Energy and Resources

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

About the Energy and Resources Group

The mission of the Energy and Resources Group is research and teaching towards a sustainable environment and a just society. The Energy and Resources Group is a col­lab­o­ra­tive com­mu­nity of grad­u­ate stu­dents, core fac­ulty, 200 affil­i­ated fac­ulty and researchers across the cam­pus, and more than 600 alumni across the globe. The Energy and Resources Group provides advanced training in interdisciplinary analysis and research with the goal of creating transformative knowledge for the planet and its people.

As one of the first interdisciplinary programs in the field, Energy and Resources 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.

Courses cover current developments in the field and emphasize a variety of disciplinary perspectives and methodologies: core areas include economics, social sciences, engineering, humanities, and environmental sciences.

Ph.D. in Energy and Resources

The Energy and Resources Group 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 Ph.D. Degree in Energy and Resources is typically completed four years beyond the Master’s Degree.

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

The Energy and Resources 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 Energy and Resources 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. For more detail on the A-F requirements please go to

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 Degree of Public Policy and Energy and Resources

The Energy and Resources Group and 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 / Certificate 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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Admission to the University

Applying for Graduate Admission

Thank you for considering UC Berkeley for graduate study! UC Berkeley offers more than 120 graduate programs representing the breadth and depth of interdisciplinary scholarship. The Graduate Division hosts a complete list of graduate academic programs, departments, degrees offered, and application deadlines can be found on the Graduate Division website.

Prospective students must submit an online application to be considered for admission, in addition to any supplemental materials specific to the program for which they are applying. The online application and steps to take to apply can be found on the Graduate Division website.

Admission Requirements

The minimum graduate admission requirements are:

  1. A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution;

  2. A satisfactory scholastic average, usually a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 (B) on a 4.0 scale; and

  3. Enough undergraduate training to do graduate work in your chosen field.

For a list of requirements to complete your graduate application, please see the Graduate Division’s Admissions Requirements page. It is also important to check with the program or department of interest, as they may have additional requirements specific to their program of study and degree. Department contact information can be found here.

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 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 . 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 Social Sciences Buildingl #3050, Berkeley, CA 94720–3050. We will then upload the letter to your file for them.

  1. 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

Energy and Resources Ph.D.

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


In most cases, entering Ph.D. students complete the ERG Master's Degree during their first two years. Please see the Master’s Degree Curriculum for further details. This is designed to ensure doctoral students possess sufficient breadth and foundational knowledge to begin their original research. 

After completion of the Energy and Resources Master's Degree, Ph.D. students prepare for their Qualifying Examination and commence their dissertation research.

Faculty advisors, at their discretion, may waive some course or project requirements for Ph.D. students who have sufficient academic preparation. If an admitted Ph.D. student previously has completed a two-year Master's Degree in a program closely equivalent to the Energy and Resources Master's Degree, they may begin preparing immediately for their qualifying examination and dissertation research. In these cases, any additional coursework required to support the student's  research plan will be identified in consultation with the student's primary faculty advisor.

Qualifying Exam

When the doctoral student and his or her faculty advisors 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 advisor and subject to the approval of the Graduate Dean.


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

Master's Degree Requirements

The course requirements provide for a substantive introduction to the disciplinary approaches that are employed in studying energy and resource issues. The requirements also ensure experience in interdisciplinary analysis applied to a key resource concern. The curriculum provides an opportunity — through a topical cluster and an independent project — to extend and deepen the areas of investigation and understanding to satisfy the intellectual interests of each student.

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 and also those students who intend to continue their education, for example by pursuing a PhD in Energy and Resources.

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

  • Complete a minimum of 40 post-baccalaureate units.
  • Complete a minimum of 18 units of graduate-level study in energy and resources, many of which can be fulfilled by courses from other departments and schools.
  • Complete the ERG Masters Degree Series:
    • ENE,RES 293A – Interdisciplinary Analysis in Energy and Resources (3 units)
    • ENE,RES 293B – Master’s Research Skills and Project Development (2 units)
    • ENE,RES 293C – Masters Project Development (2 units)
    • ENE,RES 293D – Masters Project Presentation (2 units)
    • ENE,RES 295 – ERG Colloquium (2 units) Two semesters are required to ensure exposure to a broad array of topics and approaches.
  • The following limits and restrictions apply on credit toward the 40-unit requirement:
  • A maximum of 4 units of 299 (individual research) credits can be counted.
  • 298  units (group study) cannot be counted.

To ensure effective early planning and consultation, ERG Master’s students are expected to submit a completed “Proposed Course of Study” form by the last day of class in their first  semester. This form will indicate the courses that the student intends to take to meet the requirements given above. It will be completed by the student in consultation with the student’s ERG core faculty advisor.  The course of study may change as a student’s interests and plans change. At the end of the second and third semesters, students are expected to submit a revised course of study.  The final course of study must be approved early in the student’s final semester to meet the requirements for graduation.

At the end of the third semester, students also are required to submit their proposed Master’s Project title and abstract to their ERG core faculty advisor, who will provide feedback. Each student, in collaboration with the first faculty reader and the instructor(s) of the Master’s seminar, will prepare a proposed project title and abstract for the Master’s project by the end of the student’s third semester.

The ERG Master’s program can lead to either an MA or MS degree in Energy and Resources. In consultation with the advisor, each student makes a request of the MA or MS degree based on the substantive content of coursework and Master’s project. The ERG core faculty advisor makes a final determination of the appropriateness of the MA/MS selection.

Area (A-F) requirement

Teaching and research in the Energy and Resources Group draws heavily on five academic traditions, as they are applied to the interactions of societies with resources and the natural environment. The ERG Master’s curriculum ensures that each student is well acquainted with each of these academic spheres and also experiences how distinct approaches from these intellectual traditions are brought to bear in interdisciplinary resource analysis. Consequently, one of the cornerstone requirements of the ERG Master’s curriculum is the A-F requirements.

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

Selecting Coursework

All Master’s Degree students are required to complete Area A (Interdisciplinary Analysis) plus courses in four of the five areas B – F. Students select four areas in consultation with their ERG Core Faculty Academic Adviser. Students must choose to take the area, or at least one of the areas, of greatest deficiency in their academic or professional record. If there is more than one area gap in the student’s record, the student and their adviser will come to an agreement about which four areas will fulfill ERG requirements.

The Berkeley Academic Guide catalog is always evolving, and not all courses are offered every term. Therefore alternate courses to those listed in the B-F Course List are allowed with permission of the designated responsible faculty.

The alternate course must meet the intent and prerequisites of the area requirement. Attributes that would normally be considered minimum requirements for an alternative course to be acceptable are these: 3+ units, taken for a letter grade, lecture or laboratory-based instruction (i.e., no seminar courses) with substantive intellectual content and topical relevance to the academic tradition of ERG. The purpose of these courses is to provide ERG students sufficient background in the physical and social constructions of the relevant systems to enable them to understand key issues and to begin to conduct research in that area.

A. Interdisciplinary Energy and Resource Analysis
Responsible Faculty: Daniel Kammen

The following courses satisfy this requirement:

  • ENE,RES C200 – Energy and Society (Prerequisite: at least one course in college physics or chemistry)
    ENE,RES 275 – Water and Development (Prerequisite: at least one college-level development-focused or water-focused course)

B. Environmental Science
Responsible Faculty: Lara Kueppers

The ERG environmental science requirement teaches the analytical methods and the fundamental principles needed to understand and creatively engage with the biotic and abiotic environment. Topical content spans physics, biology, chemistry, and mathematics, with a focus on the cross-boundary subfields of biodiversity science, biogeochemistry, climatology, hydrology, toxicology, radiation and radioactivity, and demography. An emphasis is placed on developing the capacity to construct and use back-of-the-large-envelope modeling methods. We do not count courses that focus in on subsets of the above subfields, but you can make a case for substituting collections of courses for the core ERG course (ER 102), provided those courses emphasize quantitative tools comparable to those taught in ER 102.

The following course satisfies this requirement:
ENE,RES 102Quantitative Aspects of Global Environmental Problems4
and Calculus
Analytic Geometry and Calculus
and Analytic Geometry and Calculus
Physics for Scientists and Engineers
and Physics for Scientists and Engineers
Introductory Physics
and Introductory Physics
CHEM 1AGeneral Chemistry3
or CHEM 4A General Chemistry and Quantitative Analysis
BIOLOGY 1BGeneral Biology Lecture and Laboratory4
course applied with consent of instructor

C. Resource and Environmental Economics
Responsible Faculty: David Anthoff

The purpose of the economics requirement is for students to become acquainted with the tools and analytical methods used in economics. For students that have never taken an intermediate microeconomics course before, this requirement can only be fulfilled by an intermediate microeconomics course. For these students, the following courses satisfy this requirement:

  • ENVECON 100 – Microeconomic Theory with Application to Natural Resources

Students who have taken an intermediate microeconomics course before can choose from a large number of economics courses from ERG, the departments of Agricultural & Resource Economics, Business, and Economics to fulfill this requirement. For these students, the following are some of the courses which satisfy this requirement:

D. Social Science Approaches to Energy, Resources and the Environment
Responsible Faculty: Isha Ray

The ERG social science requirement aims to make students “see” the social world through methods and theories common to traditional social science fields such as: geography, political science, anthropology, sociology, and critical planning approaches. All classes should be 3 units, contain significant social science readings, but not be directed reading seminars. These courses generally have as prerequisites undergraduate level courses in geography, sociology, anthropology or political science.

Some of the courses that satisfy this requirement:

  • ENE,RES 273 – Research Methods in Social Sciences
  • ESPM 155 – Sociology of Natural Resources
  • ESPM 161 – Environmental Philosophy and Ethics
  • ESPM 168 – Political Ecology
  • ESPM 169 – International Environmental Politics
  • CY PLAN 254 – Sustainable Communities
  • ESPM 260 – Governance of Global Production
  • GEOG 203 – Nature and Culture
  • GEOG 215 – Seminar in Comparative and International Development

E. Engineering Approaches to Energy, Resources and the Environment
Responsible Faculty: Duncan Callaway

The purpose of this area is to provide all ERG students with exposure to and experience with the problem-solving, design-oriented approach of relevant engineering disciplines. Other courses may be allowed by petition, but must have substantive engineering content and topical relevance to the domain of ERG, and must be offered in the College of Engineering or in the Department of Chemical Engineering. Note: These courses will have various prerequisites.

Some of the courses that satisfy this requirement:

F. Environmental Humanities
Responsible Faculty: Isha Ray

Humanities courses introduce students to historical, philosophical, textual, and interpretive methodologies and epistemologies, which are distinct from the mainstream methods taught or used within the social sciences. The humanities deal with history, philosophy, languages, religion, literature and even art — with what makes us human. Conversely, the social sciences deal with sociology, anthropology, politics, economics, urban planning — with what makes us social.

Some of the courses that satisfy this requirement:

The ERG Master’s Degree Seminar Series

Semester I – Fall

  • ENE,RES 293A – Interdisciplinary Analysis in Energy and Resources
    3 units, graded.  Required for all Masters students in their first semester. Introduction to the Masters final project process; survey of previous Masters final projects; survey of energy and resources classic texts; external funding searches and proposal writing skills; introduction of ERG faculty research topics; interactive group research projects.
  • ENE,RES 292A – Tools of the Trade
    2 units, S/U. Recommended for all new Masters students who want to refresh their quantitative skills; students with substantial remedial needs may need to take some undergraduate coursework. Quantitative methods for energy and resource analysis. Topics include linear algebra, differential equations, statistical methods, chemical equilibrium theory and thermodynamics. 

Semester II – Spring

  • ENE,RES 293B – Master’s Seminar: Research Skills
    2 units, graded. Critical reading and analysis of research papers; development and discussion of project ideas. Students begin to identify and solicit faculty readers for their projects. Human subject research issues, ethics and protocols introduced.

Semester III – Fall

  • ENE,RES 293C – Master’s Seminar: Research Project Development
    2 units, graded. Final Development of research project ideas; final solicitation of faculty readers; critical feedback from cohort on projects.

Semester IV – Spring

  • ENE,RES 293D – Master’s Seminar: Final Project Presentations
    2 units, graded. Students meet as needed with faculty readers and advisors; following Spring Break students meet as a group for practice presentations.  End of semester all students do a final 15-minute presentation of their project.

Sample Master’s Degree Program of Study

ERG students take classes in departments all over campus, and have many choices to satisfy the A-F and other requirements.  The below is a sample of what a student’s plan might look like. Master’s students may elect to drop one of the B-F requirement areas, but may not drop the area in which they have the least strong background.

Minimum enrollment requirement for all graduate students is 12 units per semester.

Semester I (Fall)

  • ENE,RES 293A – Master’s Seminar: Interdisciplinary Analysis in Energy and Resources (3 units). Required for all entering students.
  • ENE,RES C200 — Energy and Society (4 units): Satisfies Area A (Interdisciplinary Energy and Resource Analysis) requirement
  • ENE,RES 295 — Colloquium (1 unit): Required in two of four semesters
  • ENE,RES 276 – Climate Change Economics (4 units) satisfies Area C requirement (Research and Environmental Economics)

Semester II (Spring)

  • ENE,RES 293B – Master’s Seminar (2 units). Required for all first-year Master’s students.
  • ENE,RES 295 – Colloquium (1 unit): Required in two of four semesters
  • ENE,RES 102 – Quantitative Aspects of Global Environmental Problems (4 units): Satisfies Area B requirement (Environmental Science).
  • ENE,RES 273 – Social Science Research Methods (3 units): Satisfies Area D requirement (Social Science Approaches).
  • Elective Cluster Course #1 (3 units)

Semester III (Fall)

  • ENE,RES 293C: Master’s Seminar (2 units): Required for all second-year Master’s students
  • ESPM 161: Environmental Philosophy and Ethics (3 units): satisfies Area F requirement (Humanities).
  • Elective Cluster Course #2 (3 units)
  • Elective Cluster Course #3 (3 units)

Semester IV (Spring)

  • ENE,RES 293C – Master’s Seminar (2 units). Required for all second-year Master’s students.
  • ENE,RES 254: Electric Power Systems (3 units) Satisfies Area E requirement (Engineering).
  • Elective Course
  • Elective course
  • Independent Study


Energy and Resources

Contact Information

Energy and Resources Group

345 Giannini Hall

Phone: 510-642-1640

Fax: 510-642-1085

Visit Group Website


Professor Duncan Callaway

337 Giannini Hall

Faculty Undergraduate Minor Advisor

Professor Lara Kueppers

345 Giannini Hall

Phone: 510-642-1640

Group Manager

Amanda Okamoto

345 Giannini Hall

Phone: 510-642-1760

Graduate Student Affairs Officer

Candace Groskreutz

345 Giannini Hall

Phone: 510-642-8859

ERG Minor Advisor

260 Mulford Hall

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