Master's Degree Certificate Program

The Woodrow Wilson School offers two master’s degrees:  a 2-year Master in Public Affairs (MPA) and a 1-year mid-career Master in Public Policy (MPP).

Students pursuing either degree can earn a certificate in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy (STEP). STEP blends scientific knowledge and methods with social science and practitioner perspectives in ways that yield practical solutions to the major scientific, environmental and technological challenges facing the world today. To earn the STEP certificate, candidates from the WWS must complete four approved courses (graded B+ or better) and submit an approved policy paper (which can be a STEP related term paper written for a course).

MPA/MPPs with little or no background in natural science are encouraged to take a science/engineering course as one of their four STEP approved courses.  Generally, undergraduate level courses ( 300 or 400 level) can receive certificate credit in consultation with the STEP director and the course professor regarding extra work such as a longer more advanced paper than those required of undergraduates.

Please note: as of September 1, 2017, all WWS MPA/MPP certificate candidates must include a minimum of 2 approved courses  from the Program's approved courses list as part of their 4 course requirement.  Others courses can be considered for certificate credit upon petition and approval of the STEP director.

Credit for such courses requires a prior consultation with the STEP director for course relevance, course level and focus of assignments.   For level, a course must meet graduate level requirements and may need modification of papers and other course elements to do so.   For focus, course work, especially course papers, should incorporate strongly an approved STEP theme and be formulated in consultation with the STEP director in order to receive credit.

The current list of STEP approved courses can be found on the  courses page:

Paper Requirement:

All advanced policy papers submitted in fulfillment of the certificate requirements must be approved by the STEP director.
It is expected that most MPA and MPP candidates will write the advanced policy paper in the context of one of their STEP approved courses. Only papers receiving a grade of B+ or above will be eligible to satisfy this requirement. Students are urged to consult with STEP faculty in order to meet the standards of an approved science -policy paper.


Students interested in obtaining the STEP certificate should notify Denise Mauzerall, acting STEP faculty chair (Fall 2017 and Spring 2018) ; Charles C. Crosby, STEP administrator; and Ann Lengyel in the Graduate Program Office.