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Science and Policy (Undergraduate Certificate)

The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and the School of Public Affairs (SPA) are pleased to announce the new Science and Policy Certificate for undergraduate students. This new program is designed to provide a selected cohort of STEM students with exposure and experience at the intersection of science and policy.

In today’s scientific, technological, and political ecosystem, it is more important than ever for STEM students to be broadly trained in the process of making policies for science as well as policies based on robust scientific evidence. Student fellows selected for this program will have hands-on opportunities to:

  • Apply scientific knowledge and technical skills to real-world problems 
  • Learn how to bridge the gap between science and policy 
  • Hear from science policy experts; gain valuable insider understanding of how policy  is shaped 
  • Learn critical thinking and adaptability 
  • Develop and sharpen communication skills 
  • Learn about career opportunities in academia, government, and the nonprofit and private sectors.

Certificate Requirements

The Science and Policy Undergraduate Certificate requires three courses and either an independent study or internship:

  • GOVT-210-Political Power and American Public Policy
  • ISCI-401-Communicating Science to the Public
  • PHYS-326- Science for Future Presidents
  • Independent study or internship under the advisement of a STEM mentor and a policy mentor:

    ISCI-490 Independent Research in Interdisciplinary Science (1-6)

    SCI-491 Internship in Interdisciplinary Science (1-6)

At the end of each academic year, four of the students who have completed the certificate will be selected by a jury to receive a monetary award. Please see course descriptions and more details in complete AU Requirements below.

How to Apply

Admission to the program is open to all students, at least in their second year, majoring in a STEM field. This includes all students majoring in any of the programs offered by the following Departments: Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Environmental Sciences, Health Studies, Mathematics and Statistics, Neuroscience, Physics, and Psychology.

Students should propose a topic at the intersection of science and policy that they would like to explore in an independent study or internship with the guidance of a CAS science and a SPA faculty mentor. 

To apply, download and complete the application form and return it to the Program Director Prof. Stefano Costanzi at costanzi@american.edu by November 4, 2022. The application form needs to be co-signed by the applicant’s science mentor. Students who do not have a science mentor committed to supervising them on this project should reach out to Prof. Costanzi, who will facilitate the matching process. For more information, please contact Prof. Costanzi via email at costanzi@american.edu.

AU Requirements