Energy and Resources

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

The graduate courses in ERG provide advanced training in interdisciplinary analysis and research. Courses cover current developments in the field, or emphasize particular disciplinary perspectives: core areas include economics, social sciences, engineering, humanities, and environmental sciences.

Ph.D. in Energy and Resources

ERG doctoral students work across disciplines and departments to create transformative knowledge for the planet and its people. As one of the first interdisciplinary programs in the field, ERG faculty and students have established an impressive track record of undertaking engaged, cutting-edge research and turning these ideas into effective actions from local to global levels.

ERG admits highly qualified applicants into the Ph.D. program, designed to support and empower doctoral students to pursue rigorous, interdisciplinary, and original research in the fields of energy, resources, and the environment.

The first two years of the Ph.D. involve coursework, taught jointly with the ERG Master’s Degree students, and a Final Project in the second year. Please see the Master’s Degree Curriculum for further details. Doctoral students will receive a Master of Science or Master of Arts Degree in Energy and Resources upon completion of the first two years’ requirements. In some cases, ERG may waive some course or project requirements for Ph.D. students who already hold a Master’s Degree and who can demonstrate a highly interdisciplinary academic background.

After completion of the first two years’ requirements, Ph.D. students will prepare for their Qualifying Examination and commence their Dissertation research.

The PhD degree in Energy and Resources is typically completed four to five years beyond the Master’s Degree.

Master’s Degrees in Energy and Resources (M.A. or M.S.)

The ERG Master’s Degree is a two-year program designed to educate the next generation of interdisciplinary leaders. The curriculum is intended to serve those students for whom the Master’s degree will be the final formal education in support of a professional career. It also serves as an interdisciplinary foundation for doctoral students preparing for Dissertation research.

Students are taught the range of methods and subjects that they should be able to understand, advance, and critique, in order to address critical challenges stemming from the interaction of humans and the environment. To that end, the requirements for the ERG Master’s degree are both broad and deep, stressing analytic, theoretical, and practical approaches to problems in energy, resources, and the environment.

The course requirements provide for a substantive introduction to the disciplinary approaches that are employed in studying energy and resource issues. These approaches are codified as the A-F Breadth Requirements.

The program also ensures experience in interdisciplinary analysis applied to key resource concerns. The curriculum provides an opportunity, through a topical course cluster and an independent capstone project, to extend and deepen the areas of investigation and understanding to satisfy the intellectual interests of each student.

Concurrent Master's of Public Policy and Energy and Resources (M.P.P./M.A. or M.M.P./M.S.)

The Energy and Resources Group and the The Goldman School of Public Policy offer a three-year concurrent Master's Degree program that integrates the strengths of public policy analytical tools with the interdisciplinary knowledge and expertise in energy and resources.

Undergraduate Minor in Energy and Resources

The ERG Minor offers knowl­edge and skills to enable students to address the com­plex and inter­de­pen­dent issues asso­ci­ated with the inter­ac­tion of social, eco­nomic, polit­i­cal, tech­ni­cal, and envi­ron­men­tal fac­tors. Stu­dents in any major may add the ERG minor, which is composed of two core and three elective upper division courses. Several of these courses have prerequisites in mathematics or science.

Undergraduate Summer Minor in Sustainability

This summer program offers a practical and relevant interdisciplinary approach at the intersection of environmental, economic, social, political, and cultural issues. It is open to matriculated UC Berkeley undergraduates, students from other institutions, and the general public. Upon completion, UC Berkeley undergraduates receive a Minor in Sustainability, while other participants receive a Certificate in Sustainability from UC Berkeley.

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Admissions

Admission to the University

Minimum Requirements for Admission

The following minimum requirements apply to all graduate programs and will be verified by the Graduate Division:

  1. A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution;
  2. A grade point average of B or better (3.0);
  3. If the applicant comes from a country or political entity (e.g., Quebec) where English is not the official language, adequate proficiency in English to do graduate work, as evidenced by a TOEFL score of at least 90 on the iBT test, 570 on the paper-and-pencil test, or an IELTS Band score of at least 7 on a 9-point scale (note that individual programs may set higher levels for any of these); and
  4. Sufficient undergraduate training to do graduate work in the given field.

Applicants Who Already Hold a Graduate Degree

The Graduate Council views academic degrees not as vocational training certificates, but as evidence of broad training in research methods, independent study, and articulation of learning. Therefore, applicants who already have academic graduate degrees should be able to pursue new subject matter at an advanced level without the need to enroll in a related or similar graduate program.

Programs may consider students for an additional academic master’s or professional master’s degree only if the additional degree is in a distinctly different field.

Applicants admitted to a doctoral program that requires a master’s degree to be earned at Berkeley as a prerequisite (even though the applicant already has a master’s degree from another institution in the same or a closely allied field of study) will be permitted to undertake the second master’s degree, despite the overlap in field.

The Graduate Division will admit students for a second doctoral degree only if they meet the following guidelines:

  1. Applicants with doctoral degrees may be admitted for an additional doctoral degree only if that degree program is in a general area of knowledge distinctly different from the field in which they earned their original degree. For example, a physics PhD could be admitted to a doctoral degree program in music or history; however, a student with a doctoral degree in mathematics would not be permitted to add a PhD in statistics.
  2. Applicants who hold the PhD degree may be admitted to a professional doctorate or professional master’s degree program if there is no duplication of training involved.

Applicants may apply only to one single degree program or one concurrent degree program per admission cycle.

Required Documents for Applications

  1. Transcripts: Applicants may upload unofficial transcripts with your application for the departmental initial review. If the applicant is admitted, then official transcripts of all college-level work will be required. Official transcripts must be in sealed envelopes as issued by the school(s) attended. If you have attended Berkeley, upload your unofficial transcript with your application for the departmental initial review. If you are admitted, an official transcript with evidence of degree conferral will not be required.
  2. Letters of recommendation: Applicants may request online letters of recommendation through the online application system. Hard copies of recommendation letters must be sent directly to the program, not the Graduate Division.
  3. Evidence of English language proficiency: All applicants from countries or political entities in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. This applies to applicants from Bangladesh, Burma, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Latin America, the Middle East, the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, most European countries, and Quebec (Canada). However, applicants who, at the time of application, have already completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better at a US university may submit an official transcript from the US university to fulfill this requirement. The following courses will not fulfill this requirement:
    • courses in English as a Second Language,
    • courses conducted in a language other than English,
    • courses that will be completed after the application is submitted, and
    • courses of a non-academic nature.

If applicants have previously been denied admission to Berkeley on the basis of their English language proficiency, they must submit new test scores that meet the current minimum from one of the standardized tests. Official TOEFL score reports must be sent directly from Educational Test Services (ETS). The institution code for Berkeley is 4833. Official IELTS score reports must be mailed directly to our office from the British Council. TOEFL and IELTS score reports are only valid for two years.

Where to Apply

Visit the Berkeley Graduate Division application page

Admission to the Program

The Energy and Resources Group seeks students who have excelled academically, whatever their discipline; who show promise of ability to cross disciplinary boundaries; and who want not only to understand problems of energy, resources, and environment but to help solve them. ERG deliberately admits students with a wide variety of interests, perspectives, disciplines, research methods, and experience so that each can help the others see the whole picture.

Admission to ERG is highly competitive, with a class of approximately 20 students (Master’s and Ph.D. combined) selected annually from approximately 300 applicants. Those admitted to the program have strong academic records and letters of recommendation, balanced and strong GRE scores, and, where applicable, related work experience and publications. The statement of purpose, supplemented by the personal history statement, is vital in demonstrating an applicant’s commitment to the program.

You may apply to the two-year Master’s Degree (M.S. or M.A.), three-year ERG/Public Policy Concurrent Master’s Degree, or the Ph.D. program.

Equity, Inclusion and Diversity at ERG

At ERG, we believe that diversity drives innovative research and discovery, expands our capacity for teaching and learning, and prepares our graduate students to be effective leaders in the transition towards a more sustainable environment and a just society. To learn how ERG actively promotes intellectual, racial, ethnic, and gender inclusion, visit our Equity, Inclusion, & Diversity page.

Admission to the Master's Program, M.A. or M.S.

The minimum requirement for admission to the master’s degree program is completion of a Bachelor’s Degree or its equivalent at a fully accredited US institution of higher learning or international equivalent. Because the program is fundamentally interdisciplinary, there are no other formal requirements for consideration, although, as discussed above, successful candidates will demonstrate academic and intellectual excellence.

Admission to the Ph.D. Program

The first two years of the Ph.D. involve coursework, taught jointly with the Master’s Degree students, and a Final Project in the second year. Please see the Master’s Degree Curriculum for further details. Doctoral students will receive a Master of Science or Master of Arts Degree in Energy and Resources upon completion of the first two years’ requirements.

In some cases for highly qualified students, ERG may waive some course or project requirements for Ph.D. students who already hold a Master’s Degree and who can demonstrate a strong interdisciplinary academic background.

Recommended Preparation

We recommend at least one term of college-level calculus, courses in fundamental science (e.g., physics, chemistry, and biology), as well as [1] upper division social science (for example political science, sociology, or anthropology) and humanities courses.

Application Process

All applicants must use the online application system at http://grad.berkeley.edu/admissions/apply/ . Applications open in the first week of September for the fall of the following year. There are no spring admissions at ERG. The application deadline is the first week of December.. All admissions are subject to approval by the UC Graduate Division. The following information will be requested in the application.

  1. Statement of Purpose and Personal History Statement: ERG requires two essays and places considerable weight on the Statement of Purpose and the Personal History Statement. Each statement should be no longer than three pages (double spaced, 10–12 point font).
    • The Statement of Purpose should discuss your motivations for wanting to enter a graduate degree program, and specifically why you would like to study at ERG. This is an open-ended opportunity for you to tell us how you envision this degree furthering your plans and dreams for the future. We are not looking for a summary of your dissertation topic or master’s focus, but a general statement of how this program fits into your goals.
    • The Personal History Statement should not be a narrative summary of your CV, but a more introspective look what has brought you to this point of wanting to pursue a degree at ERG. It can be a place to share formative experiences, inspiring influences, or personal challenges.
  2. Transcripts: Unofficial copies of your transcripts will be accepted for the application. If you are admitted, you will be required to submit official transcripts for all college-level work. For coursework completed in the fall term of your admissions cycle, ERG will accept amended transcripts and late grade reports until the first Friday in January. There is a section of the application that will allow you to document coursework in progress.
  3. Letters of Recommendation: ERG requires three letters of. You are welcome to use recommenders from your professional as well as your academic career, however at least one letter must be from a professor who is in a position to assess your potential for advanced academic work.

It is strongly preferred that your recommenders use the UC Berkeley online portal to upload letters to your application. On your application, you will find a section that asks you for name and email address for your recommenders. When you submit that information, the system will automatically send an email request to your recommenders with a link where they can upload their recommendation letter as a PDF. You should review your application periodically to see if the letters from your recommenders have been uploaded. You will have the option to electronically send a reminder request. If a recommender is unable or unwilling to upload a letter electronically, we will accept hard copies mailed in a sealed envelope (with signature over the seal) to: CONFIDENTIAL Admissions, Energy & Resources Group, 310 Barrows Hall #3050, Berkeley, CA 94720–3050. We will then upload the letter to your file for them.

  1. GRE scores: All applicants are required to submit GRE scores. International applicant GRE scores will be viewed with an understanding of the challenges of taking this test in a second language. ETS transmits scores to UC Berkeley directly, but you may self-report scores until we are able to verify your official score. To submit your official score, on your test registration list the Berkeley Graduate Division institutional code 4833. You do not need a department code. We recommend taking the GRE no later than October. To be valid, the GRE must have been taken within the past 5 years.
  • Language Proficiency Scores: International applicants from countries in which the official language is not English must provide official evidence of English proficiency. There are two standardized tests you may take: the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). To submit your TOEFL score, on your test registration please list the institution code for Berkeley, 4833. You do not need a department code. Scores more than two years old will not be accepted. For more information about language testing and scores, as well as applicants from which countries will be required to submit scores, please refer to the Graduate Division website.

Doctoral Degree Requirements

The primary focus of the Ph.D. is the research and writing of the student's dissertation.  After satisfaction of the first two years’ course requirements, Ph.D. students will prepare for their Qualifying Examination and commence their Dissertation research.

Coursework

The first two years of the Ph.D. involve coursework, taught jointly with the Master’s Degree students, and a Final Project in the second year. Please see the Master’s Degree Curriculum for further details. Doctoral students will receive a Master of Science or Master of Arts Degree in Energy and Resources upon completion of the first two years’ requirements. In some cases, ERG may waive some course or project requirements for Ph.D. students who already hold a Master’s Degree and who can demonstrate a highly interdisciplinary academic background. Ph.D. students are encouraged to register for, and attend the weekly ERG Doctoral Seminar (ENERES 296) where ERG Ph.D. students share their ongoing work and solicit feedback from the ERG community. 

Qualifying Exam

When the doctoral student and his or her advisers have agreed on a subject for the dissertation, the student must defend in a three-hour oral examination the suitability of the topic and his/her preparation for conducting original research in it. This Qualifying Examination is conducted by a committee of four faculty members chosen by the student, in consultation with his/her faculty adviser and subject to the approval of the graduate dean. This examination should be taken at least one year before the expected completion of the dissertation, and ideally earlier.

Dissertation

The final requirement for the Ph.D. is completion of the dissertation to the satisfaction of a committee consisting of three faculty advisers/readers chosen by the student, subject to approval by the graduate dean. The Ph.D. degree in Energy and Resources is typically completed four to five years beyond the Master’s Degree.

Master's Degree Requirements (MA & MS)

Master's Degree Curriculum

The ERG Master’s Degree is a two-year program designed to educate the next generation of interdisciplinary leaders. The curriculum is intended to serve those students for whom the Master’s degree will be the final formal education in support of a professional career. It also serves as an interdisciplinary foundation for doctoral students preparing for Dissertation research.

Students are taught the range of methods and subjects that they should be able to understand, advance, and critique, in order to address critical challenges  stemming from the interaction of humans and the environment. To that end, the requirements for the ERG Master’s degree are both broad and deep, stressing analytic, theoretical, and practical approaches to problems in energy, resources, and the environment.

The course requirements provide for a substantive introduction to the disciplinary approaches that are employed in studying energy and resource issues. These approaches are codified as the Breadth Requirements.

Differentiation of MA or MS degree is based on the substantive content of coursework and master’s project.

To obtain a master’s degree from ERG, each student must meet the following requirements:

Breadth Requirements (A - F)
  • Complete one course in Area A
  • Complete one course in 4 out of the 5 B-F requirements. The four required courses will be decided by each student in consultation with their ERG Adviser.

A: Interdisciplinary analysis

B: Environmental science

C: Resource and environmental economics

D: Social science approaches to energy, resources, and the environment

E: Engineering approaches to energy, resources, and the environment

F: Humanities relevant to energy, resources and the environment

For suggested courses to satisfy the A-F requirements, sample course lists and additional information please visit the ERG website at http://erg.berkeley.edu/

Course Cluster

Complete a topical cluster of three courses (minimum of 9 units) in a subject area defined by the student and approved by his/her adviser. Only one of these three can be a course selected to satisfy the A-F requirement.

Final Project

The Final Project is an undertaking of an independent investigation that culminates in an oral presentation before the ERG community and a written report approved by two faculty readers.

 Additional Course Requirements
  •  Four semesters in the ERG Master’s Degree Seminar Series.
  • Two semesters of ERG Colloquium
  • Complete a minimum of 40 post-baccalaureate units.
  • Complete a minimum of 18 units of graduate-level study in energy and resources, some of which can be fulfilled by courses from other departments and school.
  • Six additional units of approved graduate-level courses.

Courses

Energy and Resources

Faculty and Instructors

Faculty

David Anthoff, Assistant Professor. Environmental economics, climate policy, integrated assessment models.
Research Profile

Duncan Callaway, Associate Professor. Modeling and control of aggregated storage devices, power management, and system analysis of energy technologies and their impact.
Research Profile

John Harte, Professor of the Graduate School. Global change, ecology, sustainability, energy policy, theoretical ecology, biodiversity.
Research Profile

Daniel M. Kammen, Professor. Public policy, nuclear engineering, energy, resources, risk analysis as applied to global warming, methodological studies of forecasting, hazard assessment, renewable energy technologies, environmental resource management.
Research Profile

Catherine Koshland, Professor. Air pollution, metals, energy, resources, environmental human health, mechanistic analyses of combustion products in flow reactors, control strategies in urban airsheds, pollutant formation, chlorinated hydrocarbons, particulates, industrial ecology.
Research Profile

Laura Kueppers, Assistant Professor. Ecological responses and feedback to climate change, climate-ecosystem interactions in forests and agroecosystems, agriculture, climate change, ecology, forests, tropics.
Research Profile

Isha Ray, Associate Professor. Water and development, Gender, water and sanitation, technology and development, social science research methods .
Research Profile

Margaret S. Torn, Associate Adjunct Professor. Biodiversity, biogeochemistry, carbon cycle, climate change, ecology, ecosystem services .
Research Profile

Emeritus Faculty

John P. Holdren, Professor Emeritus.

Richard B. Norgaard, Professor Emeritus.
Research Profile

Contact Information

Energy and Resources Group

310 Barrows Hall

Phone: 510-642-1640

Fax: 510-642-1085

ergdeskb@berkeley.edu

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Group Chair

Professor Daniel M. Kammen

301 Barrows Hall

Phone: 510-642-1139

kammen@berkeley.edu

Faculty Undergraduate Minor Adviser

Professor Lara Kueppers

310 Barrows Hall

lmkueppers@berekeley.edu

Head Graduate Adviser

Professor Isha Ray

310 Barrows Hall

Phone: 510-642-1640

isharay@berkeley.edu

Group Manager

Megan Amaral

310 Barrows Hall

Phone: 510-642-1760

Fax: 510-642-1085

megana@berkeley.edu

Graduate Student Affairs Officer

Kay Burns

310 Barrows Hall

Phone: 510–642-8859

erggrad@berkeley.edu

Admissions Inquiries

310 Barrows Hall

Phone: 510-642-1640

erggrad@berkeley.edu

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