Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy (STEP)

The STEP certificate allows students to develop a deeper understanding of the current scientific, technological, and environmental issues, as well as potential location, national, and international policy responses.

Certificate Faculty Advisor
Elke U. Weber

Certificate Administrator
Abby Stern Cardinale  


Certificate students are required to complete four approved courses on science policy-related topics. A list of courses that fulfill the requirements is posted at the beginning of each year.

Two half-term courses count as one course credit. Additionally, students may propose courses not on the preapproved list to the STEP certificate faculty advisor for consideration. Students must take at least two courses from the preapproved list as part of the four-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 preapproved electives will be made available in the fall term.

Courses by Petition

Students who wish to count one course from another Princeton department toward the certificate requirements must seek prior permission from the STEP certificate faculty advisor.

Science Course Option

MPA students with little or no background in the natural sciences can take a science course as one of their four STEP-approved courses. This requires the prior permission of the STEP certificate faculty advisor, and the courses can be either graduate or undergraduate level. Graduate students must receive preapproval from the MPA faculty chair to count any undergraduate courses toward their degree.

Paper Requirement

Students pursuing the STEP certificate must also submit a policy paper to the STEP certificate faculty advisor 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.


For doctoral students in other disciplines seeking a STEP certificate, additional funding support can be obtained through the HMEI-STEP Fellowship Program or the CITP-STEP Fellowship Program.

These two-year programs enable participating Ph.D. students from departments outside the School to explore the environmental or technological policy dimensions of their doctoral research. Princeton graduate students, typically in their second or third year of study, may apply for one of these fellowships.

Fellowship students must identify an advisor in addition to their dissertation advisor. They are also required to:

  • Complete three graduate-level courses in the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs.
  • Produce an advanced policy paper of publishable quality, often conceived as a policy chapter of their dissertation.

For more information, visit the HMEI website.