2011-2013 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog (with addenda) 
    Jan 19, 2021  
2011-2013 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog (with addenda) [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Department of Technology, Culture and Society

Head: Kristen Day

Mission Statement

The interdisciplinary Department of Technology, Culture and Society (TCS) focuses on critical engagement with technology and science through research and teaching. This mission is fulfilled in part by undergraduate degree programs, including Integrated Digital Media, B.S. , Science and Technology Studies, B.S.  and Sustainable Urban Environments, B.S. , and by a graduate program in Integrated Digital Media, M.S. Environment-Behavior Studies, M.S. . The department is also responsible for NYU-Poly’s core curriculum in humanities and social sciences, which gives students a breadth of knowledge and perspective necessary for careers in technology and the sciences.

Department: Undergrad Cluster Curriculum: Core Requirements

The Cluster Concept

TCS offers humanities and social sciences elective courses that understand the relations among science, technology and society from three general approaches and modes of inquiry: Culture, Arts and Media; Science, Technology and Society; and Society, Environment and Globalization (see below). This integrated approach to science, technology and the humanities and social sciences provides engineering and science majors with a concrete and focused foundation for their fields. The humanities and social sciences clusters are:

Culture, Arts and Media (CAM)

The CAM cluster explores how cultural practices and artifacts in a wide range of media reflect, influence and interact with developments in science and technology. Courses are based on philosophy, media studies, music, literary studies, art history, rhetoric and anthropology.

Science, Technology and Society (STS)

STS cluster courses explore the interrelationships among science, technology, culture and society. STS unites and investigates a myriad of disciplines, including history, philosophy, rhetoric, literary studies and sociology. The questions posed are: How do science and technology shape society? How do social processes frame scientific and technological enterprises? What is the relationship between the content of scientific and technological knowledge and the social and intellectual context in which it is created?

Society, Environment and Globalization (SEG)

Courses in this cluster address the way the critical areas of society, environment and globalization are interlinked in the way they affect the experience of modern life. Coming from the complementary perspectives of the humanities and social sciences, SEG courses provide students with a broad and multicultural perspective on how environmental issues and global exchange in this “flat world” are changing society, here and across the world.

Required Courses for Fulfilling the First-Year Writing Requirement (Two courses, 6 credits):

  1. Fall: EW 1013  - Writing the Essay
  2. Spring: EW 1023  - The Advanced College Essay

Humanities and Social Sciences Elective Requirement (Six courses, 18 credits)

Students may choose six courses from any humanities and social sciences cluster. These six electives can be within a single cluster or across multiple clusters. For optimal breadth of experience, students are encouraged to take humanities and social sciences electives  across clusters and/or across disciplines within a cluster. These six humanities and social sciences electives must satisfy the following constraints:

  1. At least one of these six must be a 3xxx/4xxx level humanities and social science elective.
  2. At least one of these six must be a writing-intensive humanities and social science elective, labeled by “W.”

Course Types

TCS offers three types of undergraduate courses, as well as graduate courses:

Humanities and Social Sciences Electives are open to all Bachelor of Science students, subject to prerequisites. They count toward the school’s general-education requirement and the state’s Liberal Arts and Science requirement and help meet ABET requirements and fulfill the Polytechnic mandate of a technology- and science-focused curriculum. Electives may be chosen from any CAM, STS or SEG cluster.

Writing-Intensive Humanities and Social Sciences Electives are writing-intensive humanities and social sciences courses designated with a “W” and open to all Bachelor of Science students, subject to prerequisites. Electives may be chosen from a CAM, STS or SEG cluster. Writing-intensive courses require:

  1. A minimum of 15 pages of formal writing, not including informal writing and in-class exams;
  2. Explicit writing instruction;
  3. At least one formal written assignment that incorporates instructor response and student revision.

Studio Electives are creative practice courses in art and design disciplines, open to all Bachelor of Science students, subject to prerequisites. These courses may NOT be taken as humanities and social sciences electives to satisfy general-education humanities and social sciences requirements, but may be taken as technical or free electives.

N.B.: Courses that carry the following prefixe may NOT be used to fulfill the general humanities and social sciences requirements: DM (digital media).

Institutes Affiliated with the Department of Technology, Culture and Society

Brooklyn Experimental Media Garage (BXmC)

 BXmC at NYU-Poly is truly experimental; it is the creative/research arm of NYU-Poly’s art and technology programs. BXmC works with the hard core of New York’s experimental multimedia scene: installation and performing artists, programmers and interaction designers and architects. BXmC develops new kinds of partnerships to create new genres and applications, especially those that need underlying technologies of the future such as: extreme modification of an open-source game engine, purpose-built multi-touch screen for music performance, peer-to-peer 3D streaming, live HD video switching using off-the-shelf components, a new high-performance VJ application to facilitate extension and reconfiguration on the fly…these are BXmC.

Cite Game Innovation Lab

Digital games have permeated our everyday lives and are driving technological and media innovation forward at a tremendous pace. Engaging in the core challenges that are driven by game development and design requires interdisciplinary skills and a rigorous empirical and experimentally-minded approach. The Game Innovation Lab is an exciting, dynamic and flexible space for research and learning that takes games as an innovation challenge. Core research and teaching activities are grounded in computer science, engineering, and user experience, with participation of researchers and educators from other allied disciplines. Sample projects in the Lab include user interface innovation (sensor-based tracking, multi-touch), network and video quality research, and research on games for learning.

Contact Information

Polytechnic Institute of NYU
Six MetroTech Center
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Tel: (718) 260-3231/3039

Degrees Offered

Bachelor of Science

Graduate Certificate

This certificate is awarded for successful completion of a 15-credit graduate-level sequence. Students must take two core courses and three electives. Certificates are offered in the following disciplines:

Master of Science


Integrated Digital Media

Requirements: 15 credits of DM courses, of which 6 are at the 3xxx level or above.

Science and Technology Studies 

The minor in STS requires 15 credits consisting of:

  1. Core requirement: STS 3003/W  (3 credits).
  2. Elective requirement: Remaining credit requirements (12 credits) must be satisfied by courses chosen from the STS electives list.

Requirement 1 and one of the STS electives (requirement 2) must be taken at NYU-Poly; the remaining elective requirements may be met with transfer credits.

The minor is open to all majors. For engineering or natural science majors, benefits of an STS minor include:

  • An understanding of the conceptual, historical and cultural foundations of your major field.
  • A rigorous humanistic education essential to the practice of science and engineering in our global society.
  • Writing and communication skills that employers seek.

For other majors, benefits of an STS minor include:

  • Exposure to key subjects in science and engineering fields and their impact on society, at a broad conceptual, year non-trivial, level.
  • An appreciation of the problem-solving techniques and practiced that scientists and engineers engage in.
  • Critical reasoning and analytical skills that employers seek.

Sustainable Urban Environments

The minor in SUE  requires 15 credits consisting of at least two courses from the SUE core and three courses from any of those offered in the concentration. The minor in SUE is open to all majors.

Other Humanities and Social Sciences Minors

A minor can be obtained in any humanities and social sciences discipline for which there is an adequate number of courses. Such a minor consists of 15 credits in that discipline, unless otherwise specified. Consult the TCS department for information about which specific disciplines offer sufficient and appropriate courses, and further details of specific minor requirements.



Kristen Day, Professor of Urban Planning and Department Head
PhD, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
Urban design and behavior; design of urban environments for equity, health and well-being

Jean Gallagher, Professor of English
PhD, City University of New York Graduate Center
Feminist theory, 19th- and 20th-century American literature, composition and rhetoric

Sylvia Kasey Marks, Professor of English
PhD, Princeton University
Shakespeare, Samuel Richardson, the 18th- and 19th-century British novel, public speaking, expository writing

Richard E. Wener, Professor of Environmental Psychology
PhD, University of Illinois at Chicago
Environmental psychology

Associate Professors

Jonathan Bain, Associate Professor of Philosophy of Science
PhD, University of Pittsburgh
Quantum theory, philosophy of space and time

Teresa Feroli, Associate Professor of English
PhD, Cornell University
Renaissance literature, Shakespeare, women’s studies

Lowell L. Scheiner, Associate Professor of Humanities and Communications
MS, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
MA, Columbia University
Technical writing, journalism

Jonathan Soffer, Associate Professor of History
PhD, Columbia University
JD, University of Denver
Twentieth-century American political and foreign-relations history, urban history with a specialization in the history of New York City since 1945

Assistant Professor

Luke Dubois, Assistant Professor of Digital Media
PhD, Columbia University
Computer music, real-time multimedia

Industry Faculty

Jerry MacArthur Hultin, Industry Professor of Law, Management and Public Policy; President of Polytechnic Institute of NYU
JD, Yale University
Innovation management, global development, modern university education, technology policy

Harold P. Sjursen, Industry Professor of Philosophy
PhD, New School University
History of philosophy, ethics, philosophy of science and technology


Allan Goldstein, Instructor of English
BA, University of Denver
English as a second language, developmental writing, writing nonfiction/personal experience writing, intellectual disability advocate

Christopher Leslie, Instructor of New Media and Science and Technology Studies
PhD, City University of New York Graduate Center
History of media and technology, science of difference, science fiction

James P. Lewis, Instructor of Psychology
MA, Stony Brook University
Humanistic psychology

Alan M. Nadler, Instructor of English
MFA, Columbia University
Contemporary poetry, the European novel

Mark Skwarek, Instructor of Integrated Digital Media
MFA, Rhode Island School of Design
Augmented reality


Donald S. Phillips, Lecturer of Psychology
BS, Polytechnic University
Experimental and physiological psychology, physical anthropology, paleontology

Faculty Emeriti

Lester Bumas
John G. Cavanna
Wolhee Choe
Duane DeVries
Anne Eisenberg
Marvin Gettleman
Helmut Gruber
Louis Menashe
David Mermelstein
F. David Mulcahy
Bernard Rechtschaffen
Thomas B. Settle

Romualdas Sviedrys

Humanities and Social Sciences Electives List