Master's Degree Certificate Program

The Woodrow Wilson School offers two master’s degrees:  a 2-year Master in Public Affairs (MPA) and a 1-year mid-career Master in Public Policy (MPP).

Students in either program track can earn a STEP certificate in addition to fulfilling the requirements for one of the four WWS fields of concentration. To earn the STEP certificate, candidates from the WWS must complete four approved courses ( graded B+ or better) and submit an approved policy paper (which can be a STEP related term paper written for a course).


MPAs with little or no background in natural science are encouraged to take a science/engineering course as one of their four STEP approved courses.  These science/engineering courses may be at the undergraduate level at Princeton as long as an additional policy relevant paper is written and graded by the instructor and the course is approved by the STEP director.  

The following WWS courses are approved for 2017-18. This is a partial list, please contact the STEP director for approval of additional courses.

Fall 2017 Courses List

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

Spring 2018 Courses List

WWS 548 Weapons of Mass Destruction and International Security (Core)
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 (Core)

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.


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

Paper Requirement:

All advanced policy papers submitted in fulfillment of the certificate requirements must be approved by the STEP director.
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. Students are urged to consult with STEP faculty in order to meet the standards of an approved science -policy paper.


Students interested in obtaining the STEP certificate should notify Denise Mauzerall, acting STEP faculty chair (Fall 2017 and Spring 2018) ; Charles C. Crosby, STEP administrator; and Ann Lengyel in the Graduate Program Office.