The Social Science & Policy Studies Department offers outstanding students the opportunity to earn a BS/MS degree in an accelerated time. The undergraduate degree is in any major and then is combined with a System Dynamics MS or SDIM MS degree program. Interested students are encouraged to apply during junior year.
Social science is a key component to a wider and more insightful global perspective.
WPI is internationally renowned as a distinguished engineering school that produces innovative thinkers. Courses in the Social Science & Policy Studies (SSPS) department prepare students to think as social scientists who understand the wide-ranging influence technology has on an incredibly diverse and always-changing human world that is full of social challenges. Through our hands-on teaching and research methods, we strive to inspire the development of professionals who have a deep understanding of social impacts of technology and innovation.
The renowned, dedicated, and passionate faculty in our department offer students unique opportunities to make connections between societal concerns and technology through research and project work. Many of our students double major in a technical field and a social science field, finding each complementary to the other. We also offer a variety of minors that can be uniquely paired with any major.
In the spirit of the wider WPI philosophy, our faculty encourages students to pursue the direction that appeals to them most. In our research-intensive environment, we teach students to look at the bigger picture of how to design and implement public policies, the reasons why economic policies are not a one-size-fits-all solution, and how and why human beings interact with technology in varied ways, among other wide-ranging critical topics relating to society.
Degrees & Certificates
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Emily Douglas, professor and department head of social science & policy studies, spoke with KCUR (NPR, Kansas) about her research surrounding men who are victims of domestic abuse. She shared that men are less likely to seek help in domestic abuse situations, and that these men often face barriers to seeking help. "But, now the conversation is switching to, 'how do we best serve men who are victims of partner violence'?" she told KCUR. (The clip starts at 1:02)
The Boston Herald reported on the work that Krishna Venkatasubramanian, assistant professor of computer science, and Jeanine Skorinko, professor of social science and policy studies, are doing on an app to help people with intellectual or developmental disabilities report abuse.
Assistant Professor of Social Science & Policy Studies, Angela Incollingo Rodriguez, talked about her research surrounding weight stigma in pregnant and postpartum women on the podcast Top of Mind With Julie Rose (36:31 mark), from Brigham Young University Radio. Rodriguez discussed how nearly two-thirds of pregnant and postpartum women experience weight stigma, and that that when pregnant and postpartum women experience weight stigma, they are at risk for depressive symptoms, unhealthy eating behaviors, and stress.
Inside Higher Ed's Academic Minute featured Kent Rissmiller, dean of interdisciplinary and global studies ad interim, who explores how project-based learning can set students up for success outside school.
Social Justice STEMS from You
From climate change research to closing the socio-economic divide between populations and communities, an increasing number of WPI's students, faculty, and staff are coming together tin their passion to create a more just world through innovative, life-changing STEM solutions.