Prospective Students: General

  • STPP classes range in size from 10 to 40 students, and usually involve a mix of lectures, discussions, and role-playing simulations. Students prepare for classes through assigned readings which range from academic literature to policy reports. Because students come from a broad range of backgrounds and disciplines, classroom discussions tend to be lively and represent multiple points of view. Assignments usually involve policy memos of varying lengths, and oral presentations.

    The program draws a highly diverse array of students, including master’s and doctoral students from the biological and physical sciences, engineering, the Ford School of Public Policy, the Schools of Public Health, Information, Social Work, Business, Law School, Environment and Sustainability, and more. The one thing that all STPP students have in common is an interest in understanding how science and technology are used in the policy process, and shaping science and technology policy.

    No. Classes are designed to teach students the policy analysis tools they will need and to present scientific issues on a level that is accessible to a layperson.

    STPP does not currently have an undergraduate program. However, we have identified a list of courses for students with interests in science and technology policy, with some offered at the Ford School. You may want to participate in LSA’s minor in Science, Technology, and Society.

    No. There are admissions in both the Fall (November 1) and Winter semester (March 1) and you can start in either term.

    Both the STS and STPP programs seek to understand the relationships between science, technology, and society. The STPP program, however, is more focused on science and technology policy, and teaches students methods and tools, including writing public policy memos, to understand, analyze, and shape science and technology policy.

    There is no required order for the classes in the program. Some students recommend taking PubPol 510 first, as it provides a useful introduction to policy writing that will be useful for later classes. This is offered in both the Fall semester and Winter semesters, and is limited to students who are already enrolled in either the Ford School or the STPP program. You may take the core courses and your two electives in whatever order best fits your academic calendar.

    Yes and no. PubPol 510 is limited to students who are already enrolled in the program. PubPol 650 is open to all, however, you may find it difficult to enroll because a certain number of seats are reserved for currently enrolled STPP and Ford School students. If the course is full, you should put your name on the wait list and attend the first class.

    Once you are accepted into the STPP Program, you can petition for a course using the Elective Approval Form. The course will be reviewed (usually we are looking for rigorous courses that have enough policy relevance) and if it is approved, you will be notified, usually within just a few days.

    Yes, courses you have taken in the past can be approved for the certificate.

    Yes. You will need to fill out a Rackham application and pay the application fee (approximately $25).

    The MPP is a 48-credit/2-year graduate degree in public policy. MPP students can elect coursework in areas such as social or economic policy, policy analysis, politics, international development, and others. The MPP core courses include calculus, statistics, economics, public management, and ethics. The STPP program is a 12-credit graduate certificate specifically focused on science and technology policy issues that is designed to supplement a graduate degree in another field. (Ford School students with an interest in science and technology policy can apply for the STPP program as well.)

    Though policymakers often seek scientists’ expertise, most scientists do not have training in policy analysis. If you have an interest in shaping policy in your area of expertise, the STPP certificate will provide experience and training that will set you apart from those with only a PhD or master’s degree in your field. STPP is one of the only programs that provide this kind of training. In addition, STPP students have access to the FordCareers jobs database and a listserv with job opportunities in science policy and related fields. 

    Not necessarily: the certificate can be awarded before or after the completion of your University of Michigan degree, depending on when you complete your STPP requirements.

    The deadlines each year are November 1 for the Winter term and March 1 for the Fall term.

    We hold yearly info sessions. Watch a past information session here.  

    Have any questions? Contact Molly Kleinman at [email protected]


Application: General

  • For students who are enrolled in a Rackham administered program (i.e. Environment and Sustainability, Chemistry, Urban Planning, etc.):

    • Complete the Add a Degree or Certificate Form and pay the application fee. The program code is 01906.
    • One-page statement that explains how the STPP program will contribute to the student's education and future career, and a resume, uploaded as a part of the Rackham application.

    For students not currently enrolled in a Rackham graduate program:

    • Complete the Rackham application online and pay the application fee. Please choose "Science Technology and Public Policy Certificate" as your program of application. Note that courses taken to complete certificate requirements should be registered for under Rackham (dual-enrollment is allowed).
    • One-page statement that explains how the STPP program will contribute to the student's education and future career, and a resume, uploaded as a part of the Rackham application.

    If you have any questions about the STPP Graduate Certificate Program, including application and completion requirements, please email Student Services.

    No, we can access your transcripts from your original application to U-M.

    No, we can access your transcripts from your time at U-M. 

    No, letters of recommendation for the STPP application aren't required.

    The code for the STPP certificate is 01906. If Rackham administers your program, you can find your current program’s code here. If Rackham does not administer your program, please contact your graduate advisor or your program’s student services department.


Application: Master’s Students

  • You should pay careful attention to when your required courses are offered at your home school/department as well as in the STPP program. We recommend that you plan early to incorporate the STPP core courses into your schedule. Familiarize yourself with Rackham’s and your degree program’s double counting rule and ensure that you have room in your schedule to complete all credits/requirements. Completing the STPP certificate often requires you to take more courses per semester than you would take otherwise.

    See Rackham’s information about dual counting of credit hours.

    If you are enrolled full time as a master’s student, you will not have to pay any additional fees. If you are a part-time student who pays by the credit hour, than any STPP courses will count toward your credits for the term in which you take them.

    The Rackham rules state; “Double-Counting may be permitted only for the overlap of two master’s degree programs or for the overlap of a certificate program. Under no circumstances can any program be overlapped with more than one other program.” Thus most dual degree students will need to complete 12 additional credits in order to earn the certificate.


Application: PhD Students

  • As each department has different requirements, you should talk to your advisor about what the STPP program will entail and ensure that you will have time to complete it while taking any other classes you need and doing your research. Talk to your department and contact us if you have any specific concerns. If you received a master’s degree “along the way” to your doctorate, you should verify what courses can be double-counted.

    Yes. One course per semester is included in your tuition after you become a doctoral candidate. If you have not taken courses in semesters since you advanced to candidacy, then you can “bank” those courses to take later. For example, if you have taken no courses since you advanced to candidacy two semesters ago, then next semester you could take three courses at once.

    There are not normally any additional fees for PhD students. See the information about Augmented Candidacy Enrollment.


Current Students

  • Yes, STPP students are required to attend the STPP lecture series. They are twice a semester, usually on Mondays at 4pm. 

    Here is a list of available STPP electives.

    Once you are accepted into the STPP Program, you can petition for a course using the Elective Approval Form. The course will be reviewed (usually we are looking for rigorous courses that have enough policy relevance) and if it is approved, you will be notified, usually within a few days.

    In some cases, students may want to "double-count" courses that they are already taking as part of their graduate coursework requirements. According to Rackham, 6 of the 12 credits required for the certificate can be double-counted with other requirements. Check with your home program to ensure that they have the same rules, especially if your home program is not a Rackham program. Keep in mind that if you are already enrolled in any sort of dual degree program you may not be able to double count certificate credits.

    The Ford School has a priority registration period during which access to register for most PubPol classes is restricted to Ford School students: for Fall semester registration, that date is typically in mid-summer; for Winter semester registration, that date is typically in December. After priority registration, all remaining seats in most elective courses will open to all U-M students at the graduate level. If seats are available, you may register for the course on that date. If the course fills prior to that date, the online registration system will begin a waiting list, to which you may add yourself. If there is a waiting list at that time, put your name on the waiting list and definitely come to class on the first day—even if there is a waiting list.

    Note that if you are in the STPP program (you have been admitted and matriculated), you should have priority access along with other Ford School students to register for STPP courses, defined as PubPol 510 (Professor Parthasarathy’s section), PubPol 650, and some STPP electives. You should not receive the error message if you are already in the program.

    You will need to register for at least half (8) of the credits you’ll use toward your STPP certificate under a Rackham career. Be sure to select your Rackham career on the first registration screen in order to elect STPP courses correctly. You can verify on your unofficial transcript that these courses are listed under a Rackham career.

    You must take the core STPP courses, PubPol 510 and PubPol 650, for a grade. You may take electives satisfactory/unsatisfactory, but if you plan to double count them in your primary program you should also confirm that your program permits it.


Graduating Students

    1. A student who has completed all work must use Wolverine Access to formally apply for the certificate ("Apply for Graduation"). Deadlines for each term are published by Rackham OARD.
    2. Students who have received or will be receiving a UM Master's Degree, including an embedded Master's Degree, or another certificate should fill out the Dual Degree Election Form (use program code 01960), obtain appropriate signatures from both departments, and submit to Rackham during the last semester of enrollment. The Ford School's Student Services office (2nd floor Weill Hall) can sign the STPP side of the form.

    Once Rackham verifies that your course requirements have been completed, the STPP certificate will appear on your transcripts for the semester that you applied to graduate. You will also receive a paper certificate in the mail a few months after your certificate is conferred.

    The alumni voice is critical in shaping and improving the STPP program. We look forward to reading your advice and criticisms in the exit survey and encourage you to attend STPP events, follow Twitter, and connect to our LinkedIn group. We will ask you to contribute your “News”—new jobs, a fellowship, STPP related travel, publications, story ideas—and we will continue to send you the STPP Newsletter (please keep your contact information updated by emailing: [email protected]).