Majors & Programs

Appropriate Technology

Degrees Offered: Minor

The Program

The term “appropriate technology” challenges the presumed inevitability or naturalness of technological development. At the same time, the question of which technologies are “appropriate” resists easy or predetermined answers. A minor in appropriate technology allows students to familiarize themselves with promising technologies, while also developing their understanding of the political, social, and economic processes by which choices about technologies are — and might be — made.

Courses enable students to combine theory and practice, often through hands-on projects at the Campus Center for Appropriate Technology (CCAT). CCAT is a student-run, living laboratory and demonstration home on the campus. It models effective energy use, a photovoltaic electrical system, solar hot water heating, graywater recycling, a composting privy, organic gardening, lowimpact building materials, and many other technologies, in a residential setting.

The minor can be of particular value to students wishing to pursue careers in science, public policymaking, or community development. It can also be useful for students wishing to volunteer for the Peace Corps or other overseas development work. For those wishing to design and develop technological systems professionally, the minor is not an adequate substitute for a major in Environmental Resources Engineering or a related field.


Arne Jacobson, Ph.D.
Department of Environmental Resources Engineering
Harry Griffith Hall 116B

John Meyer, Ph.D.
Department of Politics
Founders Hall 138

Degrees & Requirements