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Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy

Paint Branch Parkway at night

The Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy (STIP) Graduate Certificate (Z155) is a 12-credit, 4-course curriculum.

Through the certificate, students will develop a deeper understanding of the concepts related to the formulation of science, technology, and innovation policy, and how those concepts combine to influence a chosen field. The program will also help students hone the analytical skills necessary to formulate regulatory controls for new technologies and approaches for creating and commercializing new technologies and innovations through discussions on the relevant political, institutional, social, and market forces.

The program runs on the semester academic calendar with classes held in the fall and spring. Semesters are 16 weeks long each. The program will begin in Spring, 2023 with the course "The Influence of Science on Policy and Policy on Science". This course will be co-taught by Rosina Bierbaum and S. James Gates.

This certificate has been designed for mid-career professionals from public agencies and multinational organizations, those from private and civil society organizations – and especially for those actively working in science or cyber-related fields who want to learn more about the policy. Graduate students and those already working on the policy side who want to learn more about the science behind these topics are likewise encouraged to apply.

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Science, Technology and Innovation Graduate Certificate Program Highlights

The curriculum is built around two core requirements that focus on technology change and innovation, and the influence of science and technology on policy. Those courses are:

This core course explores how scientific and technical information gets used (or not used) in the formation of public policy, and how public policy influences science and technology development. Students will come away from this course with a fundamental understanding of the institutional landscape of S&T policy, the instruments of S&T policy implementation, and the processes of S&T policy decision-making. This institutional landscape encompasses government, business, academic institutions, and NGOs.

This course will be co-taught by Rosina Bierbaum and S. James Gates.

This core course provides a thorough understanding of technology and innovation and the characteristics, determinants and drivers of technological change. The course introduces key analytical constructs such as technology and product life cycles and learning curves, and the range of institutional, market and social factors that affect the diffusion and adoption of technologies, including the concepts of national innovation systems, and innovation support mechanisms.

This course will be taught by Anand Patwardhan.

From there, students will continue along a track based on their own interests, focusing either on Cyber or Energy and the Environment. This specialized track includes one required course and one elective. Pre-approved electives will be offered through the School of Public Policy and therefore be policy focused.

However, students wishing to take a more science-focused class at another School at the University of Maryland will have some latitude in selecting their own fourth graduate course. But, because many of these other options come with pre-requisites, co-requisites, and presumed scientific knowledge, approval is required first by the STIP Advisor.

PLCY688C: Cyberspace: Legal and Policy Implications (required)

An introduction to the complexities of cybersecurity policy at the national level. Most popular literature treats cybersecurity a technical problem. This course will refocus attention on the interplay of technical, economic, and political factors relevant to cybersecurity policies, and to public and private sector risk management solutions.

This course will be taught by Charles Harry.

Modeling Strategic Cybersecurity Risk in Critical Infrastructure (Suggested)

Governance of technology is often difficult for policy makers to holistically address due in part to the inability to assess the consequences of cascading failure in complex and interdependent systems. This course explores methods for modelling interconnected infrastructure and processes to quantify strategic risk and exposes students to advanced methods including graph theory, Markov Chains, agent modelling and monte carlo simulation as tools to assess static and dynamic risk.

PLCY699B Intersections of Technology and Policy: Modernizing the Energy System (Required)

This course will explore science, technology and innovation policy issues in the context of clean energy technologies and a decarbonized energy system. Key technologies such as renewable energy technologies, intelligent end-use systems and smart grids will be assessed and the course will build an understanding of the dynamics of their development and deployment. Aspects such as innovation support mechanisms, technology cooperation and collaboration and early stage technology finance will be explored.

This course will be taught by Kavita Surana.

Sustainable Energy Conversion and the Environment (Suggested)

By all counts, this appears to be an engineering course and has not ever been taught through policy. It does have pre-requisites, but they are undergraduate-level thermodynamics or the permission of the instructor. It is run regularly. These details can be found here.

Upon successful completion of the requirements, graduates will have acquired the following competencies:

  • Quantitative skills for analyzing empirical data related to technology and technology change
  • Analytical skills for designing and evaluating STI policies and programs, including innovation support mechanisms, and regulatory approaches aimed at addressing the social, environmental and other spillovers of new technologies
  • Exposure to the main types of STI policy documents and processes, including Congressional hearings, statutes, federal budgets, court decisions, National Research Council reports, and studies from advocacy groups
  • Communication skills in writing policy memos, preparing Congressional testimony, and making presentations

Graduates can choose to apply these credits towards a full School of Public Policy master’s degree program. Students interested in doing so need to apply and be admitted to a master's program before starting their fourth course.

STI Certificate for ICT STI Certificate for Energy and Environment

STIP In the News


STIP Core Faculty

Plan of Study Overview

A sample plan of study has been provided below. Prospective students can use this as a guide in their initial planning but are strongly encouraged to develop a more formal schedule with the STIP advisor.

Schedule a call with an advisor

Specific class meeting information (days and time) is posted on UMD’s interactive web service, Testudo. When examining possible electives. please make note if a course has a pre-requisite or co-requisite –if it’s taught outside of the School of Public Policy, schedule a time to speak with a STIP Advisor.

Semester & Year Type Course Number In-Person Section Code Online/Offsite Section Code Credits
Spring 1 Core PLCY689L PCM* PWL* 3
Spring 1 Domain Core PCM* PWL* 3
Fall 1 Core PLCY688L PCM* PWL* 3
Fall 1 Domain Elective PCM* PWL* 3


Semester & Year Type Course Number In-Person Section Code Online/Offsite Section Code Credits
Spring 1 Core PLCY799B PCM* PWL* 3
Fall 1 Core PLCY688L PCM* PWL* 3
Spring 1 Domain Core PCM* PWL* 3
Spring 2 Domain Elective PCM* PWL* 3