AAAS Releases Updated Guide to Graduate Education in Science, Engineering and Public Policy

With science and technology increasingly critical to the world policy agenda, AAAS has updated and expanded its Guide to Graduate Education in Science, Engineering and Public Policy, a rich resource for those considering a policy career.

The 4th edition of the guide—available for free online—offers a discussion of possible career paths, an extensive list of internships, a list of nearly 50 schools and programs in the United States and abroad that offer special graduate programs or studies in science, engineering, and public policy (SEPP), and a wide-ranging collection of helpful links. Plus there's discussion of possible career paths and answers to frequently asked questions about the field.

Ed Derrick

"In the years since the AAAS published the first SEPP Guide in the mid-1980s, science and technology have taken on increasingly important roles in public policy, and the need for people educated in this field has grown proportionately," said Al Teich, director of Science and Policy Programs at AAAS. "The institutions and programs listed in the SEPP Guide are essential to meeting the growing demand for individuals who can bridge the two worlds of science and policy."

Ed Derrick, director of the AAAS Research Competitiveness Program, said the original guide was prepared under the auspices of the AAAS Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy and published in 1985. The new edition was researched and assembled by Amanda Rubin with the guidance of Teich and Derrick.

Amanda Rubin

"I was interested in this project because I find that even though science policy is growing in popularity, there's not a lot of information for the student population on how you can get involved," Rubin explained. "The guide is great because it gives students direction on how to get involved—it gives them concrete options."

Generally, science, engineering, and public policy is an interdisciplinary field that can be taught within the public policy departments at some schools or in more narrowly tailored programs. The programs typically use social science methods and perspectives to study and analyze the activities of scientific and technological sectors of society—not just basic fields such as chemistry, physics, and civil engineering, but also policy in nuclear power, research and development, and space exploration.

Such policy research and analysis is critical to healthy government policy, innovation and economic growth, and social welfare.

Rubin noted that a growing corps of students and professionals are interested in science and engineering policy as a way to address critical challenges such as climate, energy and infectious disease, or emerging fields such as neuroscience and nanotechnology. And, she said, a growing number of schools and programs are responding to that interest. Within the United States, graduate programs in science, engineering, and public policy can be found in nearly 20 states.

The new edition of the guide will be a purely digital venture—a "living document," Rubin called it, allowing for ongoing updates.