Human and Social Dimensions of Science and Technology, PhD

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Creating and understanding innovative and inclusive futures require diverse perspectives, methods and expertise. This intellectually rigorous program with problem-oriented research prepares you to shape the debate, deliberation and innovation of public value.

This program prepares students to teach and conduct research using humanistic and social science methods on the social, historical, philosophical and policy foundations of science and technology as well as their current and future interactions with society.

The PhD program in human and social dimensions of science and technology responds to growing demand for transdisciplinary research in the humanities, information sciences and social sciences that can provide insights into the dynamic relationship between science, technology and society.

The program is flexible, combining a strong, integrated, first-year experience with substantial freedom for students who, in conjunction with their advisors, design carefully crafted plans of study relevant to their own areas of specialization and expertise. Unique among programs of this kind in the nation, students also learn to communicate and work with scientists, engineers, policymakers, business and community officials, or the public in conducting and applying research.

At A Glance

Human and Social Dimensions of Science and Technology, PhD

Plan of study

The Plan of study is the required curriculum to complete this graduate level program.

View Plan of Study

Welcome to HSD

Portrait of HSD PhD student Monamie

Monamie Bhadra was awarded an American Institute for Indian Studies research fellowship to study the Indian government’s decision after Fukushima to continue its plans to build 60+ new nuclear power plants—and the public protests it has stirred across the country.

Degree requirements

Required Core (8 credit hours)
HSD 601 HSD I: Human Dimensions of Science and Technology (4)
HSD 602 HSD II: Science, Power and Politics (4)

Culminating Experience (12 credit hours)
HSD 799 Dissertation (12)

Additional Curriculum Information
This is a research degree, culminating in a dissertation, which must draw on multiple disciplinary perspectives.

Students may apply up to 30 credit hours from a prior master's degree toward the total hour requirement, upon approval of the steering committee. Each student, with his or her supervisory committee, develops a unique plan of study, which the student's supervisory committee approves.

Each student completes a yearlong core seminar, a second-year research project, two major fields, one minor field, methods training, electives and research. Students also regularly attend the program colloquia. There are no foreign language or statistics requirements, except as needed for a particular student's selected dissertation project.

Comprehensive Examination
The written dissertation prospectus and its oral defense constitute the written and oral comprehensive examinations required by the Graduate College for advancement to candidacy. Each student develops a written dissertation prospectus, including a bibliography and discussion of relevant research skills. The student makes an oral defense of the dissertation prospectus to his or her supervisory committee, which must approve the prospectus. Students normally complete the dissertation prospectus and its defense in the fifth semester.

The dissertation represents an original body of research that contributes to existing knowledge in a significant way.

Final Examination
Upon completing the dissertation, the student makes an oral defense of the dissertation to the supervisory committee, which must approve the dissertation. The doctorate is granted upon successful completion of the oral defense and any revisions to the dissertation required by committee members.

Admission requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and the School for the Future of Innovation in Society.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree from a regionally accredited institution.

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in the last 60 hours of their first bachelor's degree program, or applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in an applicable master's degree program.

All applicants must submit:

  1. graduate admission application and application fee
  2. official transcripts
  3. HSD academic record form
  4. a curriculum vitae or resume
  5. a personal statement
  6. a writing sample
  7. general GRE scores
  8. three letters of recommendation
  9. proof of English proficiency

Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of current residency. In order to meet English proficiency students must have an IELTS overall band score of at least 6.5 with no band below 6.0, or Pearson Test of English score of at least 60, or a TOEFL score of at least 550 (PBT) or 80 (iBT). ASU's institutional code is 4007. ASU only accepts electronic copies of the TOEFL score report.

Preference is given to students with demonstrated interest and competence in relevant areas of intellectual work.

The personal statement should be one or two single-spaced pages. It must be a statement of proposed research that clearly explains why the student feels ASU is the appropriate place to pursue their doctorate, identifies one or more faculty members whose interests or work are relevant to the student's proposed research, and describes the goals for pursuing the degree.

The writing sample should be a 10- to 25-page sample of academic writing, such as a course paper, an undergraduate thesis, or an excerpt from a master's thesis.

Students should see the program website for application deadlines.