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Politics and Policy Studies of Science and Technology (Graduate Certificate)

Politics and Policy Studies of Science and Technology Graduate Certificate

The graduate certificate program in Politics and Policy Studies of Science and Technology prepares graduate students to demonstrate competence in the politics and policies of Science, Technology, and Society.

Faculty member in server room near server rack

About Our Program

The graduate certificate program in Politics and Policy Studies of Science and Technology caters to graduate students in other programs at Virginia Tech, graduate students in contributing departments, and non-degree-seeking students who desire competence in the politics and policies of Science, Technology, and Society. In addition, mid-career professionals pursue this certificate if they are not particularly interested in another degree, however, they would like to be able to point to the completion of some shorter course of study. Students in this certificate program will critically assess science and technology policy. Students will be exposed to issues in bioethics in public policy, information technology, and politics.


Virginia Tech Blacksburg Campus, National Capital Region Campus

Type of Instruction:

Residential/On Campus, Some Online Courses

12 hrs
Total Credit Hours



What You'll Study

Number of Credit Hours:

  • 12 credit hours 
    Only 6 credits can be double-counted for this certificate and a graduate degree.
    Transfer credits are not permitted.

Required Courses (6 credit hours):

  • STS/SOC 5105: Social Studies of Science and Technology I
  • STS/PAPA 5614 Introduction to Science and Technology Policy

Restrictive Elective (6 credit hours):

  • STS 5424: Topics in Science and Technology Studies
  • STS 5444: Issues in Bioethics
  • STS/PAPA 6664: Advanced Topics in Science and Technology Policy
  • PSCI/GIA 5354: Public Policy Analysis
  • PSCI/GIA 5214: Contemporary Political Theory
  • SPIA/GIA 5454: Advanced Topics in Information Technology and Public Policy
  • SPIA/GIA 5555: Culture, Politics, and Society in a Networked Environment
  • UAP 5564: Information Technology, Society, and Public Policy

Why choose this program?

  • We analyze how society affects the development and implementation of scientific, technological, and medical knowledges and practices and how scientific, technological, and medical pursuits affect society. 
  • The research and scholarly interests of our faculty cross a wide range of disciplinary boundaries.
  • The graduate program in STS at Virginia Tech prepares students to be productive and publicly-engaged scholars, advancing research. 
  • Full range of disciplines in the social sciences and humanities
  • Our program offers two options to accomodate part-time or full-time enrollment. 
  • All classes are taught in small seminars and offer personal interaction with faculty and peers. 
  • Conduct research that integrates science and technology with societal institutions, norms, and practices.
  • Part-time program and evening classes cater to working professionals. Convenient to the Washington DC Metro at West Falls Church. 
  • All classes are taught in small seminars and offer personal interaction with faculty and peers. Students from all academic and professional backgrounds are welcome.

Admissions and Tuition

Admissions Requirements

  • Minimum GPA 3.0 (4 Scale)
  • TOEFL/ IELTS score required  (if applicable)

Learn more about admissions requirements 

Application Deadlines

Domestic Application

  • *Fall: August 1
  • Spring: January 1
  • Summer I: May 1
  • Summer II: Jun 1

International Application

  • *Fall: April 1
  • Spring: September 1
  • Summer I: Jan 1
  • Summer II: Feb 1

The cloud exists as an assemblage of technologies, infrastructures, and human practices. Seeing how social values are built into technologies can help us build more robust and egalitarian systems. As a Science and Technology Studies (STS) researcher, Trevor's work is interdisciplinary. His dissertation borrows from STS scholars, historians, computer scientists, sociologists, and philosophers. These multiple perspectives provide the tools to understand how the cloud and other technological systems interface with the social world. 

— Trevor Croker

My field is called Science and Technology Studies, or STS. It's an interdisciplinary program that intersects with four main disciplines: history, anthropology, sociology, and philosophy. By interweaving the theories and methods of these disciplines, alongside those developed within STS itself, scholars in my field become social scientists and humanists who study scientists, their practices, and technologies--or scholars interested in different kinds of expertise, instruments, and the process of knowledge creation.

— Jennifer Henderson

Contact Us

Program Specialist

Carol Slusser
Graduate Coordinator
121 Lane Hall

Program Leaders

Jim Collier
Graduate Director
231 Lane Hall

Sonja Schmid
NCR Co-Director
Northern Virginia Center

Janet Abbate
NCR Co-Director
Northern Virginia Center