University of Minnesota
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The Humphrey School of Public Affairs is the University of
Minnesota's school of policy and planning.

Master of Science in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy (MS–STEP) Degree

We prepare individuals with natural or engineering science backgrounds to assume roles in public policy development and implementation.

A Specially-designed Master of Science in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy Graduate Program

The Master of Science in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy (MS–STEP) degree focuses on understanding the role of science, technology, and the environment in our society, particularly in relation to its economic growth, health, environment, education, and national security. Our science, technology, and environmental policy graduate program includes coursework in policy analysis and design for the appropriate promotion and regulation of science and technology regionally, nationally, and internationally.

To learn more about faculty and student research, projects, and opportunities for students particpating in the MS–STEP degree program, visit this page.

The Center for Science, Technology, and Public Policy is one of eight policy research centers at the Humphrey School. The center's mission is to improve people’s lives by advancing the application of science and technology to solve public problems.

What Our MS–STEP Graduates Do

The combination of the science/technical undergraduate training and/or degree with the policy-focused graduate degree will make you very attractive in the job market.

Sample Job Titles + Organizations

  • Researcher, University of Virginia
  • Director, Iowa Chapter, Sierra Club
  • Program administrator, Minnesota Department of Commerce
  • Coordinator, Division of Epidemiology, University of Minnesota
  • Economist, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Washington, D.C.


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.

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)
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:

One from:
PA 5032 Regression Analysis (2)
PA 5044 Regression Analysis: Accelerated (2)

And one from:
PA 5033 Multivariate Techniques (2)
PA 5041 Qualitative Methods for Policy Analysts (4)

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.

Contact Admissions

Humphrey School
University of Minnesota
280 Humphrey School
301 19th Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55455


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