MA in Science & Technology Studies

Our MA in Science & Technology Studies (STS) provides students with an advanced introduction to the ethical, social, political, and economic implications of science, technology, and innovation. Students explore a range and diversity of STS concepts and theories, and have the opportunity to pursue an independent research project of their own design. This experience enables students to expand their repertoire of interdisciplinary tools to analyze the diverse structures of the sciences, technology, and innovation. Our MA is a 1-year program and all accepted students are offered a funding package comprising a fellowship and, potentially, other financial opportunities.

(Please note that the new curriculum changes are subject to Senate approval)

MA Program

Admission Requirements

The deadline for applications is published on the Admissions website.

Applicants must have:

  • An Honours BA or BSc (or equivalent) from a recognized university in field(s) relevant to Science & Technology Studies, with a grade average of at least B+ in the last two years of study. Examples of relevant undergraduate degrees include any BA or BSc degree in which the student has completed a significant amount of coursework on the application of the social sciences and/or humanities to an understanding of science or technology. Strong science and arts students with no prior work in Science & Technology Studies or a related field are considered on a case by case basis;
  • Three letters of recommendation;
  • A statement of intent which provides a cogent rationale for undertaking study in Science & Technology Studies and defines a topic area for an independent project; and
  • A sample of written work relevant to graduate study (approximately 3000 words).

Degree Requirements

Our MA program is a 1-year program which introduces students to graduate study in STS. It is open to qualified students who may or may not plan to pursue further graduate study after completing the MA. Consequently, our MA is a valuable complement for those interested in working in various professional fields such as policymaking, jurisprudence, journalism, healthcare, and education.

All MA students are required to develop a plan of study in which they provide an integrated, coherent rationale for their studies as it relates to their coursework and Major Research Paper. A preliminary plan must be discussed with their Advisor/Supervisor at the beginning of the first term, with the end of the first term as the deadline for a final plan approved by the Graduate Program Director.

Course Requirements

Students are required to take 18-Credits in graduate courses consistent with their plan of study.

Courses

  • Students are required to take:
    → 3-Credit Introduction Science and Technology Studies in the Fall term.
    → One 3-Credit Research Cluster course, running over Fall and Winter terms (see below).
    → 0-Credit Colloquium course, running over Fall and Winter terms.
    → At least one 3-Credit STS elective course.
  • Students have the option to take:
    → One other 3-Credit Research Cluster course, running over Fall and Winter terms.
    → One 3-Credit Directed Reading course.
    → One 3-Credit course offered by another graduate program relevant to their studies and in consultation with the Graduate Program Director.

Visit our provisional curricula page for next year's (2021–2022) curriculum.

Major Research Paper

Students are required to demonstrate their grasp of a topic within STS in a Major Research Paper (MRP). The MRP may be related to the work that students have done in one or more of their courses, but it must demonstrate independent research. It should be completed by the end of the Summer Term of the first year of study. The MRP is formally evaluated and graded by the Supervisor and Second Reader agreed with the student, and in consultation with the Graduate Program Director. The Supervisor must be a member of the Science and Technology Studies graduate program.

Time Limits

Full-time master’s candidates are expected to complete their degree requirements within one-year (3 terms). Students taking the degree on a part-time basis are normally expected to complete the program within 2 years (six terms).

RESEARCH CLUSTERS

1. Technoscientific Injustices

Kean Birch, Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change
Denielle Elliott, Departments of Anthropology & Social Science
Anna Agathangelou, Department of Politics

The Cluster is focused on three thematically linked topics, one for each year, all relating to technoscientific injustices. First, an examination of the configuring of technoscientific capitalism, specifically as this relates to the social, political, and economic implications of innovation-finance logics that drive the development of technoscience of economic exploitation; for example, the digital technologies underpinning Big Tech’s dominance and their configuration by specific forms of extraction (e.g. of our data, of our attention, etc.). A core question to consider is how STS fits within this framework, and what role it has and how it is sidelined in these arenas. Second, the identification and exploration of the politics of Indigenous science, settler colonialisms, and technoscience across settler nations (e.g. Australia, Canada, USA, Palestine, and Aotearoa/New Zealand). While a growing body of research has helped to underscore the many roles technoscience plays in longstanding entanglements between citizenship, knowledge claims, land, and nationhood, much of this scholarship seems to define the social roles of science and scientists in implicitly settler terms. We will consider how STS might interrogate its own assumptions about settler science and Indigenous knowledge. Third, engagement with decolonization, of society, of university, and of STS itself. Many struggles and movements, ranging from Indigenous movements at Standing Rock to student movements in South Africa are calling for decolonization. These decolonial struggles are emerging as pivotal acts in the wider struggle to end imperialism, capitalism and white supremacy. The surge of Black Lives Matter has also intensified these calls for decolonization in Europe and the Global North. But what is “decolonization?” These examples inquire into the colonial and enslaving scientific knowledge productions and STS as a field, ethos, and practice. What do such struggles imply about the possibilities for the world’s remaking?

2. Bodies: Organic, Inorganic, Technological

Ganaele Langlois, Department of Communication Studies
Hélène Mialet, Department of Science and Technology Studies
Joan Steigerwald, Department of Humanities

The Cluster is organized around the following three interconnected areas. First, cosmotechnics and bodily assemblages to challenge the tripartite system of colonialism, modernity and capitalism as it has grown to assert a monotechnologism aiming on absolute control and domination over organic and inorganic bodies. It does so by focusing on forgotten, ignored and discarded technologies, with particular attention to indigenous and women’s technologies. It invites participants to explore the cosmotechnics (Yuk Hui) – the articulation of technical processes with cosmological and ethical values, which transform technologies into bodily and heavenly communication – that emerge from these alternatives and potentials. Second, bodies in translation as a way to destabilize the boundaries between humans and non-humans, nature and society, subject and object. We will explore the specificity and the role of the human in these assemblages composed of humans and non-humans (whether networks in the case of Latour or cyborgs in the case of Haraway). We will explore how the flesh and blood body is experienced and constituted through, with, and by others, machines, humans and animals, and taking into account the importance of senses, sensations, and feelings, notions of attachment, and sensibility. Finally, experimental and technological practices and reasonings remaking bodies. The instrumentalization of inquiries into organic and inorganic bodies is often cast as producing an objectification of the world for the use and the corresponding enframing of human subjects. Yet technological innovations can also act as medial tools and techniques for expanding our engagements with the world and for embedding human senses, cognition and imagination in extended assemblages of organic, inorganic and technological bodies. The epistemic, ethical and cultural implications of the medial relationships between different kinds of bodies will be explored through various cases studies and theoretical approaches.