Certificate in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy (STEP) - Courses and Requirements

To earn the certificate, WWS students 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 here at the beginning of each academic year.

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.

All elective courses to be applied toward the STEP certificate requirements must be approved by the STEP Certificate Faculty Advisor. A list of pre-approved electives will be made available in the fall term.

Courses by Individual Petition:

Students are permitted to suggest courses not on the STEP list for certificate approval. Credit for such courses requires a consultation with the STEP Certificate Director for course relevance, course level, and focus of assignments prior to enrollment in the course.

  • 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 pre-approval from the MPA Faculty Chair to count an undergraduate 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. Graduate students must receive pre-approval from the MPA Faculty Chair to count any undergraduate courses towards their degree. 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.

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.