MIT’s doctoral program in History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology and Society (HASTS) is widely recognized as one of the best of its type in the world. Co-sponsored by STS, the Anthropology Program, and the History Faculty, it is a flagship program in the humanities at MIT.
When it was created in 1988, it was the first new doctoral program approved by the MIT Faculty in over 20 years, and remains one of only two MIT doctoral programs in the humanities (the other is in philosophy).
The HASTS graduate program is deeply interdisciplinary. On one level, it seeks to integrate the perspectives of history and the social sciences in understanding the technological world. It goes further, however, by seeking to integrate both these with the study of science and engineering. For example, faculty and students in the HASTS program collaborate with other MIT faculty and students in the Engineering Systems Division and in the Health Sciences and Technology degree program.
Obviously it is impossible for any program to cover the full range of problems raised by the multiple interactions of history, social studies, science, and technology. As you will see from other parts of this website (especially Faculty, Calendar, and Connections), the HASTS program has developed particular strengths primarily dependent upon the research interests of various faculty members.
The educational philosophy of the program assumes that it is the responsibility of doctoral students to take the initiative to use the resources of HASTS, and of MIT more generally, to develop their own approach to STS studies. The most successful students show a high degree of initiative in doing this and enjoy the relatively open-ended nature of the HASTS program.
The faculty members associated with the HASTS program, for their part, assume the responsibility of teaching the graduate courses; discussing and evaluating student performance; working closely with individual students in tutorials, reading classes, and dissertation preparation; making sure that students make good progress in their studies with appropriate practical support to deal with financial, employment, and career issues; admitting new students; and assessing the overall effectiveness of the program.
The HASTS program is administered by STS on behalf of the three collaborating units.