Throughout history, technology has been a major driver of social, political, and economic change. Societies around the globe employ public policies to solve problems and achieve their social, economic, and environmental objectives. The spheres of public policy and technology overlap as society is challenged to consider not only the role of new technologies in its quest for improved quality of life, but also how policies affect the development, emergence, and choice of new technologies. Because of the role engineers play in creating new technology, they increasingly have an important role in helping to shape public policy. Moreover, policies affecting how we as a society live and work—such as environmental, industrial, energy, and national security policy, to name a few—demand that engineers be prepared to integrate policy issues into their engineering practice.
In its recent report, Educating the Engineer of 2020, the NAE stated that engineering curricula that integrate public policy “could serve as a recruiting tool … [and] an optimum launch pad to challenging and rewarding professions – engineering first and foremost, but also medicine, law and business.” In noting the increased convergence between engineering and public policy, the NAE found:
This new level of interrelatedness necessitates that engineering, and engineers, develop a stronger sense of how technology and public policy interact. To date, engagement of engineers in public policy issues has been limited at best. It is both the responsibility of engineers and important to the image of the profession that engineers increase their ability to eloquently articulate the relevance of engineering to many public policy issues.
This degree creates such an integrated engineering/public policy curriculum through the BS/MS in Chemical Engineering/Science, Technology, and Public Policy. The program is supported by faculty in both the Department of Chemical Engineering and the Department of Science, Technology, & Society/Public Policy.
This program is a natural fit that enables qualified students enrolled in Chemical Engineering who also have an interested in public policy issues the opportunity to pursue a graduate level degree in a field that combines their engineering and public policy interests.
The program is designed as an integrated dual degree program where qualified students begin taking MS courses in their fourth year. A total of 150 semester credit hours are required, which allows students to earn both a BS and MS degree in the same time normally required for just the BS degree.
A student will typically apply to the BS/MS degree program in their second year. Students are allowed to pursue the BS/MS option as long their GPA remains above a 2.5. Students must take the Policy Analysis I-III sequence and use these courses to meet their College of Liberal Arts concentration requirement.