Twin Cities campus
 
Twin Cities Campus

Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy M.S.

HHH Administration
Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs
Link to a list of faculty for this program.
Contact Information
Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota, 301 19th Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55455 (612-624-3800; fax: 612-626-0002)
  • Program Type: Master's
  • Requirements for this program are current for Spring 2019
  • Length of program in credits: 36 to 41
  • This program does not require summer semesters for timely completion.
  • Degree: Master of Science
Along with the program-specific requirements listed below, please read the General Information section of this website for requirements that apply to all major fields.
The MS in science, technology, and environmental policy (STEP) provides students with an understanding of the role of science and technology in society, including food and agriculture, the economy, energy and the environment, security, health, and education; the impact of science and technology on the political and economic relationships within and among nations; and the analysis and design of policies for appropriate promotion and regulation of science and technology regionally, nationally, and internationally. The program educates students with natural and social science backgrounds to assume roles in public policy development.
Program Delivery
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Prerequisites for Admission
The preferred undergraduate GPA for admittance to the program is 3.00.
A four-year bachelor's degree from an accredited US university or foreign equivalent at time of enrollment.
Other requirements to be completed before admission:
While no specific experience or academic pathway is required, students with a strong liberal education background and sound quantitative and analytical skills will be best prepared for academic success at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Previous coursework in mathematics, statistics, and economics is recommended. Past applicants needing to strengthen this part of their skill set have found courses in introductory microeconomics, college algebra, and introductory statistics to be helpful preparation. Applicants applying to the MS-STEP program should have completed a degree or taken advanced level coursework in the natural or engineering sciences prior to the date of their planned enrollment.
Special Application Requirements:
A complete application will include a University of Minnesota application, personal statement, resume or C.V., transcripts, GRE scores, TOEFL scores (if applicable), at least three letters of recommendation, and an optional diversity statement.
Applicants must submit their test score(s) from the following:
  • GRE
International applicants must submit score(s) from one of the following tests:
  • TOEFL
    • Internet Based - Total Score: 100
    • Paper Based - Total Score: 600
  • IELTS
    • Total Score: 7.0
Key to test abbreviations (GRE, TOEFL, IELTS).
For an online application or for more information about graduate education admissions, see the General Information section of this website.
Program Requirements
Plan A: Plan A requires 29 to 31 major credits, 0 credits outside the major, and 10 thesis credits. The final exam is oral.
Plan C: Plan C requires 36 major credits and 0 credits outside the major. There is no final exam.
This program may be completed with a minor.
Use of 4xxx courses towards program requirements is not permitted.
A minimum GPA of 2.80 is required for students to remain in good standing.
At least 1 semesters must be completed before filing a Degree Program Form.
Elective credits are chosen in consultation with the student's advisor.
Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy Overview
PA 5711 - Science, Technology & Environmental Policy (3.0 cr)
PA 5715 - Survey of Current Issues in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy (1.5 cr)
Sustainability Systems Science
PA 5722 - Economics of Natural Resource and Environmental Policy (3.0 cr)
PA 5741 - Risk, Resilience and Decision Making (1.5 cr)
PA 5752 - Material-Energy Flows & Sustainable Development (3.0 cr)
Social and Policy Processes
PA 5002 - Introduction to Policy Analysis (1.5 cr)
PA 5012 - The Politics of Public Affairs (3.0 cr)
Foundational Methods
Statistics
PA 5031 - Statistics for Public Affairs (4.0 cr)
or PA 5045 - Statistics for Public Affairs, Accelerated (4.0 cr)
Take one of the following:
PA 5032 - Applied Regression (2.0 cr)
or PA 5044 - Applied Regression, Accelerated (2.0 cr)
Take one of the following:
PA 5033 - Multivariate Techniques (2.0 cr)
or PA 5041 - Qualitative Methods for Policy Analysts (4.0 cr)
Focus Area - Take one of the following:
Only the following 5790 titles are applicable: "Environmental Mgmt of Food, Water, and Energy Systems" and "Urban Agriculture and Food Systems Policy."
PA 5721 -  Energy Systems and Policy (3.0 cr)
or PA 5723 - Water Policy (3.0 cr)
or PA 5724 - Climate Change Policy (3.0 cr)
or PA 5731 - Emerging Sciences and Technologies: Law, Ethics and Policy (3.0 cr)
or PA 5751 - Urban Infrastructure Systems for Sustainable and Healthy Cities (3.0 cr)
or PA 5790 - Topics in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy (1.0-3.0 cr)
Electives
Electives to bring total credits to required number, in consultation with the advisor.
Plan Options
Plan A Requirements
Take 10 master's thesis credits.
PA 8777 - Thesis Credits: Master's (1.0-18.0 cr)
-OR-
Plan C Requirements - Take one of the following:
PA 8081 - Capstone Workshop (3.0 cr)
or PA 8082 - Professional Paper-Writing Seminar (3.0 cr)
or PA 8921 - Master's: Professional Paper (Individual Option) (1.0-3.0 cr)
Joint- or Dual-degree Coursework:
MS-STEP/JD (Joint Degree Program in Law, Health, and the Life Sciences) Students may take a total of 24 credits in common among the academic programs.
 
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PA 5711 - Science, Technology & Environmental Policy
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Interplay of science, technology, the environment, and society. Approaches from across the social sciences will cover how science and technology can create new environmental pressures as well as policy challenges in a range of spheres from climate change to systems of intellectual property and international development.
PA 5715 - Survey of Current Issues in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy
Credits: 1.5 [max 1.5]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
Current topics in science, technology, and environmental policy. prereq: Grad or instr consent
PA 5722 - Economics of Natural Resource and Environmental Policy
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 01860 - ApEc 5651/PA 5722
Typically offered: Every Spring
Public policy associated with natural resource use and environmental protection. Develops/applies economic concepts/methodologies/policy mechanisms. Principles of environmental/resource economics. Issues related to renewable/nonrenewable resources and environmental pollution. Focuses on scientific/political aspects of policy. prereq: [Intermediate microeconomics, intermediate policy analysis, grad student] or instr consent
PA 5741 - Risk, Resilience and Decision Making
Credits: 1.5 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: OPT No Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
Interplay between risk analysis, decision making, and policy in the context of new and emerging technologies, environmental and human well-being, risk and resilience. Assessment methods; risk management processes, issues and methods; role/treatment of uncertainty; factors in decision making; risk-based rule making; public values; risk communication and perception. Scientific, technical, social, political, and ethical issues. prereq: Grad student or instr consent
PA 5752 - Material-Energy Flows & Sustainable Development
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
How do material and energy flows shape the development of a sustainable society? Part I introduces concepts of human wellbeing, sustainable development, the role of natural resources and key physical infrastructure in advancing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Part II describes ways to measure progress toward SDGs, particularly those related to material and energy flows. Part III highlights pathways to work toward SDGs, emphasizing principles and concepts from environmental economics.
PA 5002 - Introduction to Policy Analysis
Credits: 1.5 [max 1.5]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Process of public policy analysis from problem structuring to communication of findings. Commonly used analytical methods. Alternative models of analytical problem resolution.
PA 5012 - The Politics of Public Affairs
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
Stages of policy making from agenda setting to implementation. Role and behavior of political institutions, citizens, social movements, and interest groups. Concepts of political philosophy. Theories of state. Team taught, interdisciplinary course. Small discussion sections.
PA 5031 - Statistics for Public Affairs
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Basic statistical tools for empirical analysis of public policy alternatives. Frequency distributions, descriptive statistics, elementary probability/probability distributions, statistical inference. Estimation/hypothesis testing. Cross-tabulation/chi-square distribution. Analysis of variance, correlation. Simple/multiple regression analysis.
PA 5045 - Statistics for Public Affairs, Accelerated
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Introduces a range of quantitative tools that are commonly used to inform issues in public affairs. The course provides an introduction to descriptive statistics, probability, and statistical inference, with an emphasis on the ways in which quantitative tools are applied to a diverse range of practical policy questions. PA 5045 is an accelerated treatment of applied statistics for public affairs and serves as a more mathematically and conceptually rigorous alternative to PA 5031.
PA 5032 - Applied Regression
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
Bivariate/multivariate models of regression analysis, assumptions behind them. Problems using these models when such assumptions are not met. prereq: [5031 or equiv] or instr consent
PA 5044 - Applied Regression, Accelerated
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
Bivariate/multivariate models used in regression analysis, including assumptions behind them/problems that arise when assumptions are not met. Course covers similar topics as PA 5032 but uses more mathematical notation/delves deeper into theory/application of methods. prereq: [5031 or equiv} or instr consent
PA 5033 - Multivariate Techniques
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
Use of bivariate and multivariate statistical approaches for analyzing and evaluating public affairs issues and the assumptions behind the analytical approaches. Designed to help students read, understand, interpret, use, and evaluate empirical work used in social sciences by policy analysts and policy makers. prereq: [5032 or 5044 or equiv] or instr consent. May fulfill stats requirements in other programs.
PA 5041 - Qualitative Methods for Policy Analysts
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
Qualitative analysis techniques, examples of application. Meet with researcher. Hands-on experience in designing, gathering, analyzing data.
PA 5721 - Energy Systems and Policy
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Impact of energy production/consumption choices on environmental quality, sustainable development, and other economic/social goals. Emphasizes public policy choices for energy/environment, linkages between them.
PA 5723 - Water Policy
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 01827
Typically offered: Every Spring
Sociocultural, legal, economic, and environmental forces affecting supply/use of water by individuals, sectors, and governance institutions. Historical trends; water laws in United States and internationally. Institutional structures for managing water at federal, state, and local levels. Current water-related issues/policies. prereq: Grad student or instr consent
PA 5724 - Climate Change Policy
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Existing and proposed approaches to mitigate and adapt to climate change through policies that cross scales of governance (from local to global) and impact a wide range of sectors. Exploration of climate change policy from a variety of disciplinary approaches and perspectives, emphasizing economic logic, ethical principles, and institutional feasibility. How policy can be shaped in the face of a variety of competing interests to achieve commonly desired outcomes. Students develop a deep knowledge of climate change in particular countries through a team final project. prereq: Intro microecon (such as Econ 1101 or equiv)
PA 5731 - Emerging Sciences and Technologies: Law, Ethics and Policy
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
This interdisciplinary course will examine issues at the nexus of law, ethics, public policy, and emerging sciences and technologies (ES&T) including nanotechnology, genetic and biomedical engineering, cognitive science, synthetic biology, and robotics. Topics we will explore include the role of science and technology as both a tool for and the subject of law and policy; the legal, ethical, economic, and policy implications of ES&T research and development; environmental and human health risk analysis and regulation (e.g., EPA, FDA, OSHA, and state and local regulatory mechanisms); intellectual property issues; liability issues; and global impacts. Topics will be approached from the perspective of different stakeholders (e.g., federal agencies, industry, academic researchers, the environment, international organizations, and the public) and in the context of different application areas (e.g., drugs, devices, food, agriculture, energy, environmental remediation) using a variety of interdisciplinary approaches. Students with a broad range of interests are encouraged to enroll.
PA 5751 - Urban Infrastructure Systems for Sustainable and Healthy Cities
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Summer
Study social actors, engineered infrastructures/natural systems as they, together, shape health/sustainability outcomes for cities. Understand role of infrastructure design, planning, policy in sustainable cities. Learn sustainability systems concepts, local-to-global linkages, inter-disciplinary, inter-cultural skills. prereq: Grad student or instr consent
PA 5790 - Topics in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy
Credits: 1.0 -3.0 [max 9.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Selected topics.
PA 8777 - Thesis Credits: Master's
Credits: 1.0 -18.0 [max 50.0]
Grading Basis: No Grade
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
(No description) prereq: Max 18 cr per semester or summer; 10 cr total required [Plan A only]
PA 8081 - Capstone Workshop
Credits: 3.0 [max 6.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Project for external client on issue agreed upon by student, client, and instructor. Students apply interdisciplinary methods, approaches, and perspectives from core courses. Written report with analysis and policy recommendations. Oral presentation. Topics vary by term. prereq: completion of core courses or instr consent
PA 8082 - Professional Paper-Writing Seminar
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Facilitates completion of research paper on current issues in public policy, management, and science, technology and environment. Students apply interdisciplinary methods, approaches, and perspectives studied in core courses. Written report includes analysis of issue, policy recommendations. All topics accepted. Plan A students welcome. prereq: completion of core courses, or instr consent
PA 8921 - Master's: Professional Paper (Individual Option)
Credits: 1.0 -3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Students work under guidance of paper adviser and committee members to complete their Professional Paper (individual option). prereq: instr consent