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.
Total credits: 16-17
This certificate may be pursued on a full-or part-time basis.
|Introduction to Science Policy
|Science Policy Internship Preparation
|Environmental Science Communication
Students will be required to complete 120 clock hours in a federal government office for the 3 credit hour externship. Since the students are practicing new policy-based skills learned in the science policy certificate program, the externship placement cannot be in their current position of employment. Prior experience cannot be applied toward the credit hour requirement.
The externships will be coordinated by the Program Director of the certificate program. The externship performance will be evaluated by externship supervisor and the Program Director. The Program Director assessment is based on participation in the graded discussion forums, course assignments, journaling, midterm and final self-evaluations, and timesheets to verify contact hours. In addition, the externship supervisor conducts and submits to the Program Director a graded midterm supervisor and final supervisor evaluation. If a student fails the externship, then the course will be repeated in the next term to fulfill the externship requirement. If a student fails the externship a second time, they will be given a permanent failing grade in the course and will not be allowed to complete the certificate.
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: 1
|Technical Science Courses
|Atmospheric, Oceanic, & Earth Sciences
|Scientific Basis of Climate Change
|Geology of Energy Resources
|Emerging Infectious Diseases
|Chemistry & Biochemistry
|Computational & Data Sciences
|Introduction to Scientific Data and Databases
|Environmental Science & Policy
|Forensic Science & Digital Forensics
|Legal, Privacy and Ethical Issues in Identity Analysis
|Physics & Astronomy
|Topics in Renewable Energy
|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
Alternative courses can be applied with permission of the Program Director.