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social science & policy faculty
social science policy studies students

All scientific and technological problems are embedded in broader sociocultural contexts.  

You must understand society to effectively address our global grand challenges. Toward this end, the Social Science & Policy Studies (SSPS) department prepares students to understand the wide-ranging influence society has on science and technology and vice versa. Through our teaching and student research opportunities, we cultivate professionals who have a deep understanding of the social impacts of science, technology, and innovation. 

Our dedicated faculty offers students unique opportunities to make connections between societal concerns and technology through faculty-led research and student projects. To prepare themselves professionally, many of our students will double major in a technical field and a complementary SSPS-related degree. We also offer a variety of minors that can be uniquely paired with any major.

There is No Place for Racism in SSPS 

In the SSPS department, our ethos is egalitarian. Racism has no place in our department. Celebrating diversity and cultivating an environment of inclusiveness and compassion are the ideals that guide all our work regarding our students, staff, faculty, and the content of our programs; it is the culture of our department. In SSPS, we must commit to be anti-racist. That means standing up for what is right. It means seeking to confront our own biases and deliberately work to reduce them in our scholarship, our teaching, and our engagement with students, colleagues, and anyone we meet. It means hiring more people of color and giving their perspectives a platform, as we have our own, to permeate our courses, programs, and our teaching and learning. See SSPS’s full statement for more information. 

Our Programs

Degrees & Certificates

Area of Study Bachelor Minor Certificate Master PhD
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Media Coverage

More than 70 media outlets, including the Latin Trade , Pittsburgh Post Gazette, and the Oklahoman carried the news of WPI welcoming 19 full-time educators and researchers to its faculty for the 2020-21 academic year. 

Angela Rodriguez, assistant professor in the Social Science and Policy Studies department, wrote an account for the Telegram & Gazette's "As I See It" section on how our culture can more positively reshape its portrayal of the working mom and work-life-balance – especially while in a pandemic. 

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.