Our Program

In February 1859, Abraham Lincoln identified the six great steps in the history of liberty in his "lecture on discoveries and inventions".  The right of inventors and authors to royalties for patents and copyrights was one of them.  Today, intellectual property has become a major part of the worlds economy and one of the fastest growing areas of law: stem cell research, gene patents, clean technology, file sharing, digital libraries - every day we are faced with a new issue at the intersection of science, technology, and law.

The Science, Technology & Law Program seeks to:

  • Identify and discuss these issues, thereby fostering multi-disciplinary analysis and thinking
  • Equip students with a diversified skill set that enables them to succeed outside "traditional" career paths
  • Raise awareness of legal, societal and ethical challenges - on an academic, as well as professional, level
  • Provide a platform for the exchange of ideas on informed public policies on science, technology and law

Interested in learning more? Contact our advisor Nora Dragovic.
We are looking forward to hearing from you!


Science, Technology, & Law Course Descriptions

STL 2304 – Foundations of Intellectual Property (3 credits)

This course reviews the process of civil litigation, with an emphasis on intellectual property lawsuits; techniques of legal research and writing; introduction to basic principles of intellectual property law. One of the three core courses required for the Minor in Science, Engineering, and Law. Open to all majors, whether or not they pursue the minor.

Taught: Spring semester

STL 4304 –Patent Law (2 credits)

This course covers all aspects of the protection and enforcement of U.S. patent law and analyses the goals and costs of the patent system. One of three core courses required for the Minor in Science, Engineering, and Law. Open to all majors, whether or not they pursue the minor.

Taught: Fall semester

STL 4314 – Current Topics in Science, Technology, and Law (3 credits)

This seminar course explores current developments and cases at the intersection of science, technology, and law. Students will consider social, ethical and legal issues prompted by new technologies and scientific advancements. Topics can include patenting of life forms, stem cell research, fair use, digital archives, file sharing, information privacy etc. One of the three core courses required for the Minor in Science, Engineering, and Law. Open to all majors, whether or not they pursue the minor. 

Taught: Spring semester

PSCI 1014 –Introduction to US Government & Politics (3 credits)

Government and politics of the United States; the Constitution, political culture, interest groups, political parties, elections, Congress, bureaucracy, presidency, and federal courts; selected current policy issues.

PSCI 1024 –Introduction to Comparative Government & Politics (3 credits)

Government and politics of selected countries outside the United States; nature of politics and government, types of political systems, linkages of people and governments, and current political issues.

PSCI 2054 –Introduction to World Politics (3 credits)

An introduction to the prevalent methods and theories in the study of world politics. Topics include: historical context of contemporary world politics, global actors and power relations, international conflict and conflict resolution, international systems, interdependence, trade and integration, international law and prospects for global governance.

PSCI 2064 – The Global Economy & World Politics (3 credits)

An introduction to the interaction of politics and economics, power and wealth, within the world political economy. Topics include: the international financial system, the dynamics and principles of trade, and the role of transnational firms, as well as issues of environmental protection, sustainable development, and the distribution of wealth and power. 

PHIL 1304 –Morality & Justice (3 credits)

A critical survey of theories concerning human nature, the meaningful life, and the moral evaluation of actions, persons, and institutions. Theories will be applied to such issues as abortion, justice, and moral problems faced by professionals.

PHIL 2304 –Global Ethics (3 credits)

Ethical issues in international context. Application of the principles of moral theory to such issues as the obligations of richer nations toward poorer ones, cultural and other forms of relativism, emigration and immigration, nationalism, war, deterrence, intervention, environmental degradation, preservation of natural diversity, and responsibilities toward future generations.

PHIL 3324 –Biomedical Ethics (3 credits)

Philosophical analysis of ethical issues in medicine and biotechnology, such as problems arising in connection with the relations between physicians and patients, the challenges of cultural diversity, practices surrounding human and animal research, decisions about end of life care, embryonic stem cell research, genetic engineering, biotechnological human enhancement, and social justice in relation to health-care policy.

STS 2054 –Engineering Cultures (3 credits)

Development of engineering and its cultural roles in historical and cross-national perspectives. Explores roles of engineers and engineering in popular life, development of national styles, changing values in engineering problem solving, and effects of evolving forms of capitalism.

STS 3314 – Medical Dilemmas & Human Experience (3 credits)

This course will explore medical dilemmas from a humanistic perspective, including topics related to assisted reproduction, genetic testing and treatment, organ transplantation, clinical trials, end-of-life interventions, and decisions regarding allocation of health-care resources.

STS 3105/3106 – Science & Technology in Modern Society (3 credits)

Examination of science and technology as social and cultural activities in the modern world. 3105: institutions and values in science and technology; 3106: value conflicts and decision making in science and technology. 

AAEC 3314 – Environmental Law (3 credits)

Principles of law involved in environmental issues, survey of environmental litigation, legislation and administrative rulings. Law topics include natural resources, water pollution, private land use, air pollution, toxic substance, food, drug, pesticides, and biotechnology.

AAEC 3604 – Agriculture Law (3 credits)

Legal problems of farm and agribusiness management. Practical application of principles of contracts, negligence, debt instruments and commercial transactions of the farm and agribusiness organization. Selected state and federal laws regulating the farm and agribusiness sector; basic animal laws including state and federal regulation of agricultural sector.

AAEC 4754 – Real Estate Law (3 credits)

The law of real property, legal framework, law of estates in land, conveyancing, landlord-tenant and non-possessory interest in real property. Zoning, easements, restrictive covenants. Mortgages, deeds of trust, and taxation of real estate. Junior standing required.

CEE 3104 – Introduction to Environmental Engineering (3 credits)

Overall view of environmental engineering with emphasis on hazardous waste management, water treatment, wastewater treatment, air pollution and its control, solid waste management, groundwater pollution and environmental regulations. A grade of C- or better required in pre-requisites.

Pre: (CHEM 1035 or CHEM 1074), (CHEM 1045 or CHEM 1084), (MATH 1206 or MATH 1206H or MATH 1226 or MATH 2016 or MATH 2024), (PHYS 2305 or PHYS 2205)

CEE 4804 – Professional & Legal Issues in Engineering (3 credits)

Analysis of the legal, professional, and ethical aspects of engineering practice; introduction to contract law and contract dispute resolution, professional liability, and other aspects of law relevant to engineering practice; professional registration and codes of ethics. Pre: Senior standing in engineering. 

COMM 4024 – Communication Law (3 credits)

Study freedom of speech and the press how these freedoms apply to the press, public relations, advertising and personal speech. Consideration of First Amendment theories and jurisprudence; related ethical issues. Senior standing.

COMM 4374 – New Communications Technology (3 credits)

Identify recent trends in the innovation of new communications technologies; storage, transmission, and display systems of mediated communication: optical disc, common carriers, telecommunication-computer linkages, high-definition TV, and virtual reality; information industries and society; markets for new and existing telecommunication services. Junior or senior standing required.

Pre: COMM 2084 or COMM 4014. 

MSE 1004 – Materials in Today's World (1 credit)

An introductory course designed for the student with a basic high school science background who wishes to understand and learn about the exciting materials developments which are affecting us all in today’s world. The course will introduce the structures and properties of metals, ceramics, polymers (plastics), composites, and materials for electronic and optical applications. Students will also gain an appreciation for the processing and design limitations of materials used in everyday applications. 

MINE 4514 – Health, Safety, & Risk Management (3 credits)

Study of risk analysis; mine legislation; mine gases, their occurrence, and physiological effects; methane emissions; dust classification, monitoring, and control; heat and humidity; psychrometry; physiological effects; climatic simulation; radiation monitoring and control; equipment hazards; noise; illumination; personal health and safety; fires and explosions; disaster management.

Pre: MINE 3564 or MINE 3574. 

MINE 4544 – Mine Reclamation & Environmental Management (3 credits)

Statutory and regulatory controls on the mining environment. Air, water and land pollutants, standards, monitoring systems, and prevention and control techniques. Unique environmental issues, Surface Mine Conservation and Reclamation Act (SMCRA), endangered species, environmental impact statements, permitting, environmental audits and torts.

Pre: MINE 3574.

PHIL 4604 – Philosophy of Biology (3 credits)

This course is designed primarily for students of biology or philosophy students with a strong interest in biology. Topics vary from year to year, but include the changing character of biology as a science, the special character of biological explanations and methods, and the place and value of reduction (e.g., of Mendelian to molecular genetics) in biology. 

PHIL 4614 – Philosophy of Science (3 credits)

An examination of the structure and methodology of science as well as key concepts such as explanation, confirmation, realism, and instrumentalism.

Pre: One year of science and 3 philosophy credits required.

PSCI – 3334 Judicial Processes (3 credits)

Structure and functions of American legal institutions; participants in the process, impact of legal institutions on society.

Pre: PSCI 1014 or PSCI 1014H. 

PSCI/UAP 3344 – Global Environmental Issues: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (3 credits)

Critical examination of major global environmental problems (e.g., global warming, atmospheric ozone depletion, acid rain, tropical deforestation, toxic waste) with emphasis on their social, economic, political, ethical, and policy implications and solutions.

Pre: Completion of Area 4 of University Core.

STL 4324/GRAD 5224 G – Global Aspects of Intellectual Property Law (3 credits)

This course examines the international intellectual property system and analyses the protection and enforcement of patents, copyrights, and trademarks in a global setting. Can be counted towards the Minor in Science, Engineering, and Law. Open to all majors. 

Taught: Fall semester

STS 1504 – Introduction to Science, Technology, & Society (3 credits)

Introduction to the interrelationship among science, technology, and society. Study of how science, including medicine, and technology are defined and analyzed by the humanities and social sciences. Examination of topics, theories, and methods of the field of Science and Technology Studies. Depiction of the dynamics of scientific and technological controversies including the roles knowledge, expertise, risk, rhetoric and public understanding play in policy making. 

STS 2154 – Humanities, Technology, & the Life Sciences (3 credits)

Examines the value-laden issues surrounding the professional dimensions of research in the biological and life sciences and provides humanistic perspectives on the role and function of science in society.

STS 3105/3106 – Science & Technology in Modern Society (3 credits)

Examination of science and technology as social and cultural activities in the modern world. 3105: institutions and values in science and technology; 3106: value conflicts and decision making in science and technology. 

UAP/PSCI 3344 – Global Environmental Issues: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (3 credits)

Critical examination of major global environmental problems (e.g., global warming, atmospheric ozone depletion, acid rain, tropical deforestation, toxic waste) with emphasis on their social, economic, political, ethical, and policy implications and solutions.

Pre: Completion of Area 4 of University Core.

UAP 3354 – Introduction to Environmental Policy & Planning (3 credits)

Introduction to the interdisciplinary principles of environmental policy, planning, economics, and ethics to address pollution abatement, resources conservation, habitat protection, and environmental restoration. The course will focus on practical means of identifying environmental problems and creatively solving them.

UAP 4344 – Law of Critical Environmental Areas (3 credits)

This course examines the legal principles and policy debates involved in the regulation and protection of critical environmental resources. Specific topics vary but will likely include wetlands law and policy, endangered species habitat, open space, forestland and farmland protection, coastal zone management, and floodplain regulation and policy. 

UAP 4754 – Legal Foundations of Planning (3 credits)

Examination of the legal context in which urban planning and public policy operate. Legal structure, role of law, powers of sovereign governments, constitutional limitations on government activities, and public-private conflict and their influence on planning and public policy are examined.

Pre: Junior standing required.