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University of Michigan

University of Michigan

Ford School of Public Policy

Science Technology and Public Policy Program

University of Michigan
4204 Weill Hall
735 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI48109-3091
E-mail: stpp at
Phone: (734) 615-6942
Fax: (734) 763-9181

Program Link:


University of Michigan’s Science, Technology and Public Policy (STPP) Program is housed within the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, one of the nation’s most prestigious schools for public affairs. According to U.S. News and World Report’s 2004 Rankings, the Ford School ranked 8th overall, and ranked 3rd in public policy analysis (it was also ranked highly in areas relevant to science and technology policymaking, including 4th in environmental policy in management, 4th in health policy and management, and 6th in information and technology management.)

The STPP program is devoted to interdisciplinary research and teaching on the politics and processes of science and technology policymaking, through graduate certificate and postdoctoral fellowship programs, as well as seminars and conferences. It focuses on both arenas of science and technology policymaking. First, it explores “science and technology for policy”: how scientific evidence and technological development are used to develop public policy in a broad array of domains such as national security, public health, economic competitiveness, and environmental sustainability. Second, the program studies how policies, public debate, and political action directly shape scientific and technological development (known as “policy for science and technology”).

Students enrolled in the STPP graduate certificate program can take advantage of the variety of academic and professional resources available at one of the nation’s top univerities. Students have the opportunity to choose from diverse electives offered from the School of Engineering, School of Information, School of Public Policy, A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, School of Public Health, the Medical School, School of Natural Resources and the Environment, as well as departments of Anthropology, Economics, Political Science, Women’s Studies, Center for African American Studies, and History. In the STPP graduate certificate program, students work with respected inter-disciplinary faculty and fellows, who contribute not only excellent teaching and researching skills, but experience gleaned from years as professional policy practitioners in the field.

Graduate Degrees Offered

Graduate Certificate in Science, Technology and Public Policy: Designed for students admitted or enrolled in a Master’s or doctoral degree program at the University of Michigan, the School of Public policy offers a graduate certificate in STPP to be completed concurrently with other graduate program(s).

Admissions Requirements

Any student with a bachelor’s degree who has been admitted to one of the University’s graduate degree programs (including the Ford School of Public Policy) or who is currently enrolled in one of these graduate programs is eligible to submit an application to the STPP Graduate Certificate Program. Currently enrolled students must be carrying a B average or better and entering students must have had a B average or better in their undergraduate coursework.

Those who wish to apply to the program will submit the following materials:

  • a completed STPP application
  • a 2-page statement that explains the student’s interest in the Program as well as relevant preparation;
  • a current transcript (for currently enrolled graduate students) or an undergraduate transcript (for newly entering students); and
  • two letters of recommendation (at least one must be specific to the STPP application)
  • If student is in a Rackham program, he/she must complete the Application for Change of Program or Dual Degree Form. (This form needs to be signed by the student’s current department chair. One of the STPP Directors will also sign it after the application review process has been completed.)
  • If the student is not currently enrolled in a Rackham program, the student must complete a Rackham application (paper or electronic) and pay the application fee. Note that courses taken to complete certificate requirements should be registered for under Rackham (dual-enrollment is allowed). Click here if you are unsure whether or not you are enrolled in a Rackham program.

Applications should be sent to:
Graduate Certificate Applications
Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program
Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
Joan and Sanford Weill Hall
735 South State Street, Suite 2245
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-3091

Degree Requirements

The certificate requires 15 credit hours of course work (3 core courses and 2 electives). It is designed to teach students:

Master’s students may “double-count” 6 of the 15 credits. These courses can be taken in any order.

Student Information

Students come from diverse backgrounds of public policy, public health, environmental and life sciences, engineering, education, information sciences, and the humanities and social sciences.

Faculty Information

Key faculty for STPP program:

Professor Shobita Parthasarathy is interested in the comparative and international politics of scientific and technological development. Her forthcoming book, Building Genetic Medicine: Technology, Disease, and the National Politics of Health Care (MIT Press, 2007), compares the development of genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancer in the United States and Britain. She is now working on projects exploring the mechanisms of public participation in national and international patent laws covering genetics and biotechnology, and the role of multinational corporations in shaping science, ethics, and governance in the area of stem cell research.
Go to Shobita Parthasarathy’s Home Page

Professor James J. Duderstadt (President Emeritus of University of Michigan), as former chair of the National Science Board and the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (COSEPUP), remains very actively involved in science policy matters with the National Academies, federal agencies including NSF, DOE, DOD, DEd, and NASA, and OSTP, and through various higher education organizations.
Go to James J. Duderstadt’s Home Page

Check our web site at for further information on these and other members of the STPP faculty.

Positions for Graduates

The STPP website keeps current and thorough records of time-sensitive job opportunities and fellowships at various think tanks, government positions, science and technology-related institutions, and NGOs.

Please check out: for fellowships for job opportunities for STPP-related organizations for other academic STPP programs

Financial Information

Students enrolled in graduate degree programs at University of Michigan do not have to pay any additional tuition in order to enroll in the STPP Graduate Certificate Program.

The Ford School of Public Policy offers financial assistance through merit-based fellowships, teaching and research assistantships. All applicants to the Ford School are considered for Ford School fellowships. Many Ford School students seek employment opportunities that use the skills they are developing while in graduate school. There are a number of research and work-study positions available on campus. In the past students have worked at the Institute for Social Research, the Institute of Science and Technology, the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, the Transplant Policy Center, the Great Lakes Trade Adjustment Center, and the University’s Office of Government Relations.

For students outside the Ford School, the Rackham Graduate School administers a number of fellowship programs with various eligibility criteria. Students should consult Rackham’s website for extensive information about fellowship programs. Students may also contact the office by phone at 734-764-8119 or by mail at:

Graduate Fellowships Office
160 Rackham Building
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1070

The University of Michigan Office of Financial Aid administers all federal student assistance programs including federal and private loans, grants, and work-study eligibility. Students may also contact the office by phone at 734-763-6000 or by mail at:

Office of Financial Aid
2011 Student Activities Building
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1316

Other Information

What kinds of jobs might you get with an STPP certificate?

The STPP Program will prepare students to: 1) participate in the politics and policy of science & technology (as government officials or members of non-governmental organizations); 2) engage in science & technology policy analysis (through thinktanks, industry, or academia); and 3) contribute, as scientific or technological experts themselves, in the science & technology policymaking process.

PhD students in the STPP certificate program will likely go into academic research in their field, using the knowledge gained through the certificate to better relate their research interests to policy concerns.  There are nearly a million scientists and engineers engaged in national research activities, roughly 75% employed in industry, with the remainder in government agencies and universities. In their roles as the heads of research labs, scientists and engineers are constantly feeling the impact of science and technology policies and are often called upon to serve as expert witnesses for Congressional hearings or to sit on government advisory committees.  In order to understand how their expertise may (or may not) be used in the policymaking process, many of these professionals seek additional training in policy areas relevant to the conduct and management of research and development, the distinguishing economic characteristics and consequences of science and technology, the political issues that come into play when science moves out of the laboratory and into the policy domain, and the broad policy framework within which science and technology activities occur.

For those Masters and PhD students who choose to pursue science policy as a career, principal markets for graduate degrees with either STPP concentrations or certificates would include Congressional staff; federal administration offices such as the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Government Accountability Office; federal mission agencies such as the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health-Health and Human Services, the National Aeronautic and Space Administration, the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, the US Department of Agriculture, and their state and local government counterparts; government affairs in science and technology-related industries (in Michigan, for example, one could easily imagine graduates working for the automobile or pharmaceutical industries) and a broad range of nongovernmental policy bodies such as the National Research Council (and the National Academy complex), environmental organizations, nonprofit foundations, professional science societies and associations, and business and industry.  In addition, many large research universities are increasingly opening up offices in Washington, DC specifically to have a constant presence to serve as a base for outreach to Congress and the rest of the federal government for support of the universities missions, including research.

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