The purpose of the Graduate Certificate in Science Policy is to bridge the fields of public policy and scientific study in order to improve the creation and implementation of federal policies related to scientific research and the governmental functions that oversee the research. Science students bring a wealth of technical knowledge, but are not often fluent in the language and implementation of federal policies. Policy students have knowledge of government operations, but do not often have the technical knowledge needed to properly interpret scientific data and to implement science-based legislation.

Through this certificate, students will learn:

  • How scientific research is guided by the government through policy-based considerations such as funding.
  • How research is prioritized and overseen by federal agencies.
  • To use scientific analytical skills to interpret polices and government functions.

Students will be prepared to read and draft polices distributed and enacted by federal and state governments. Graduates of this certificate program will be able to serve as liaisons between the scientific and political communities in order to assist in scientifically-informed policy making. Graduates will also be able to interpret federal budgets and use that information to influence policy decisions.


University-wide admissions policies can be found in the Graduate Admissions Policies section of this catalog.

To apply for this program, please complete the George Mason University Admissions Application.

Applicants should have an undergraduate degree from an institution of higher education accredited by a Mason-recognized U.S. institutional accrediting agency or international equivalent with a minimum GPA of 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale). No specific undergraduate degree is required.


For policies governing all graduate programs, see AP.6 Graduate Policies.

Banner Code: SC-CERG-SCPO

Certificate Requirements

Total credits: 16-17

This certificate may be pursued on a full-or part-time basis.

Core Courses

COS 510Introduction to Science Policy3
COS 515Science Policy Internship Preparation1
EVPP 529Environmental Science Communication3
POGO 794Internship 13
Total Credits10

Elective Courses

Students select 6-7 credits of relevant science and policy coursework at the 500-level or above. Elective coursework must be pre-approved, in writing, by the Program Director.

Elective coursework must include at least one technical science course, and one policy course. Any remaining elective credits may be taken from either subject area. Independent directed research and reading courses will not count toward the required credits for this certificate program. 

Students select 6-7 credits from the following: 16-7
Technical Science Courses
Atmospheric, Oceanic, & Earth Sciences
Scientific Basis of Climate Change
Geology of Energy Resources
Personalized Medicine
Emerging Infectious Diseases
Chemistry & Biochemistry
Environmental Biotechnology
Computational & Data Sciences
Introduction to Scientific Data and Databases
Environmental Science & Policy
Energy Policy
Food-Energy-Water Nexus
Environmental Policy
Forensic Science & Digital Forensics
Legal, Privacy and Ethical Issues in Identity Analysis
Digital Warfare
Physics & Astronomy
Topics in Renewable Energy
Policy Courses
Biodefense Strategy
Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Weapons Policy and Security
National Security Technology and Policy
Collaborative Public Management
Advanced Data Analysis for Policy and Government
Theory and Practice in Public Policy
State and Local Government Policy and Economic Development
Budget Decision Making: Concepts and Practices in Economic and Financial Analyses
Science and Technology Policy in the 21st Century
Technology, Science, and Innovation: Institutions and Governance
Total Credits6-7