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Science, Technology & Law Minor

The STL minor centers on the intersection of science, technology, and law in a global economy driven by knowledge, technology, and innovation. A primary objective of the minor is for students to be able to identify and discuss broad scientific problems, in addition to social and ethical issues. Courses connect “intellectual creations” (i.e. ideas, inventions, new technologies, etc.) to all facets of intellectual property (IP) law, including patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets. Related challenges in areas ranging from bioethics to the internet are considered in context.

Why do it?

Students will find the STL Minor equips them with legal and philosophical tools while fostering multi-disciplinary analytical skills and critical thinking abilities. The minor includes opportunities to meet and interact with lawyers, IP professionals, inventors, researchers, and scholars. It will also prepare students to become “citizen-engineers/scientists” who can succeed on multiple career paths.


The 18-credit minor in Science, Technology & Law requires three STL core courses and three elective courses (3 credits each). Students must complete at least 6 hours at the 3000-level or higher in the core courses.

STL 2304: Foundations of Science, Technology & Law
STL 4304: Intellectual Property Law
STL 4314: Current Topics in Science, Technology & Law

Students select the remaining 9 credits from a list of cross-disciplinary, interdepartmental courses that complement the minor, and 3 credit hours each must be taken from each of the 3 required elective course groups (ethics; civics; and law, policy, and business. For a complete list of elective courses, consult the Registrar checksheet (follow this link, click on 'checksheets', scroll down to Minors, and find the minor checksheet you're interested in).

Who is it for?

The STL minor is meant for any student in any major and will provide a deeper understanding of intellectual property and the crucial role it plays in today’s economy. Courses in the minor will highlight IP issues encountered by students on a regular basis (e.g., downloading songs from the internet, sharing photos via social media, engaging in undergraduate research opportunities, signing employment contracts, etc.).

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This minor is hosted by the College of Science in collaboration with numerous departments across Virginia Tech.

Pathways Concepts

Core Concepts*
1a - Advanced/Applied Discourse
2 - Critical Thinking in the Humanities
3 - Reasoning in the Social Sciences
7 - Critical Analysis of Identity and Equity in the United States
*Students are guaranteed to meet at least three of the core concepts listed

Integrative Concepts
Ethical Reasoning
Intercultural and Global Awareness


James Steiner