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The M.P.A./M.P.P. Program - The STEP Certificate

The Woodrow Wilson School offers degrees in domestic, international, development, or economic policy with a STEP Certificate in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy. In addition to fulfilling the requirements for one of the fields of concentration (domestic, international, development, or economic policy), the STEP certificate represents an additional set of requirements beyond those for any of the MPA/MPP program's four basic fields.

To earn the certificate, candidates from the WWS must complete four approved courses and a paper.
We encourage MPA1’s with little or no background in natural science to take a science course as one of their four STEP approved courses  (which may be chosen from among appropriate undergraduate or graduate offerings outside the WWS). With STEP faculty approval, students with strong undergraduate science backgrounds may wish to waive this recommendation.  STEP certificate candidates from departments outside the WWS are required to complete three approved courses and a paper. (see the guidelines below)

1.Course requirements: WWS candidates must complete four STEP approved courses. All others must complete three STEP approved courses. it is expected that most of the courses will be taught by STEP core or associated faculty. Recent offerings include:

  • WWS 528f Information Technology and Public Policy
  • WWS 556e Topics in International Relations: Protection Against Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • WWS 582b Environmental and Natural Resource Economics

Courses numbered 585x and 586x Topics in STEP; including:

  • Population, Environment and Health
  • Living in a Greenhouse: Technology and Policy
  • Conservation of Endangered Species and Ecosystems
  • Biotechnology Policy
  • Earth's Atmosphere: Theory and Practice
  • Global Environmental Governance
  • Science and Policy
  • Risk Policy and Regulation

(Questions concerning course approval should be directed to the STEP chair)

2. The Paper Requirement: All advanced policy papers submitted in fulfillment of the certificate requirements must be approved by the STEP chair. 

For WWS MPA/MPP's,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.

Non-WWS Masters and PhD students must meet the advanced policy paper requirement as well. For STEP-PEI fellows, the advanced policy paper must be deemed of publishable quality. Often times a policy chapter of the student's dissertation has meet this requirement.

3. As of November 17th 2010, students are not required to take WWS 584: The Use of Science in Public Policy as one of their certificate courses, but can elect to do so with departmental approval if and when it is offered. 

4. Students interested in obtaining the STEP certificate should notify the STEP faculty chair and the STEP administrator, Chuck Crosby, of their intensions, in addition to Ann Lengyel in the GPO.