences
  • ENGL 383 Science Writing
  • ENGL 418 Advanced Topics in Literature and the Sciences
  • ENGL 419 Seminar in Literature and the Sciences
  • GEOG 326 Conservation Thought
  • GEOG 432 Seminar in Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation
  • HIST 369 Darwinism: The Evolutionary Perspective
  • HIST 387 Medicine and Health Care in China
  • HIST 404/IS 404/CMSC 404 History of Computers and Computing
  • HIST 492 Colloquium in the History of Science
  • HIST 445 History of Science to 1700
  • HIST 446 History of Science Since 1700
  • MATH 432 History of Mathematics
  • PHIL 248 Introduction to Scientific Reasoning
  • PHIL 251/CMSC 304 Ethical Issues in Information Systems
  • PHIL 358/HAPP 358 Bioethics
  • PHIL 372 Philosophy of Science
  • PHIL 394 Philosophy of Biology
  • PHIL 395 Philosophy of Physics
  • PHIL 454 Animals and the Environment: Moral Theory and Its Applications
  • PHIL 472 Advanced Topics in the Philosophy of Science
  • PHYS 333 Applied Physics in Archaeology and Art
  • POLI 452 Politics of Health
  • SOCY 351 Medical Sociology
  • SOCY 352 Issues in Health Care
  • SOCY 361 Science and Society
  • SOCY 416/ANTH Cyberspace, Culture and Society
  • SOCY 457/HIST 450 Social History of American Medicine
  • WMST 352 Women, Gender and Information Technology
  • WMST 378 Gender, Science and Technology

III.) Natural science/technology component (9 hours minimum)

In addition to studying critical literature about science and technology, students must become acquainted in some detail with current conceptions and practice in a chosen area of science or technology as presented by that area’s current practitioners. The following options are available:

Biology Option:

  • BIOL 100/100L 4+2 Concepts of Biology
  • BIOL 302 4 Molecular and Cellular Genetics

Chemistry Option:

  • CHEM 123/124/124L 4+3+2 Intro to General Organic and Biochemistry
  • CHEM 101/102/102L 4+3+2 Principles of Chemistry

Computer Science Option:

Three courses chosen from the following:

  • CMSC 104 3 Problem-solving and Computer Programming
  • CMSC 201 4 Computer Science I for Majors
  • CMSC 202 4 Computer Science II for Majors
  • CMSC 203 3 Discrete Structures

Geography and Environmental Systems Option:

  • GEOG 110 3 Physical Geography
  • GEOG 111 3 Principles of Geology
  • GEOG 120 3 Environmental Science and Conservation

Information Systems Option:

  • IS 202 3 Systems Analysis Methods
  • Two additional courses chosen from IS 125
  • any IS courses at the 200 level or above.

Mathematics/Statistics Options:

  • MATH 151 4 Calculus and Analytic Geometry I
  • MATH 152 4 Calculus and Analytic Geometry II
  • either any 200-level MATH course
  • any 300-level STAT course.

Physics Option:

  • PHYS 111/112 4+4+3 Basic physics and any other course in the physical sciences
  • PHYS 121/122/122L 4+4+2 Introductory Physics

Chemical and Biochemical Engineering Option:

  • ENES 101 3 Introductory Engineering Science
  • CHEM 101/102/102L 4+3+2 Principles of Chemistry
  • ENCH 215 3 Chemical Engineering Analysis
  • Mechanical Engineering Option:
  • ENES 101 3 Introductory Engineering Science
  • ENME 204 3 Introduction to Engineering Design with CAD
  • ENES 220 3 Mechanics of Materials

General Engineering Option:

  • ENES 101 3 Introductory Engineering Science

AND At least two more three-credit courses in an engineering field, selected from the courses listed under the engineering options. In exceptional cases, courses other than the ones listed may be accepted on the recommendation of the advisor, provided they are at a similar or higher level.

Career and Academic Paths

This program is suitable for and accessible to students of all abilities, particularly those with serious interests in both the humanities and the sciences. Sometimes the choice may be a matter of emphasis. Does a student want to be a physicist with an interest in archaeology, or an archaeologist with training in physics? Sometimes the choice is more dramatic. If a student is interested in biology, would he or she be better served by pursuing an M.D., or a degree in the new field of medical humanities? Sometimes the choice may be more market-driven. With the current high demand for teachers of mathematics and science in elementary and secondary schools, students who excel in the skills of communication so essential to the humanities might be drawn to complete more years of training in science and technology-related fields than they otherwise might have. It is also true that in the Baltimore-Washington area, with its emphasis on public affairs, students with both technical and humanistic knowledge are often preferred by employers over those students whose education is more limited. In short, HCST is important to any individual who wishes to understand the human dimensions of science and technology, or the technical and scientific dimensions of his or her humanity.