The Master of Science in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy (MS–STEP) at the Humphrey School is one of a few in the nation that prepares individuals with backgrounds in natural sciences, physical sciences, or engineering to become leaders and innovators who integrate science with policy and action to solve grand challenges.
The MS–STEP program combines a rigorous curriculum with opportunities available in many departments, centers, and schools at the University of Minnesota. MS–STEP students can take advantage of advanced research conducted by Humphrey School faculty members, workshops and symposia, and coursework noted for its breadth and depth of focus.
Skills developed in the STEP program:
Students also have access to the Center for Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy where scholarship, teaching, and public engagement come together in hands-on projects. These projects—conducted in partnership with communities; nonprofit and private sector organizations; local, state, and national governments; and international advisory bodies—maximize our impact on the real world.
The Center's research focus areas:
A science or engineering background coupled with a policy-focused graduate degree affords many career opportunities. Our graduates work in government, nonprofit, private sector, and community-based organizations.
The Master of Science in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy (MS–STEP) program requires 36 semester credits, including 21-24 required core credits (varies depending on your choices), electives, and either a Plan A thesis or Plan B paper.
If you pursue a Plan A program, your master's thesis will count for 10 credits, and you will take additional elective credits. For the Plan B program (3 credits), you write a Plan B paper and choose additional electives in consultation with your advisors.
Elective courses provide the knowledge, skills, and domain-specific expertise you need to advance your career goals. Electives may be chosen from a large variety of inter-disciplinary and inter-departmental offerings including (but not limited to) Agronomy and Plant Genetics; Animal Science; Anthropology; Applied Economics; Biology; Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering; Conservation Biology; Ecology, Evolution and Behavior; Environmental Sciences, Policy, and Management; Forest Resources; Fisheries and Wildlife; Geography; Horticultural Science; Law; Public Health; Sustainable Agricultural Systems; Water Resource Science; and many others.
Although no internship is required, many students complete a professional internship between their first and second year of study.
Required Core Courses (approximately 21 credits)
PA 5012 Politics of Public Affairs (3)
PA 5021 Economics for Policy Analysis and Planning I (3)
PA 5002 Policy Analysis (1.5)
PA 5711 Science and Technology Policy (3)
PA 5722 Environmental and Resource Economics Policy (3) OR PA 5790 Material Energy Flows & Society OR ApEc 5721 Economics of Science and Technology Policy
PA 5715 Survey of Current Issues in Science, Technology, Environmental Policy (1.5)
At least one of the following:
PA 5721 Energy and Environmental Policy (3)
PA 5723 Water Policy (3)
PA 5731 Emerging Technologies and Society (3)
PA 5741 Risk Analysis and Policy (3)
PA 5751 Urban Infrastructure Systems Sustainable Cities (3)
Two of the following:
If you have not taken prior coursework in statistics, you must satisfy your advisors that you have adequate preparation in statistics or take Empirical Analysis I (PA 5031), which does not count toward fulfilling the 40-credit minimum requirement.
Plan B Paper (3 credits), plus electives
Plan A Thesis (10 credits), plus credits of electives
See a list of recent Plan A theses and Plan B papers.
Program Planning Worksheet
The Program Planning Worksheet (PPW) helps current students plan their degrees from start to finish. Students must submit a completed and approved PPW before graduating.
Dual Degree Opportunity
By choosing a joint degree, you can complete a MS-STEP degree and a Juris Doctor degree in less time (typically one year less) than it would take to complete the two degrees independently.
MS students can pursue a dual degree with the University of Minnesota Law School.
Master of Science in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy
Deb Swackhamer, Professor
University of Minnesota
280 Humphrey School
301 19th Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55455