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 Demography (OPR)
    • The Office of Population Research, in connection with the Program in Population Studies, offers a non-degree certificate in demography to WWS graduate students who successfully complete four graduate courses in population studies: POP 501/ECO 571/SOC 531, POP 502/ECO 572/SOC 532, POP 700 level Independent Study, and one elective course pertaining to some aspect of population. The first two are the basic graduate courses in demography: POP 501 is offered in the fall semester and is a prerequisite for POP 502, which is offered in the spring semester. POP 700 level Independent Study entails the completion of an individual or joint research project, under the supervision of an OPR faculty or research staff member.

      » For more information, visit the Office of Population Research website.

  • 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 recent full-term electives are WWS 571c, Global Infection: Burden, Control & Public Policy; and WWS 596, Controversies in Health Policy: Historical Perspectives. Recent half-term elective courses include WWS 593b/POP 504b, Reproductive Health and Reproductive Rights; WWS 594c, Maternal and Child Health: Culture, Controversy and Policy; WWS 594d, Controversies in State and Local Health Policy; and WWS 594k, The Development Challenge of 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 program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy is based in WWS with strong ties to the Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI). The certificate is offered to graduate students enrolled in the MPA, MPP and Ph.D. programs and to other Princeton graduate students, especially through the PEI/STEP fellows program. 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; 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.

      » For more information, visit the Science, Technology and Environmental Policy website.

  • Certificates in Urban Policy (UP) / Urban Policy and Planning (UPP)
    • WWS offers two distinct certificates to its own master’s students and to interested master’s students from relevant Princeton departments, especially Architecture. Both certificates are grounded in the interdisciplinary and comparative study of cities and urban problems in both advanced industrialized and developing countries. The certificate in Urban Policy (UP) emphasizes the social, economic and political dimensions of urban problems and is designed to prepare students for careers in urban policy analysis and development in international agencies, national, state and local governments, think tanks and nonprofit organizations. The certificate in Urban Policy and Planning (UPP) builds on this scholarly foundation and adds a focus on physical planning.

      The UP certificate requires two core courses: WWS 537, Social Organization of Cities; and WWS 538, Urban Economics. For the UPP certificate, students must take one of these two core courses as well as two core courses in planning theory and methods (WWS 533 and WWS 535). For both certificates, there are two elective course requirements.

      In both certificate programs, students are required to take a policy workshop that has been designated for urban policy. Relevant workshops have included Resiliency in Times of Change: 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; and Working and Rebuilding Together: Worker Cooperatives as an Economic Development Tool, prepared for Advance Memphis, in Memphis, Tennessee in the fall of 2012.


NOTE: The UPP certificate will be phased out in 2018-19. All WWS (and other Princeton) grad students who enrolled in Fall 2017 or earlier are eligible to earn this certificate.