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STEP Courses: 2013-2014

graduate course listing

WWS 571C Topics in Development: Global Challenges of Infection, Burden and Control (Fall 2013)

Bryan T. Grenfell; Adel A. Mahmoud

An exploration of the biological, public health and global dimensions of infectious disease. The basic features of human-microbe interactions by examining several viral, bacterial and parasitic infections are analyzed.. Emphasis includes biology, burden of illness and domestic and global forces shaping the expanding threat. Control strategies, including chemotherapy, vaccines and environmental changes; and the role of international organizations such as WHO, UNICEF, and GAVI and the major philanthropies, are considered.

WWS 581C Topics in Economics: Energy Economics (Fall 2013)

Amy B. Craft

This course examines the economics behind many issues related to energy use, including the investment and use of renewable and non-renewable resources, energy conservation, deregulation of energy markets, transportation, and energy independence. Current policy options will be discussed.

WWS585B Topics in STEP: Living in a Greenhouse: Technology and Policy (Fall 2013)

Robert Socolow

This course will focus primarily on the challenge of modifying the global energy system to reduce projected global carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere. Students pursue both science/technology and policy in each of five two-week units: 1)underlying carbon cycle science, ways the world has organized to learn more & to communicate results; 2) Energy efficiency, patterns of demand, lifestyles, energy & poverty; 3) Fossil fuels, abundance & depletion, energy security; 4) Carbon capture & storage, policies enabling commercialization, risk assessment; 5) Non-carbon energy in its two forms, nuclear power & renewable energy. Final two weeks are devoted to student reports

WWS 591F Policy Workshop: Rural Energy Alternatives In India (Fall 2013)

M.V. Ramana

Distributed renewables have become a more viable option for electricity generation in recent years due to reductions in the costs of generating technologies; advancements in the technology of, and a better understanding of the necessary institutional and governance frameworks for, micro-grids and a variety of novel financing mechanisms. Despite significant increases in access to electricity through central grid expansion, distributed generation continues to be necessary both in remote villages and in areas with poor quality electricity from the grid. The workshop will explore the progress of distributed electricity generation, their sustainability, and obstacles to their wider adoption, by examining factors such as national and state-level policies, financing strategies, electricity tariffs, competition with grid expansion, and community participation.

Potential Clients: 
The policy workshop will ideally have two clients, one based in the US and one based in India. Clients could range from an international organization like the World Bank, to NGOs in India.

WWS 593l Biodiversity Conservation: Scientific and Policy Issues ( session 2) (Fall 2013)

David Wilcove

WWS 556d Topics in IR: Protection Against Weapons of Mass Destruction (Spring 2014)

Christopher Chyba

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the only significant security threats to the U.S. and its allies have been from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. Historically, the US focus has oscillated between protection via nonproliferation and disarmament agreements, and via civil and missile defense. The course assesses the threats, both approaches to protection, and linkages made between policies on WMD and perceptions of "conventional" military threats.

WWS 586a Topics in STEP: Biotechnology Policy (Spring 2014)

Lee Silver

This course provides in-depth analysis of selected topics in biotechnology that are currently the focus of intense debate in the public and policy arenas. Topics include genetic modification of plants and animals, genetic testing in human populations, stem cells, cloning, and advanced reproductive technologies. Each topic is examined from the perspective of potential commercial applications, risk/benefit analysis, impact on individuals and society, the viewpoints of supporters and detractors, and the political response in the U.S. and other countries

WWS 586H Topics in STEP: Greening the U.S. Energy Economy: Meeting the Technology, Policy, and Investment Challenge (Spring 2014)

Michael Schwartz


In recent years much attention has been focused upon the development of early stage, advanced clean energy technologies. Although such technologies may well be strategically significant in the long term, transitioning the US from its existing legacy fossil platform to a clean energy future will be measured in decades not years. In the intervening period, massive capital commitments will be made in fossil energy including oil/natural gas production, midstream infrastructure (such as pipelines), natural gas electric generation, environmental compliance investments in coal generation and commercial renewable energy technologies such as wind and PV solar.

Developing strategies to guide these investments requires integration of technology, public policy and commercial structuring including project financing. This course is designed to provide a broad understanding of the key sectors that comprise the US energy industry including commercial technologies, market drivers, regulatory and public policies and sources of financing, financing metrics and risk analysis as the basis for students to develop and present an investment strategy for a US energy company.

WWS 594q The Future of Nuclear Energy ( session 2)(Spring 2014)

Alexander Glaser

WWS594s The Environment, Science, and Policy (Spring 2014)

Denise Mauzerall , session I

WWS 594o Risk Analysis (Spring 2014)

Amy Craft, session I