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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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 Undergraduate Minor Faculty Advisor:
Assistant Professor, Energy and Resources Group