Master's Program Science, Technology and Policy


Program Description



Science and engineering play an increasingly important role in national and international public policy-making, in the sense of:

  • helping decision-makers identify and understand societal challenges,
  • assessing potential solutions, which often involve science and technology; and
  • evaluating how implemented policy interventions in society perform in terms of effectiveness, efficiency, and equity or fairness.

To contribute effectively to policy-making, science and engineering skills are essential, but so are academic skills in Policy Analysis. To enable students who have already completed a science and engineering education to acquire these skills in Policy Analysis, while developing their knowledge of science and engineering further at the Master level, ETH Zurich’s Institute of Science, Technology and Policy (ISTP) offers the MSc in Science, Technology and Policy. This programme is suitable for students who have completed a bachelor's degree with minimum 180 ECTS points in natural or engineering sciences including architecture and mathematics.

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The entry requirement is a BSc degree in science or engineering (including mathematics and architecture). The curriculum of the MSc focuses on acquiring Policy Analysis skills (25%), science and engineering skills (25%), case study seminars and elective courses (25%) as well as a Master thesis (25%) where skills in science, engineering, and Policy Analysis can be combined for the study of specific societal challenges.


Applications for autumn 2020 will be accepted from 1 November 2019 to 15 December 2019 (international application period).

Tuition Fees

  • Application fees (one-time fee):
    • With swiss matriculation/degree certificates: CHF50,-
    • With foreign matriculation/degree certificates: CHF150,-
  • Regular enrolement: CHF730,-/per semester
  • Compulsory semester fees: CHF69,-/per semester
  • Voluntary contributions: CHF20,-/per semester

Additional fees may apply.


Course Description

The four-semester long master programme is structured into four types of courses:

  1. Supplementary natural sciences or technical subjects (“minors”). The five minors provided are the following:
    • Urbanization & Planning
    • Energy & Mobility
    • Data & Computer Science
    • Life Sciences & Health
    • Resources & Environment
  2. Courses in social sciences, which focus on political analysis and evaluation.
  3. Case studies and a Master’s thesis, which address concrete policy issues in an interdisciplinary manner.
  4. Electives or an internship.

Language of tuition is English. The maximum permitted duration of studies is four years.


Student Skills

Students will acquire skills for systematically analyzing societal challenges at the interface of science, technology and policy, developing and assessing policy-options for addressing such challenges, and evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of policies that are being implemented.

Job Prospects

The combination of science, engineering, and Policy Analysis skills is in high demand particular in government agencies, technology and life sciences firms, consulting firms, international organizations, NGOs, as well as academia.

Institute of Science, Technology and Policy – Objectives

Public policies addressing key challenges of our time, such as sustainable use of natural resources, urban development, energy, and the ICT (Information and Communication Technology) revolution, rely heavily on new knowledge generated by natural, engineering, and social sciences, which provide key elements of many solutions. Yet, leading technical universities, which are expected to educate the future societal problem solvers, are grappling with the common criticism that “the world has problems while universities have disciplines”. ETH Zurich, one of the world’s leading universities, can and should play an important role in this realm. Within this framework, the Institute of Science, Technology and Policy (ISTP) aims at making a major contribution towards increasing the policy relevance of scientific research at ETH Zurich, and towards educating students and future decision-makers. More specifically, the Institute is dedicated to supporting public policy-making processes via exchange of information among scientists, policy-makers, and other members of society and via innovative and productive trans-disciplinary research collaborations. It also puts particular emphasis on collaboration and interaction with non-academic partners.

Last updated Oct 2019

About the School

Freedom and individual responsibility, entrepreneurial spirit and open-mindedness: ETH Zurich stands on a bedrock of true Swiss values.

Freedom and individual responsibility, entrepreneurial spirit and open-mindedness: ETH Zurich stands on a bedrock of true Swiss values. Read less