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Science and Technology Policy

Science and technology are the roots, not only of our understanding of the natural world and its relationship to human welfare, but also of the constraints on what can be accomplished with the scarce resources comprising nature. Virtually all public policies are grounded in the realities of the natural world and proceed on the basis of constantly changing assumptions about or understandings of nature. An understanding of science and technology is thus essential to the formation of virtually any sound public policy.

In addition to the role of science and technology in policymaking on issues such as environmental imbalances, energy sources, human health, and national defense, this concentration considers U.S. policies toward science and technology itself, U.S. policy-making institutions, and the roles that scientists, engineers, and physicians play in the policy process.

Foundation courses and electives will be selected from the listing below, as appropriate for the goals of individual students. A total of 35 units is required and all courses must be completed for a letter grade.

Students proposing to undertake the Science and Technology Concentration must have a program of study approved by a member of the Science and Technology faculty (see sidebar) prior to applying for admission.

Students completing this concentration have employment opportunities with local, state, federal, and international organizations concerned with science and technology policy and regulatory agencies, legislative bodies and firms dealing with such agencies, including consultancies. Graduate students in science and engineering fields may find several sources of tuition (and in some cases stipend) support while taking classes in public policy, and should review the funding opportunities page for more details. 

The list of graduate level gateway and elective concentration courses may also be found in the Stanford Bulletin. Note that this is not an exhaustive list; students may select other courses for their concentration with the approval of their faculty adviser. 

Gateway Courses for Science and Technology Policy Concentration*

PUBLPOL 353. Science and Technology Policy 
PSYCH 232. Brain and Decision Making
MS&E 231. Introduction to Computational Social Science (not offered in 2020-21)
SOC 330. Sociology of Science
HISTORY 140A.The Scientific Revolution
MS&E 250A. Engineering Risk Analysis
MS&E 293. Technology and National Security

Remaining units can be taken from the course lists below 

Energy and Environment 

CEE 275A. California Coast: Science, Policy, and Law
MS&E 243. Energy and Environmental Policy Analysis
ECON 250. Environmental Economics 
HISTORY 179C. The Ethical Challenges of the Climate Catastrophe
LAW 2519. Water Law (not offered in 2020-21)
LAW 2504. Environmental Law and Policy
EARTHSYS 232. Evolution of Earth Systems (not offered in 2020-21)
ENERGY 253. Carbon Capture and Sequestration

National Security

PUBLPOL 222. Biosecurity and Bioterrorism Response
LAW 4005. Introduction to Intellectual Property
MS&E 270. Strategy in Technology Based Companies 
ECON 126. Economics of Health and Medical Care (not offered in 2020-21)
LAW 3004. Law and Biosciences: Genetics (not offered in 2020-21)
MS&E 256. Technology Assessment and Regulation of Medical Devices
MS&E 292. Health Policy Modeling Ethics and Other Subjects
MS&E 254. The Ethical Analyst
MS&E 330. Law, Order & Algorithms

Organizational Behavior

MS&E 184. Future of Work: Issues in Organizational Learning and Design
MS&E 284. Designing Modern Work Organizations (not offered in 2020-21)

*Gateway courses may vary year to year based on availability.