Program in Information Technology and Society
Edward W. Felten
Andrew W. Appel, Computer Science
Elizabeth M. Armstrong, Woodrow Wilson School, Sociology
Mung Chiang, Electrical Engineering
Angela N.H. Creager, History
Paul J. DiMaggio, Sociology, Woodrow Wilson School
Edward W. Felten, Computer Science, Woodrow Wilson School
Michael D. Gordin, History
Andrea S. LaPaugh, Computer Science
Sharad Malik, Electrical Engineering
Margaret R. Martonosi, Computer Science
Martin Ruef, Sociology
Matthew J. Salganik, Sociology
Sits with Committee
Ed Zschau, Electrical Engineering
One would be hard-pressed to find any aspect of society today that is not influenced by evolving technology in a significant way. Similarly, technology does not develop in a vacuum; by virtue of its applied nature, it is shaped by the needs and desires of individuals and the societies in which they live. Society and technology co-evolve, so that you cannot fully understand one without knowing something about the other. This is especially true in the area of information technology (IT) that broadly covers the computation and communication technologies that permeate virtually all aspects of corporate and social activity. The products and services enabled by it have had a major impact on the world economy and on social interactions. As we look to the future, emerging technologies in IT continue to be driven by critical societal needs in a variety of areas as diverse as business productivity, health care, security, and entertainment. At the same time, these technologies need to address the societal concerns, such as privacy and security, raised in the course of their deployment.
This intersection of IT and society is becoming increasingly important to consider in our educational mission--to understand how IT affects society, and how society affects IT. The Program in Information Technology and Society, established in partnership between the Keller Center for Innovation in Engineering Education and the Center for Information Technology Policy, provides access for Princeton undergraduates to the intellectual efforts at the intersection of IT and society through a coherent program of courses and research. Certificate recipients will have a greater understanding of the shaping, development, and deployment of IT solutions for the benefit of society. They are thus likely to be stronger contributors to this enterprise in areas as diverse as technology development, policymaking, and investing in technology and technology based for profit and nonprofit entrepreneurship.
Students are admitted to the program once they have chosen their field of concentration and consulted with the program director, who will assign them an adviser. Normally, they will have completed the program's core course prior to seeking admission.
The program provides students a focus on technology (IT) and society and places it in the broader context of technology and society. An introductory gateway course provides exposure to a broad set of issues at the intersection of technology and society. This helps them see the commonalities and differences on these issues between IT and other technology areas such as energy and biotechnology. Following the introductory course, students study both the technological and societal aspects of IT, which is critical to acquiring a good understanding of the disciplinary aspects of both sides of the issues that come up at this intersection. On the technology side, there is a rich set of courses in IT that have been designed to be accessible to all students on campus and that place the technical material in a broader application context. These are in the disciplines of computer science, electrical engineering, and operations research and financial engineering. Similarly, on the societal side, IT issues are part of important courses in several departments such as sociology and the Woodrow Wilson School. In addition to depth in IT and society, the program emphasizes breadth through a course in an area of technology different from IT that addresses the intersection of technology and society, e.g., energy or biotechnology. Finally, students need to conduct research on a specific issue through a one-semester project with a subsequent written component (junior paper/thesis component) as well as a presentation at a program symposium.
The following requirements need to be satisfied to earn the program certificate (note: an asterisk [*] indicates a one-time-only course or topic, or that the course may not always be offered):
Core Course. EGR/HIS/SOC 277 Technology and Society. This course provides students with the intellectual tools needed to approach the rest of the program--a "set of lenses" that will help them view the issues being addressed in their work. Ideally, this course will be taken before the other required courses.
IT and Society Courses (4 courses). This course requirement is intended to provide an understanding of the technology and societal aspects through a discipline-based study of both sides.
Technology Courses. Each student is required to take two technology courses from a list that includes the courses below. These courses are mostly drawn from a set that includes courses specifically designed for a wider campus audience (no prerequisites). An advanced/one-time-only course may be used to replace one or both of these courses with the permission of the program adviser.
COS 109/EGR 109 - Computers in Our World
COS 126 - General Computer Science (may be taken instead of COS 109)
COS 432 - Information Security
COS 445 - Networks, Economics and Computing
COS 455/MOL 455 - Introduction to Genomics and Computational Molecular Biology
ELE 201 - Introduction to Signals and Systems (may be taken instead of ELE 222)
ELE 222a/b/EGR 222a/b - The Computing Age
ELE 381/COS 381 - Networks: Friends, Money and Bytes
ELE 386/EGR 386 - Cyber Security
ELE 391/EGR 391 - The Wireless Revolution: Telecommunications for the 21st Century
ELE 580 - Advanced Topics in Computer Engineering: Trustworthy Computing
ORF 401 - Electronic Commerce
ORF 411 - Operations and Information Engineering
Societal Courses. Each student is required to take two societal courses from a list that includes the courses below. An advanced/one-time-only course may be used to replace one or both of these courses with the permission of the program adviser.
COS 448* - Innovating Across Technology, Business, & Markets
COS 495/ART 495 - Special Topics in Computer Science Modeling the Past Technologies and Excavations in Polis, Cyprus
COS 586/WWS 586F* - Topics in STEP Information Technology and Public Policy
PSY 214 - Human Identity in the Age of Neuroscience and Information Technology
PSY 322/ORF 322 - Human-Machine Interaction
SOC 204 - Social Networks
SOC 214 - Creativity, Innovation, and Society
SOC 344 - Communications, Culture, and Society
SOC 357* - Sociology of Technology
SOC 409*/COS 409 - Critical Approaches to Human Computer Interaction
WWS 334/SOC 313 - Media and Public Policy (formerly WWS 309)
WWS 351 - Information Technology and Public Policy (formerly WWS 451)
Breadth Course. In addition to the technology and society courses, each student is required to take one course that combines technology and society in an area outside of IT. For engineering/science students this should be based in the societal disciplines, and for humanities and social science students this should be based in the science/technology disciplines.
Representative Technology Courses
CBE 260/EGR 260 - Ethics and Technology: Engineering in the Real World
CEE 102a/b/EGR 102a/b/MAE 102a/b - Engineering in the Modern World
ENV 360* - Biotech Plants and Animals: Frankenfood or Important Innovations?
MAE 228/EGR 228/CBE 228 - Energy Solutions for the Next Century
MAE 244*/EGR 224 - Introduction to Biomedical Innovation and Global Health
MAE 445/EGR 445 - Entrepreneurial Engineering
MOL 205 - Genes, Health, and Society
Representative Societal Courses
ELE 491/EGR 491 High-Tech Entrepreneurship
EGR 492* - Radical Innovation in Global Markets
EGR 495 - Special Topics in Entrepreneurship The Lean LaunchPad
HIS 292 - Science in the Modern World
HIS 398 - Technologies and Their Societies: Historical Perspectives
NES 266*/ENV 266 - Oil, Energy, and The Middle East
*WWS 315 - Bioethics and Public Policy
Annual Symposium. Students are required to present their projects/theses to the program students and faculty at an annual symposium. This provides a mechanism for shared learning as well as for developing the common themes across the program.
All students are required to undertake a one-semester independent research project in IT and society. For A.B. students, this includes a junior paper. This may be substituted by a significant component in their senior thesis (at least a chapter). It is expected that some of these projects/theses will be jointly supervised by faculty members across the University divisions. The project/thesis component requires preapproval of the student's program adviser.
Students who fulfill the requirements of the program receive a certificate of proficiency in information technology and society upon graduation.