Admission to the Energy and Resources Group
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 20 students (Master’s and Ph.D. combined) selected annually from approximately 250 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.), ERG/Public Policy Concurrent Master’s Degree or the Ph.D. program. Within the Master’s applications there is checkbox to indicate your interest in the Master’s/Ph.D. Track.
The online application for Fall 2015 admission to ERG’s graduate programs will be available September 2, 2014. The deadline for filing applications is Friday, December 5, 2014. The application deadline for the concurrent degree programs with the Goldman School of Public Policy is Tuesday, December 2, 2014. Admissions decisions will be announced by March 1, 2015. ERG admits students only in the Fall term. You can learn more about the graduate programs at UC Berkeley and access the application on the Graduate Division website here.
Admission to the Master’s Program (MA or MS)
The purpose of the ERG Master’s program is to educate the next generation of interdisciplinary leaders. Specifically, students are taught the range of methods and subjects they should be able to understand, advance, and critique to address critical issues 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, methodological, 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. 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 Ph.D. in Energy and Resources.
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 U.S. institution of higher learning or foreign 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. Please review the UC Berkeley Graduate Division minimum requirements for admission as a graduate student at http://grad.berkeley.edu/.
Admission to the Master’s/Ph.D. Track
A small number of highly qualified applicants will be selected for the Master’s/Ph.D. Track. The Track is both an indication of your intent to continue to the Ph.D. program at ERG, and ERG’s expectation that you will to be qualified to continue to doctoral work after satisfying the Master’s Degree requirements. It does not obligate you, or ERG, to your eventual matriculation to the Ph.D. Candidates admitted into the joint Master’s/Ph.D. track will be expected to complete all the requirements of the ERG Master’s Degree before continuing. Candidates for admission to the Master’s program whose ultimate goal is to continue on for a Ph.D. at ERG should select either the MA or MS degree application and select the Master/s Ph.D. Track checkbox. Other Master’s students may apply to the Ph.D. program upon successful completion of the two-year Master’s program.
Admission to the Concurrent ERG Master’s/Public Policy Degree Program
MPP/MA or MPP/MS
The Energy and Resources Group (ERG) and the The Goldman School of Public Policy (GSPP) offer a MPP-ERG (MA or MS) concurrent degree program that integrates the strengths of public policy analytical tools with the interdisciplinary knowledge and expertise in energy and resources. Students complete both programs in three years and receive a Master’s of Public Policy (MPP) as well as a Master’s Degree in Energy and Resources (MA or MS).
Applicants submit one application that is reviewed by the two programs independently. The online application form is available here. Applicants may be offered admission to one of the programs or to both concurrently. Funding may come from either or both programs.
Admission to the Ph.D. Program
Students admitted directly to the Ph.D. program must have a two-year Master’s Degree from a fully accredited U.S. institution of higher learning or foreign equivalent. They also must be able to demonstrate a highly interdisciplinary academic background, either through a combination of Bachelor’s and Master’s degree coursework, or an interdisciplinary Master’s program equivalent in breadth and depth to the ERG Master’s program. Doctoral students must also demonstrate their readiness for independent research with no additional foundational work required.
Applications from students with one-year Master’s degrees, or with single-discipline professional degrees (e.g., law, public health) will usually be redirected to the ERG Master’s program for consideration.
How to Apply to ERG
Application to ERG opens the first week of September, and closes the first Friday in December. We admit students only in the fall term. Letters of Recommendation and final transcripts will be accepted after the initial deadline, until the first Friday in January. You must apply to ERG and electronically upload all supporting documents using the appropriate UC Berkeley Graduate School online application here. Paper applications will not be accepted.
All applications are reviewed by an anonymous Admissions Committee composed of members of ERG core faculty, selected students, and faculty affiliates. Final recommendations for admissions are made by ERG core faculty to the Graduate Division of UC Berkeley. Admissions notifications will be sent to applicants by March 1. Funding and fellowship packages may be presented separately from admissions offers.
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Recommended Preparation for Study at ERG
We highly recommend at least one term of college-level calculus and courses in fundamental science (physics, chemistry, biology, etc.), as well as four or more upper-division social science (political science, sociology, anthropology, etc.) and humanities courses.
Please also see the Graduate Division website at for details on the minimum campus-wide requirements for admission to U.C. Berkeley graduate programs. Details on the requirements specific to international applicants can be found there as well.
1. Statement of Purpose and Personal History Statement
ERG places considerable weight the Statement of Purpose and the Personal History Statement. We prefer statements that are 500‑1000 words each.
- The Statement of Purpose (SOP) is a forward-looking statement. A good SOP demonstrates that you can think critically and deeply about topics that are relevant to your intended area of study. You should discuss your prior experiences here, but in the context of how those experiences serve your future goals. One model for writing the SOP is to map out a problem space, convey knowledge about relevant existing efforts, and provide a vision for making an impact. But there is no “right” way to write the SOP; ultimately, we are looking for things like creativity, maturity, and critical thinking. If you are applying for admission direct to the Ph.D., your SOP might include a refined set of methods you would like to study and questions you would like to pursue in your dissertation.
- The Personal History Statement (PHS) is a retrospective statement. A good PHS is introspective, helps us to understand how your experiences motivate you to go to graduate school. The PHS can also be a place to demonstrate leadership skills, obstacles overcome, and self-motivation. Use the PHS to give us perspective that we can’t get from reading the other parts of your application.
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 recommendation, and will accept up to five. You are welcome to use recommenders from your professional as well as your academic career. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. Contacting Faculty
At ERG, students are admitted to the program as a whole, and not under the auspices of any particular faculty member. You do not need to identify or solicit endorsement from a faculty member who will support your research financially or academically. It is not necessary or recommended to contact the Chair or any member of the ERG faculty in order to submit an application. It is, however, helpful to include names of professors whose interests are aligned with yours.
7. Admissions Guidance
If you have questions about the application process or the program, please contact the Graduate Student Affairs Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Matriculation from the Master’s of Master’s/Ph.D. Track to Ph.D.
Students who begin on the Master’s/ Ph.D. Track, as well as those who are admitted to the two-year Master’s Degree program, will have an opportunity to declare their interest in continuing to the Ph.D. during the third semester of the two-year Master’s program.
To officially matriculate into the Ph.D. program, all Master’s Degree students must meet the following criteria: (1) they must meet all the requirements of the Master’s Degree program and (2) they must have a letter from one ladder-rank faculty member in the ERG core or affiliate pool that indicates a commitment to serve as the student’s Ph.D. advisor and an assessment of the types of projects the student could work on during Ph.D. studies. If the student does not meet these criteria he or she will be given the opportunity to finish any additional course work, if necessary, to complete the requirements of the Master’s Degree, but will not matriculate to the Ph.D. program.