Master’s Degree in Energy and Resources

The pur­pose of the ERG Master’s pro­gram is to edu­cate the next gen­er­a­tion of inter­dis­ci­pli­nary lead­ers. 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 PhD in Energy and Resources.

Click here for more information on the Master’s Degree Curriculum Requirements (MA or MS).

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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.

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ERG Concurrent Degree Programs (MPP/MA or MMP/MS)

The Energy and Resources Group (ERG) and 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).

Click for more details on the concurrent degree program.

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Matriculation from the Master’s or 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 PhD 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.

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Ph.D. Degree in Energy and Resources

The admission require­ment for the PhD is that the total­ity of the student’s course­work after the Bachelor’s degree, includ­ing courses taken at other uni­ver­si­ties and inside and out­side of ERG at Berke­ley, must meet the sub­stan­tive and unit require­ments for the ERG MA or MS degree.

There is no for­mal lan­guage require­ment for the PhD degree. How­ever, those stu­dents con­duct­ing research in a non-English speak­ing coun­try must demon­strate com­pe­tency in the lan­guage of the country.

After the doc­toral stu­dent and his or her 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 attack­ing it. This exam, called the 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.

This exam­i­na­tion should be taken at least one year before the expected com­ple­tion of the dis­ser­ta­tion. The final require­ment for the PhD is com­ple­tion of the dis­ser­ta­tion to the sat­is­fac­tion of a com­mit­tee con­sist­ing of three fac­ulty advisors/readers cho­sen by the stu­dent, sub­ject to approval by the Grad­u­ate Dean. The PhD degree in Energy and Resources is typ­i­cally com­pleted three to five years beyond the Master’s degree.

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Undergraduate Minor in Energy and Resources

*Interested in earning an Energy and Resources minor over the summer? Find more information about the Summer-Only Minor and Certificate in Sustainability here.*

The Minor in Energy and Resources offers under­grad­u­ates the oppor­tu­nity to develop basic knowl­edge and skills to help them address the com­plex and inter­de­pen­dent issues asso­ci­ated with the inter­ac­tion of social, eco­nomic, polit­i­cal, tech­ni­cal, and envi­ron­men­tal fac­tors. Though it is designed pri­mar­ily to com­ple­ment majors in the nat­ural sci­ences and engi­neer­ing, stu­dents in any major with the appro­pri­ate pre­req­ui­sites may pur­sue the ERG Minor.

The Energy and Resources Group (ERG) is an academic unit within the College of Natural Resources (CNR) at the University of California, Berkeley.  Our vision is a future in which the twin goals of human well-being and a healthy environment are mutually and sustainably satisfied. ERG’s mission is to develop and transmit the critical knowledge needed to make such a future possible. We view society and the environment as an inextricably coupled system. ERG research, therefore, emphasizes (1) science-based knowledge of the environmental consequences of resource use; (2) analytical tools that promote efficiency, conservation, affordability and equity in energy and resource use patterns; and (3) a deep understanding of the social and institutional contexts in which resource and environmental problems arise, and in which creative and ethical solutions can be sustained. It is this synthesis of basic science, practical problem-solving and constructive social critique that defines ERG.

ERG provides a dynamic academic environment in which students, core faculty, and affiliate faculty members communicate and collaborate freely and actively. This rich and diverse network of scholarship is represented in ERG’s broad research themes (Technology, Development and Society; Consumption, Resource Use and Equity; Global Change Science; Governance Challenges; and Ecological Economics), and is reflected in its curricular offerings. Most of these themes are not “fields” as defined by traditional academic departments. They have emerged through ERG’s integrative approach to research, and through applying our research to energy and resource problems at home and abroad.

A structured approach to studies of energy and resources has two advantages: (1) Students receive guidance in selecting a coherent set of courses that can be tailored to their particular interests. (2) An officially recognized “minor” in energy and resources is of strategic importance when seeking jobs in the burgeoning areas of environmental science and policy.

Based on a six-course set of prerequisites in mathematics and natural sciences, the minor is satisfied by completing five upper division courses, including two core courses and three electives. AP, IB, and GCE credit may be applied toward lower division prerequisites.The great challenge of an interdisciplinary but rigorous education lies in training the student to use and to integrate multiple research methods. The core courses provide students with an introduction to interdisciplinary analysis, and to integrating tools and methods from different disciplines such as economics and ecology. They also cover key energy and resource issues. The electives allow further exploration of these concepts. The electives must be taken from the list approved by the ERG faculty or with permission by the appropriate ERG faculty as listed in the ERG Minor Detailed Guidelines and Course Information.

The Energy and Resources Group is responsible for monitoring the minor program and will designate one faculty member as The Undergraduate Faculty Advisor. It is The Undergraduate Staff Advisor who will be charged with certifying completion of the minor.  All core faculty members will participate in advising students in the minor, just as they do graduate students.

At the time that the student completes the minor program, the Energy and Resources Group will notify the Office of the Registrar. Completion of the minor program will be noted in the memorandum section of the student’s transcript of Berkeley work.

In this video, former student and Cal rugby player James Kondrat discusses what he loved about Energy and Society, a key course in the ERG minor. (Via the CNR Minor in Energy and Resources webpage)


If you are interested in pursuing the minor:

  1. Complete the “Intent to Declare ERG Minor” form by the end of the fifth week of classes in the semester in which you begin the upper division ERG minor coursework.
  2. Submit the “Minor Completion Form” within the last two (2) weeks of instruction in the semester you intend to graduate to the ERG staff advisor in 260 Mulford Hall.

ERG Minor Snapshot
Exams and Transfer Credit Information

For more information, contact:
Ryann Madden
Academic Advisor – College of Natural Resources

ERG Undergraduate Minor Faculty Advisor:
Lara Kueppers
Assistant Professor, Energy and Resources Group

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