Interested in science and technology policy?

A number of students in our masters’ programs are interested in policy issues that are related to science and technology, including areas such as energy policy, environmental policy, health care, etc. One way to get a little deeper training in this area is through our graduate certificate in science, technology and public policy (STPP). Below is more information from our STPP program administrator, Caroline Walsh


Are you interested in influencing science and technology policy? Are you concerned that U.S. research funding is at risk? Do you wonder how scientists and governments will navigate the ethical challenges of CRISPR/Cas9 technology? Do you want to use science and technology to help citizens in the developing world? Are you interested in a science or engineering career outside the lab? The STPP Program provides you with tools to think through these questions and prepare you for a career that engages with science and technology policy.

Launched in 2006, STPP is a well-regarded and uniquely interdisciplinary graduate certificate program dedicated to training students on politics and policy related to science and technology. Masters and PhD students in good academic standing from across University of Michigan’s campus are eligible to apply. The STPP Program currently enrolls 51 students from a variety of backgrounds including engineering, biomedical sciences, public health, physics, chemistry, social sciences, law, business, environmental science, and public policy. Over the past 11 years, the program has successfully graduated 81 students who have gone on to shape science and technology policy by working in government, non-governmental organizations, industry, and academia.

Our course content reaches across multiple disciplines and is concerned with cutting-edge questions that arise at the intersection of science, technology, policy, and society:

  • Should governments regulate potentially transformative emerging science and technology, such as artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and autonomous vehicles, and if so, how?
  • How should governments balance science and values as they make public policies?
  • Can we do better science, and develop better technologies, to ensure social benefit?
  • How can scientists and engineers better engage the public and policymakers?

The STPP graduate certificate program is dedicated to training students to: 1) contribute, as science or technology experts themselves, in the policymaking process; 2) engage in science and technology policy analysis (through thinktanks, industry, or academia); and 3) participate in the politics and policy of science and technology (as government officials or members of non-governmental organizations). STPP students enjoy a competitive advantage when applying for science and technology policy jobs and fellowships; preferential access to STPP courses; access to scholars and practitioners invited through STPP’s lecture series and other events; access to supplementary funding through the STPP Student Career Development Grant; networking opportunities; and more!