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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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.

Student Spotlight: Cameron Cantrell

Cameron is a senior from Redmond, WA. She is majoring in Society, Technology & Policy and minoring in Mathematics on an accelerated 3-year program. She plans to attend law school immediately after graduation and would like a career in technology advocacy.  Learn more about Cam!

Student Spotlight: Anastasia Karapanagou

Anastasia is a senior double majoring in Biomedical Engineering and Psychology with a minor in Electrical and Computer Engineering. In her freshman year sh got involved in the Social Psychology Inquiry Lab at WPI where she got to run research studies, such as examining the influence of stereotypes on perception and decisions, and grew further involved from there.

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

WPI’s ongoing efforts to prepare students for an increasingly diverse workforce were highlighted in this Diversity in Action article. “Researchers will teach WPI students how to identify and address bias and work in groups in ways that promote equity,” the article stated.

Diversity in Action Magazine

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!.”  

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