Combine science with public policy to study environmental and energy concerns and propose new solutions.

Providing society with affordable and reliable energy, while limiting its negative social and environmental impacts, is one of the great global challenges of the 21st century. The Harris Energy and Environmental Policy Certificate is designed to provide students with the background, concepts, and tools necessary to understand and address pressing energy and environmental policy problems.

Students who complete this certificate will be able to:

  • Understand the scientific, economic, political, and regulatory forces that govern the production and consumption of both renewable and non-renewable energy resources
  • Articulate when private markets and private property are likely or unlikely to safeguard environmental quality on their own
  • Analyze the efficacy of environmental policies such as pollution taxation, emissions standards, renewable subsidies and portfolio standards, technology standards, innovation subsidies, emission permit markets, conservation programs, and behavioral interventions.

The certificate's menu of electives is designed to allow students to explore the multiple disciplines and fields that speak to the global energy and environmental challenge, such as industrial organization and regulation, environmental science, international development, public finance, political economy, behavioral science, and program evaluation. In addition, we encourage students pursuing this certificate to participate in events sponsored by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) and the student organization, Harris Energy and Environmental Association (HEEA) that bring industry and government practitioners to campus.

Application Process

The certificate is open to any University of Chicago graduate student. Harris students please indicate your intent to pursue this certificate using the Harris Certificate Application Form during the application period open in October and June of each academic year. If you are a non-Harris student and intend to complete the requirements for the Energy and Environmental Policy certificate please submit the Harris Certificate Application for Non-Harris Students to indicate you are pursuing this certificate. 

Planning for the Certificate

For information on which quarter(s) each course will be offered see the Harris Courses page and filter by certificate. For courses offered by other divisions the typical quarter a class is offered varies.

Certificate Requirements

The certificate requires completion of two required courses, along with two additional courses (four courses total). Students must achieve at least a B- grade in each course, and there is no pass/fail option, with the exception of PPHA 39519: Energy Law and Policy. The courses do not need to be taken in a particular order. Students should contact their advisor to indicate their intention to pursue the certificate.

Required courses

Students must complete two of the following courses:

  • PPHA 30810: Political Economy of Natural Resources (not offered in 2020-2021)
  • PPHA 36930: Environmental Economics: Theory and Applications (not offered in 2020-2021)
  • PPHA 38900: Environmental Science and Policy
  • PPHA 39925: Energy Policy and Human Behavior
  • PPHA 39930: International Climate Policy
  • PPHA 41210: Physics and Technology for Future Policy Wonks

Elective courses

In addition to courses from the core list above, students must complete enough of the below courses in order to complete four total courses in the certificate:

  • PPHA 32750: Hydropolitics: Water Policy and Conflict
  • PPHA 33510: Nuclear Policy 
  • PPHA 34600: Program Evaluation (Energy and Environment Applications) 
  • PPHA 36921: Energy Economics and Policy
  • PPHA 36922: Energy in the Developing World
  • PPHA 39519: Energy Law and Policy 
  • PPHA 51700: Energy Policy Practicum
  • PPHA 60000: Policy Labs (Energy and Environment Policy Lab)
  • ENSC 24400 / BIOS 20196: Ecology and Conservation
  • GEOS 24705 / ENSC 21100: Energy: Science, Technology, and Human Usage
  • GEOS 24750 / ENSC 21150: Humans in the Earth System
  • GEOS 13300 / ENSC 13300: The Atmosphere