STEP 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). Graduate students outside of the Woodrow Wilson School may also add a STEP certificate to their departmental degrees.

Read more on the Woodrow Wilson School site.


Master's students pursuing the STEP certificate are required to complete four (4) approved courses on science policy-related topics. A list of pre-approved courses that fulfill the STEP requirements is posted on the WWS website at the beginning of each academic year. Current pre-approved courses are also listed below.

Two half-term courses count as one course credit. Additionally, students may propose courses not on the pre-approved list to the STEP Certificate Director for consideration. Students must take at least two courses from the pre-approved list as part of the 4-course requirement.

Paper Requirement:

Students pursuing the STEP certificate must also submit a policy paper to the STEP certificate director for approval. Generally students will use a paper from one of their certificate courses, which must have a grade of B+ or better. 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 Prof. Elke Weber, and contact Abby Stern Cardinale and Ann Lengyel in the WWS Graduate Program Office to request the STEP certificate track to be formally added to their WWS records.

2019-2020 STEP Approved Courses

Fall 2019

Spring 2020

  • WWS 548: Weapons of Mass Destruction and International Security, Chris Chyba
  • WWS 586c: Topics in STEP:  Energy Policy, Meg Jacobs
  • WWS 586d: Topics in STEP:  Global Environmental Governance, Michael Oppenheimer
  • WWS 586f: Topics in STEP:  Technology Policy and Law, Jonathan Mayer
  • WWS 594r: Role of Behavioral Science in Environmental Policy, Elke Weber, Session II (Half-Term)
  • WWS 594s: Climate Change: Science and Policy, Denise Mauzerall, Session I (Half-Term)
  • WWS 594v: Vaccination Policy and Epidemic Dynamics, Bryan Grenfell, Session I (Half-Term)

Additional Course Options for STEP Masters Certificate Students

Courses by Individual Petition:

Students are permitted to suggest courses not on the STEP list for certificate approval. Credit for such courses requires a prior consultation with the STEP Certificate 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. Undergraduate courses may receive certificate credit provided they complete graduate-level coursework and have the approval of their instructor. Only one undergraduate level course may count towards the four courses required for the certificate. Students must also receive approval from the MPA Faculty Chair to count the course towards their degree.
  • For focus: coursework, especially course papers, should strongly incorporate an approved STEP theme and be formulated in consultation with the STEP Director in order to receive credit.

Students should utilize the Princeton Course Catalog to search for additional relevant courses. 

Science Course Option:

MPAs with little or no background in natural science can take a science course as one of their four STEP-approved courses. A science course requires the prior permission of the STEP certificate director to receive credit. These courses can be either graduate (500) or undergraduate (300 or 400) level. The purpose of a science course is to introduce students who lack a science background to a scientific form of inquiry within a specific subject matter area.

Students should utilize the Princeton Course Catalog to search for additional relevant courses.