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Humanities and Social Sciences

Why STEM Needs the Humanities and Social Sciences

Learn how Caltech bridges STEM, the humanities, and the social sciences to shape students who think critically, communicate clearly, and make ethical decisions.

Why STEM Majors Should Take Humanities and Social Science Courses

In a world increasingly reliant on the power of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), the question arises: Is there space for the humanities and social sciences? For Caltech and its many researchers, the answer is an unequivocal "yes."

STEM disciplines undoubtedly equip students with strong analytical skills. However, Caltech's Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) provides courses and areas of study that offer a unique space for fostering critical thinking and communication skills, as well as analyzing the social and ethical implications of technological advancements.

By bridging the gap between STEM, the humanities, and the social sciences, Caltech helps future scientific minds contribute positively to the well-being of all humanity.

Developing Critical Thinking Prowess

Caltech's humanities courses examine human behavior and thought. Engaging in academic fields ranging from philosophy to history encourages a nuanced approach to finding the "right answer" by prompting you to analyze diverse perspectives and question assumptions.

Learn to compare sources, examine biases, and construct persuasive arguments—all crucial skills during your time at Caltech and beyond.

Enhancing Communication Skills

How do we convey the dangers of climate change or allay fears about machine learning? Much of the answer lies in developing clear and impactful communication skills.

Caltech's humanities and social sciences courses help you articulate complex ideas and write persuasively through active reading and hands-on practice. With your HSS experiences, you can more effectively communicate your ideas to diverse audiences, fostering a more inclusive and impactful knowledge exchange.

Ethical Considerations in Technology

The current developments in artificial intelligence (AI) and increasing concerns about data and privacy demonstrate the need for ethical thinking in our everyday lives. In response, organizations like Caltech provides AI guidelines to prospective applicants.

Understanding the social and ethical dimensions of technological advancements ensures that STEM professionals contribute to a society that values humanity. By integrating the social sciences into your academic journey at Caltech, you can ensure that future inventions impact society positively.

Interdisciplinary Collaboration

Today's complex, interconnected world requires cooperation across traditional academic disciplines. By taking HSS courses, you study subjects across disciplines to better understand multifaceted issues and develop comprehensive solutions.

For example, you may take political science courses that combine theory with mathematical models and quantitative methodologies. This interdisciplinary approach ensures you understand both the context and science behind elections and voting data. This experience working across disciplines leads to more informed perspectives, preparing you to make a meaningful difference in whatever field you pursue.

Bridge the Gap between STEM, the Humanities, and the Social Sciences at the California Institute of Technology

Caltech's students possess exceptional thinking abilities that set them apart from other student bodies. Our core curriculum offers advanced courses in the sciences, humanities, and social sciences, and its framework allows you to take greater advantage of our unparalleled research opportunities.

Furthermore, we also provide majors and minors in the humanities and social sciences through our Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences. Our HSS programs explore the human experience by applying cutting-edge methodologies via the scientific method, and roughly 20% of our students double major in an HSS program, with some solely choosing an HSS major.

Whether you pursue a STEM or HSS major (or both!), find a community that encourages collaboration between the academic disciplines at Caltech.

Study STEM, the Humanities, and the Social Sciences at Caltech

Step out of your comfort zone at the California Institute of Technology, where students immerse themselves in advanced mathematics and science courses, the humanities, and the social sciences.