Current Courses for Certificate Credit

STEP has created a simplified nomenclature to assist you in determining whether a course can receive Certificate credit. We divide courses into three groups: Core (C), Science (S), and Other Relevant Courses (ORC).

Core courses (labeled CORE) receive certificate credit on a pre-certified basis without the need to consult with the STEP Program director.

*Note: Beginning Sept 1st 2017, two courses labeled CORE will be required of all WWS MPA/MPP certificate applicants as part of their 4 courses requirement. And, one such course will be required of all other applicants, STEP-PEI and independent departmental PHD’s, as part of their three courses requirement.

Science courses (labeled SCIENCE). These courses can be either graduate (500) or undergraduate (300 or 400) level. The purpose of a science course is to introduce students who lack a science background to a scientific form of inquiry within a   specific subject matter area.
Typically, a science course need not involve any policy focus.

 A science course requires the permission of the STEP director to receive certificate credit.

*Please note STEP will allow one undergraduate level course in science or engineering to count for Certificate credit. Generally, undergraduate level courses ( 300 or 400 level) can receive certificate credit in consultation with the STEP director and the course professor regarding extra work such as a longer more advanced paper than those required of undergraduates

* note: in consultation with the STEP director, a science course (S) can be modified to become an Other Relevant Course (ORC) by supplementing its non-policy orientation.   This requires a consultation concerning the courses STEP relevance, level, and focus of work including papers written as part of the course.

Other Relevant Courses (ORC) This is a list of courses posted to the STEP website (labeled ORC) or if not posted to the website can be proposed for certificate credit by the applicants themselves.  

Credit for such courses requires a prior consultation with the STEP director for course relevance, course level and focus of assignments.   For level, a course must meet graduate level requirements and may need modification of papers and other course elements to do so.   For focus, course work, especially course papers, should incorporate strongly an approved STEP theme and be formulated in consultation with the STEP director in order to receive credit.

Fall 2017 Courses List
(The Courses below are pre-approved for certificate credit and considered "core" for 2017-2018)

WWS 581C   Graded A-F, P/D/F, Audit
Topics in Economics - Energy Economics
Amy B. Craft

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.

WWS 593C   Graded A-F, P/D/F, Audit
Topics in Policy Analysis (Half-Term) - Online Speech & Information Control: Technology & Policy
Nick Feamster

Maintaining a free and open Internet is important for the advancement of society at large. It also presents a host of technical, political, and even commercial challenges. This seminar explores the following topics: 1) Internet protocol filtering (The Great Firewall of China and circumvention technologies that exist); 2) Online personalization; 3) the role of automated algorithms in filtering; 4) social media, propaganda, and online persuasion, and the future of ¿information warfare¿; and 5) the economics of information control, including net neutrality (in the US and abroad), and the implications of Internet commercialization for speech.

WWS 593N   Graded A-F, P/D/F, Audit
Topics in Policy Analysis (Half-Term) - GIS for Public Policy (session 2)
William G. Guthe 
and Tsering W. Shawa

This course is designed as a practical introduction to the use of computer mapping (Geographic Information systems) for policy analysis and decision-making. Students learn ArcGIS through examples of map applications. Students are expected to complete exercises and a final project applying GIS to a policy issue.

ENV 407 / AFS 407 / GHP 427  - Africa's Food and Conservation Challenge
Timothy D. Searchinger 

This course will explore the economic, environmental, and social challenges of meeting growing food needs in sub-Saharan Africa. The region today has the lowest crop yields, the highest percentage of hungry people, and the highest population growth rates, and relies heavily on firewood for energy. The region also has vast areas of environmentally valuable forests and savannas. It has technical opportunities to produce food better but faces challenges from high rainfall variability and climate change. ( For graduate credit: approval of the instructor and an additional assignment is required)

Spring 2018 Courses List

WWS 548 Weapons of Mass Destruction and International Security
Christopher F. Chyba

This course examines the roles of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons in international security historically, at present, and in possible futures. The technical basis for these weapons will be presented at a level suitable for the non-scientist, and the challenges of state and non-state acquisition or development will be assessed. Topics to be examined include deterrence, defense, preemption, arms control, nonproliferation, and plausible terrorist capabilities.

WWS 571c: Topics in Devt: Global Challenges of Infection, Burden and Control
Adel Mahmoud

This course explores the biological, public health and global dimensions of infectious disease. The expanding threat of Infectious disease, whether naturally occurring, emerging or intentional is global, affecting both developing and developed countries. We will analyze the basic features of human-microbe interactions by examining several viral, bacterial and parasitic infections. The emphasis will include biology, burden of illness and domestic and global forces shaping their expanding threat and compromising adequate responses. Details of control strategies including chemotherapy, vaccines and environmental changes will be presented and debated. Attention, also, is devoted to the role of international organizations involved such as WHO, UNICEF, and GAVI as well as the major philanthropies. Active class participation by each student will be required.

WWS586c Topics in STEP: Energy Policy
Meg Jacobs

Course description to follow

WWS586F/COS586 Topics in STEP - Information Technology and Public Policy

David P. Dobkin and Jonathan Mayer

Course examines a range of infotech policy issues, including privacy, intellectual property, free speech, competition, regulation of broadcasting and telecommunications, cross-border and jurisdictional questions, broadband policy, spectrum policy, management of the Internet, computer security, education and workforce development, and research funding.


WWS594R Topics in Policy Analysis (Half-Term) - The Role of Behavioral Science in Environmental Policy session 2
Elke U. Weber

Even though numerous influential reports call for earlier and better integration of behavioral science theory and insights into the policy process, the reality is that disciplines other than economics and the law have had little or no influence on the design or implementation of environmental or technology policy. We review reasons and consequences for this failure and examine paths towards better future integration

WWS 594 s   Climate Change: Science and Policy (Session I)
Denise Mauzerall

This course is designed to improve students' skill, confidence and judgment in the use of science in policy applications, particularly in the analysis of climate change and possible greenhouse gas mitigation options. The emphasis is on preparing both non-scientists and scientists to understand, use, and apply climate and energy science and policy to address pressing national and international climate change mitigation and adaptation issues.   Exercises are scaled to the student's background.  A final paper and presentation is required.