Programs and Certificates

WWS Graduate Programs
and Certificates

The Woodrow Wilson School offers three degree-granting programs: the Master in Public Affairs (MPA), the Master in Public Policy (MPP) and the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Public Affairs.

In addition, WWS collaborates with the departments of Politics, Psychology, Population Studies, Sociology and Economics for a specialized Ph.D. program, the Joint Degree Program (JDP) in Social Policy.

Finally, WWS also organizes the Junior Summer Institute (JSI) in conjunction with Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) fellowship program for college students with a demonstrated interest in and commitment to public service.


  • Certificate in Health and Health Policy (HHP)
    • The certificate in Health and Health Policy (HHP) trains graduate students for careers in health policy in the public and not-for-profit sectors. The goal of the HHP program is to give students an understanding of the determinants of health and wellbeing, and the role that public policy plays in shaping the quality of people's lives. The program provides broad training in core topics in health policy as well as more specialized courses. It is designed for students with domestic or international health interests.

      The HHP program is linked to the WWS Research Center on Health and Wellbeing, which includes faculty associates from diverse academic backgrounds including economics, anthropology, history, psychology, molecular biology, sociology and demography.

      Certificate students are required to complete two core courses and two approved electives on health-related topics. The two core courses — WWS 597, The Political Economy of Healthcare Systems, and WWS 598, Epidemiology — are offered every year. MPA students may take the core courses in their first or second years (but not in the first semester).

      A list of elective courses that fulfill the HHP requirements is available from the HHP faculty chair at the beginning of each academic year. Examples of full-term electives are WWS 564, Poverty, Inequality and Health in the World, WWS 565, Social Determinants of Health, and WWS 571c, Global Infection: Burden, Control & Public Policy.  Recent half-term elective courses include WWS 593g, Global Reproductive Health and Rights; WWS 594c, Maternal and Child Health: Culture, Controversy and Policy; WWS 594d, Controversies in State and Local Health Policy; and WWS 594k, The Challenge of Human Development and HIV/AIDS. Two half-term courses count as one elective. Students who wish to count one non-WWS course toward the certificate requirements must seek advance permission from the HHP certificate chair.

      » For more information, visit the Center for Health and Wellbeing website.

  • Certificate in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy (STEP)
    • The certificate in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy is based in WWS with strong ties to the Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI). The certificate is offered to WWS graduate students enrolled in the MPP and MPA programs and to other Princeton graduate students. Many aspects of science and technology policy debates require tools of political and economic analysis. In addition to providing a systematic introduction to the field of policy analysis, the goal of the STEP program is to develop a deeper understanding of current scientific, technological, and environmental issues and potential local, national and international policy responses. We provide inter-disciplinary training that facilitates communication between technical experts and policymakers.

      The STEP certificate program encourages students to acquire a sophisticated understanding of a key issue in the field of science and policy. Students work closely with distinguished STEP faculty to integrate their science and policy interests. Faculty interests are broad and far-reaching, including the problems of global climate change; global and regional air pollution; negotiated environmental accords, ecology, ecosystems and biodiversity; the ethics of biotechnology; health, population and disease; risk analysis; cyber, science and global security; and the use of science-based modeling for policy analysis.

      To earn the certificate, WWS students must complete four STEP-approved courses and an advanced policy research paper. It is expected that most MPA and MPP candidates will write this research paper in the context of one of their approved WWS courses. Recent course offerings include WWS 548, Protection Against Weapons of Mass Destruction; WWS 581c, Energy Economics and WWS 586d, Global Environmental Governance. The other course(s) may be non-STEP in WWS or another department relevant to STEP, with special permission from the STEP faculty chair, or, under exceptional circumstances, a reading course with a STEP faculty member.


  • Certificates in Urban Policy (UP)
    • The Woodrow Wilson School offers a certificate in Urban Policy (UP), primarily for our own master’s students, but graduate students from other Princeton departments are eligible to earn the certificate.  The policy focus is global, and the coursework is grounded in the interdisciplinary and comparative study of cities and urban problems in both advanced industrialized and developing countries. The UP certificate emphasizes the social, economic and political dimensions of urban problems and is designed to prepare students for careers in urban policy analysis and economic development in national, state and local governments, nonprofit organizations, think tanks and international organizations.

      The UP certificate requires students to take and pass two core courses: WWS 537, Social Organization of Cities, and WWS 538, Urban Economics, and two elective courses. 

      When one of these core courses is not offered in a given academic year, an approved substitute is designated, and this has typically been WWS 527a, Implementing Urban Economic Development. A list of approved electives is made available at the beginning of each academic year. Two half-term courses count as one elective. Students who wish to count one non-WWS course toward the certificate requirements must seek advance permission from the UP certificate chair.

      UP certificate students (in WWS) are encouraged to take an urban policy workshop that would count as an elective course. Recent examples include: Smart Cities: Implementing Equitable Transit Initiatives prepared for the U.S. Dept. of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Fall 2017; Reforming the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; Resiliency in Times of Change in Fall 2016; Supporting Philadelphia Small Businesses in Gentrifying Neighborhoods in Fall 2015: Strategies for Preventing Youth Violence in Philadelphia’s 22nd Police District: A Report for the Philadelphia Youth Violence Prevention Collaborative in Fall 2014; Addressing Multifamily Affordable Rental Housing Needs after Superstorm Sandy: Recommendations to the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency in Fall 2013.