The Social Thought and Political Economy Program (STPEC) is an interdisciplinary undergraduate major in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The STPEC Program encourages students to engage in a critical examination of society and to develop their own capacities for critical reading, writing, and thinking. STPEC students cross disciplinary lines to confront fundamental questions often ignored or neglected by traditional academic thought.
Many of the issues STPEC students explore involve relations between individuals and society. STPEC courses may deal with issues such as freedom and the state, structural inequality in the economy, work and work relations, the relationship of Western to non-Western cultures, the interrelationship of racism, sexism, and class oppression, the psychodynamics of politics, and theories of social change.
As STPEC students acquire an understanding of social relationships, they frequently develop a need to put their knowledge to work. Thus the program also encourages its students to involve themselves in practice as well as theory by enrolling in internships as part of their undergraduate education, by playing a role in University and community affairs, and by assuming active responsibility for the shape of their own education within the STPEC Program.