Princeton University's Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy (STEP) is based in the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs with strong ties to the Princeton Environmental Institute. Many aspects of science and technology policy debates have been tackled with the tools of political,economic, and behavioral analysis. In addition to providing a systematic introduction to the field of policy analysis, the goal of the STEP program is to develop a deeper understanding of current scientific, technological, and environmental issues and potential local, national and international policy responses. The Program provides interdisciplinary training that facilitates communication between technical experts and policy makers.
Increasing numbers of students in the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs generally, and in the STEP program in particular, have a primary interest in environmental science and technology policy, including global climate change, air pollution, negotiated environmental accords, biodiversity, environmental economics, environmental justice, and the connection between the environment and development. Research in these areas and others such as biotechnology and nuclear-weapons policy is facilitated by the Program's ties with the Princeton Environmental Institute; the Departments of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Molecular Biology, and Geosciences; the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory; the Program on Science & Global Security; and the Office of Population Research.
The program offers a certificate for students enrolled in the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs' M.P.A. or M.P.P programs and for enrolled students at the master’s or Ph.D. level from other degree-granting departments within the University. Students may not be admitted to the University only through the certificate program. The certificate does not appear on the official transcript.
To earn the certificate, candidates from the SPI must complete four approved courses at B+ or better and an approved research 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 SPI). STEP certificate candidates from departments outside the SPI are required to complete three approved courses at B+ or better and a paper judged to be of publishable quality if they are enrolled for a PhD. degree at Princeton.
Recent course offerings include:
SPI 548 Weapons of Mass Destruction and International Security
SPI 586d Global Environmental Governance
SPI 586f Technology Policy and Law
SPI 594r Behavioral Science in Environmental Policy
SPI 594s Climate Change: Science and Policy
The Paper Requirement
All advanced policy papers submitted in fulfillment of the certificate requirements must be approved by the STEP chair.
For SPI MPA/MPP students, 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-SPI master's and Ph.D. students must meet the advanced policy paper requirement as well. For STEP-PEI fellows and other Ph.D. certificate applicants, the advanced policy paper must be deemed of publishable quality. Often times a policy chapter of the student's dissertation has met this requirement.