WPI is internationally renowned as a distinguished engineering school, but we know the world needs professionals who understand the social impacts of technology while remaining literate in both approaches. Our strong social science department prepares students to be 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.

Renowned faculty in the Social Science & Policy Studies (SSPS) Department offer students chances to make connections between society and technology through research and project work. Many students double major in a technical field and a social science field, finding each complementary to the other.

Our faculty encourages students to pursue the direction that appeals to them most. In our research-intensive environment, we teach students how to design and implement public policies, the reasons why economic policies are not a one-size-fits-all solution, or how and why human beings interact with technology in varied ways.

society

Degrees & Certificates

Area of Study Bachelor Minor Certificate Master PhD
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Launching the Conversation: The 1st Summit on Social Justice in STEM at WPI

Join us for WPI’s first campus-wide summit on social justice! Hear from faculty, staff, and students who work in areas related to social justice. Join the conversation to explore the meaning behind social justice and to learn how it relates to WPI majors and specializations. Listen to our keynote speaker over lunch: Asima Silva -- a WPI alum, IBM software engineer, and social activist. Finally, help shape the future of social justice at WPI. Join our brainstorming discussion about what comes next for our community! Stop by for any part of the day. Listen. Learn. Discuss. Contribute. Everyone is welcome!

Keeping Ahead of Cybersecurity

As cybersecurity threats increase, social scientists need to stay one step ahead. At WPI, our technical and social fluency merge for a world-class education with faculty who are internationally respected for their cybersecurity expertise. Students learn the technical savvy to protect against threats and study the human behavior that makes cybersecurity such a complex issue.

BS/MS Option

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.

Life of a Scientist

Psychology double major Rebecca Burns '17 and economics professor Michael Radzicki and are among more than a dozen members of the WPI scientific community who shared what being a scientist means to them. 

Career Outlook

Graduates of the department leave with the broad range of technical, scientific, and social science skills that lead to careers in many industries including business, psychology, industry, environmental, law, education, policy, or cybersecurity.

75%

of graduating students completed at least one off-campus project

2017-18
68

countries are represented by undergraduate population 

(2017)
93%

of full-time faculty have a PhD or terminal degree (2017-18)

In the News

Assistant Professor Erin Ottmar, psychology and learning sciences, was highlighted in this Telegram & Gazette article. “We have very strong evidence that it’s useful,” she said of the game called “From Here to There!.”  

telegram.com logo

The Worcester Business Journal interviewed Rob Krueger, associate professor of social science & policy studies, about why the city of Worcester seems to no longer construct skyscrapers. Towers are often built for two main reasons, Krueger noted: land values are high, or a builder or owner wants to spend the money. 

Worcester Business Journal