The Master of 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.
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.
The Master of Science, Science Technology, and Environmental Policy (MS–STEP) program requires 40 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 an additional 4.5-7.5 credits of electives. For the Plan B program (3 credits), you write a Plan B paper and choose 11.5-14.5 credits of 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 Policy (3)
PA 5723 Water Policy (3)
PA 5731 Emerging Technologies and Society (3)
PA 5741 Risk Analysis and Policy (3)
Two of the following:
PA 5032 Intermediate Regression Analysis (2)
PA 5033 Multivariate Techniques (2)
PA 5035 Survey Research and Data Collection (1.5)
PA 5036 Regional Economic Analysis (2)
PA 5037 Regional Demographic Analysis (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 11.5-14.5 electives
Plan A Thesis (10 credits), plus 4.5-7.5 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.
To apply, start the University of Minnesota graduate school online application. The Humphrey School admissions and awards committee reviews all applications and decisions regarding admissions and financial aid. Decisions are communicated through the graduate school online system.
Requirements + Prerequisitses
• A four-year bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. university or foreign equivalent at time of enrollment.
• A grade of B or better in an introductory course in microeconomics is required for MS-STEP students. A macroeconomics or single-semester general economics course will not satisfy this requirement.
• MS-STEP students must have completed at least one semester of calculus or college algebra course with a grade of B or better.
• MS-STEP applicants are expected to have completed a degree or taken advanced level coursework in the natural or engineering sciences.
• MS-STEP students must have completed an introductory statistics course (if you have not taken statistics prior to admission, you must take PA 5031, above and beyond the 40 credits required for your degree)
• At least one course in political science (that analyzes political institutions) is strongly recommended for all incoming students.
• Sufficient prior academic preparation. The University of Minnesota Graduate School prefers a 3.0 or better undergraduate GPA. The average Humphrey School GPA is 3.5.
• Competence in MS Excel and Word is strongly recommended for all students.
• English language competence. If English is not your native language, you must pass the TOEFL or IELTS exam with a minimum score of 600 (paper-based), 250 (computer-based), 100 (internet based, minimum 22 on each section), or 7 for the IELTS. TOEFL or IELTS scores must be less than two years old.
We consider many factors when choosing applicants for admission. We evaluate such attributes as:
• Your prior academic achievement
• Your professional experience
• Leadership and community/public service experience
• Your commitment to a career in public affairs or planning
• The fit between your interests and goals, and the programs at the Humphrey School
• Your letters of recommendation
• GRE scores
• Your potential contribution to the diversity of views and experiences represented at the Humphrey School
• TOEFL score (if required)
Master of Science in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy
Deb Swackhamer, Professor
Humphrey School of Public Affairs
University of Minnesota
280 Humphrey School
301 19th Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55455