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social science & policy faculty
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There is No Place for Racism in SSPS

In the Social Science and Policy Studies 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 of 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. To read more and find resources click here.

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.


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.