Master's Certificate in STEP

The Princeton School of Public and International Affairs 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 Master's certificate in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy (STEP).

Read more on the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs site.


Master's students pursuing the STEP certificate are required to complete four (4) approved course credits on science policy-related topics. A list of pre-approved courses that fulfill the STEP requirements is posted on the Princeton SPIA 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, and the paper must have received 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 complete the Certificate Declaration form online and reach out to the Certificate Director to discuss course selection.

2023-2024 STEP Approved Classes

Fall 2023
Spring 2024
  • SPI 548: Weapons of Mass Destruction and International Security, Chris Chyba
  • SPI 582b: Topics in Econ: The Economics of Climate Change Policy, Allan Hsiao
  • SPI 585a Topics in STEP: Societal Impacts of Data, Algorithms and AI, Aleksandra Korolova
  • SPI 586a: Topics in STEP: Machine Learning for Policy Analysis, Brandon Stewart
  • SPI 586d: Topics in STEP: Global Environmental Governance (PU/NYU), Michael Oppenheimer 
  • SPI 586e: Topics in STEP: Natural Hazards and Disaster Policy, Eric Tate
  • SPI 594g: Green Industrial Policy [Session I], Benjamin Bradlow
  • SPI 594r: Behavioral Science in Environmental Policy [Session II], Elke Weber
  • SPI 594s: Climate Change: Science, Policy and Mitigation [Session I], Denise Mauzerall
  • SPI 594u: Data Privacy in the US and Europe: A Comparative Perspective [Session II], Helena Kastlova
  • SPI 594v: Vaccination: Epidemic Dynamics, Policy and Vaccine Hesitancy [Session II], Bryan Grenfell
  • SPI 594w: Energy, Environment, Development & Justice [Session II], M.V. Ramana
  • SPI 594y: Climate Change and Health: Risks and Opportunities [Session II], Wei Peng
  • ENE 522/MAE 533: Introduction to the Electricity Sector-Engineering, Economics, and Regulation, Jesse Jenkins

2022-2023 STEP Approved Courses

Fall 2022
Spring 2023

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. You must receive approval from the STEP Certificate Director and send the approval email to Madeline Hehir and Keely Swan to ensure these courses are counted towards your certificate.

  • 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.