The Energy and Resources Group – graduate degrees that make a difference
The Energy and Resources Group (ERG) trains interdisciplinary leaders and thinkers who are defining and solving the systemic, social, environmental, and technological challenges facing the world. ERG grants academic Master’s degrees (M.A. and M.S.) and Ph.D. degrees, as well as joint Master’s degrees with Goldman School of Public Policy (M.P.P.) or the Berkeley School of Law (J.D.).
The Energy and Resources Group was founded in 1973 at the University of California, Berkeley, as one of the first interdisciplinary graduate degree programs in academia. This innovative approach was highly effective, and the interdisciplinary environmental graduate program model can now be found at places such as Duke’s Nicholas School for the Environment (founded 1991) and Stanford University’s Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources (IPER, founded 2001). ERG has faculty, lab groups, and courses in four disciplines: energy engineering, climate change economics, environmental science, and social science / environmental justice. With these four pillars ERG graduate students gain a holistic and practical perspective that informs their research, and makes them leaders in the mission for a sustainable environment and a just society.
The information below provides an overview of the process of applying to ERG. Please read through and contact us at email@example.com if you have additional questions.
Applications for Fall 2024 are due December 4, 2023.
Journeys to ERG
Energy and Resources Group graduate students have diverse life experiences and perspectives. In this roundtable discussion, three ERG Masters and PhD students and Professor Meg Mills-Novoa discuss how they came to ERG, how they support their education, and how the community embraces ERG’s mission of a sustainable environment and a just society.
You can find recordings of prospective student information sessions below.
Professors Meg Mills-Novoa and Daniel Kammen
Professors Duncan Callaway, Isha Ray and Lara Kueppers
Professors Youjin Chung, Andrew Jones and David Anthoff
ERG’s applicant mentorship program is a student-run program connecting prospective Master’s and PhD applicants with current graduate students. Graduate student mentors can give advice on essays, answer questions about the curriculum, and provide general guidance throughout the application process. This program is aimed at addressing the historic barriers that students from underrepresented and/or non-traditional academic backgrounds face in applying to graduate school. If you have an identity that is underrepresented (URM, low-income, first-generation, parent, etc.) we strongly encourage you to note that in this interest form, as we will better be able to serve your needs. Those interested in taking part in the mentorship program should submit a mentorship interest form here. Mentor pairings are assigned on a rolling basis as forms are submitted and mentors become available. Please expect at least a 1-2 week turnaround between interest form submission and mentor pairing. The last day to submit an interest form is October 31, 2023. There will be an ERG panel in October, and we will email all interested applicants to provide the zoom information. Please note: ERG’s applicant mentorship program is entirely independent of the Admission Committee. Though the program is intended to support students during the application process, participation in the program will have no direct bearing on any admission decision.
Check out our other resources for underrepresented students including those who are undocumented, first-generation college students, and those who are educationally and financially challenged: Office for Graduate Diversity.
The Energy and Resources Group seeks students who have excelled academically, whatever their discipline; who show an ability to cross disciplinary boundaries; and who not only want to understand problems of energy, resources, and environment but to help solve them. Successful applicants will demonstrate engagement with the issues surrounding energy and environment and strong potential as future leaders. 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.
The minimum requirement for admission to ERG is completion of a Bachelor’s Degree or its equivalent at a fully accredited U.S. institution of higher learning or international equivalent.
Those admitted to the program typically have strong academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, and often, related publications. ERG has a strong preference for applicants who have had at least two years of work experience in the field. This may include paid employment, volunteer experience, and field or lab research experience.
Because the program is fundamentally interdisciplinary, there are no other formal requirements for consideration. ERG admits students from a range of backgrounds and there is no single profile of an ERG student. However, ERG is a highly competitive and rigorous program; approximately 20 out of 350 applicants are admitted each year.
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, gender equity, inclusion, and justice, visit our Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion page.
The Graduate Division oversees all Berkeley graduate programs and enforces campus-wide requirements. Visit the Graduate Division website for more information on admission requirements.
International applicants will find useful advice about student visas, requirements, and support at the Berkeley International Office (BIO).
Application to ERG typically opens in September and closes in the beginning of December. We admit students only in the fall term. You must apply to ERG and electronically upload all supporting documents using the appropriate UC Berkeley Graduate School online application. Paper applications will not be accepted.
All applications are reviewed by an Admissions Committee composed of members of ERG faculty and selected students. 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.
Applying to Berkeley for grad school requires an application fee of $135 if you are a US citizen or US permanent resident, and $155 otherwise. US citizens, US permanent residents, and AB540 students can apply to waive this application fee if (i) they demonstrate financial need or (ii) they have taken part in specific programs that qualify for a fee waiver. Financial need is determined by either (i) Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) on your Student Aid Report; or (ii) by the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) on your tax return. For full details, please see https://grad.berkeley.edu/admissions/apply/fee-waiver/.
If you have questions about the application process or requirements, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information is available in the ERG application FAQs.
For helpful tips on applying to ERG from ERG students, please see this Life at ERG blog post.
ERG does not accept applications after the December deadline unless extenuating circumstances are justified by a faculty member. If you have extenuating circumstances, please contact the faculty member with whom you’re interested in working.
Please Note: Late test scores for TOEFL and IELTS submitted after the application deadline will not be accepted. However, we will accept self-reported scores until the final score report can be verified. Please self-report your unofficial score results on your application by the deadline.
Statement of Purpose and Personal History Statement
ERG places considerable weight on the Statement of Purpose and the Personal History Statement. Statements should be approximately one to two pages in length each, double-spaced, 10-12 point font.
The Statement of Purpose (SOP) is a forward-looking essay about your goals and how you see ERG’s program fitting in those goals. 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. Do not use the PHS to re-state your resume in narrative form.
Transcripts should be uploaded to your application as PDF files. 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 Monday, January 3, 2021; please email these to email@example.com.
Letters of Recommendation should be submitted by your recommender by the deadline. 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.
On your application, you will find a section that asks you to list the name, institution, 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 check if the letters from your recommenders have been uploaded; you will have the option to electronically send reminders.
It is strongly preferred that recommenders use the online link to submit their letters. If your recommender has difficulty using the online portal, please have them contact firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
Resume/Curriculum Vitae: A current CV including relevant experience is required. ERG values experience in the field, whether through paid employment, laboratory or other research experience, or relevant volunteer experience.
GRE Test Scores (*NEW POLICY*): GRE test scores are no longer required and will not be accepted or considered.
Language Proficiency Test Scores: 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, request the scores be sent to the UC Berkeley Graduate Division institutional code 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, and conditions for test waivers, please refer to the Graduate Division language proficiency requirements.
Optional supporting materials: sample of written work (published or unpublished); list of publications and presentations, honors and awards; links to websites or blogs on which you are the primary author; list of fellowships and grants awarded.
The ERG faculty are all top leaders and thinkers in their field, and are drawn from a wide range of backgrounds, from Physics and Biological Sciences, to Economics and Sociology. What unites them is a commitment to rigorous interdisciplinary methodology.
ERG has a small group of Core Faculty and a much larger group of Affiliate Faculty drawn from other UC Berkeley departments. Faculty and students also collaborate with professors and researchers across the Berkeley campus, as well as with researchers, public leaders, and institutions across the globe.
All students at ERG are admitted to the Group, and are not at the outset permanently committed to any single faculty member. This allows our students to define their own research goals and to seek opportunities to work with the many world-class faculty across the Berkeley campus.
You do not need, and are not encouraged, to solicit endorsement from a faculty member who might support your research financially or academically. There is a section on the application where you can identify faculty with whom you are interested in working, and why.
When admitted, ERG students will be assigned one advisor within the ERG core faculty. However as students evolve, many will establish collaborations with additional advisors in other UC Berkeley departments, at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, or at another university. These external faculty advisors may provide funding for the student, sit on doctoral committees, Master’s Capstone Projects, or provide other intellectual guidance.
Ph.D. students will identify and work closely with a chair and small committee of faculty on their Qualifying Examination preparation as well as their Dissertation. Many (but not all) ERG Ph.D. students are funded by research grants held by their Dissertation Chair.
Master’s students will solicit two faculty readers for their Master’s Capstone Project, submitted in their final (fourth) semester. One of these readers must be an ERG faculty member. Master’s students may in some cases also be funded by their faculty advisors.