Mar 22, 2023  
2019-2020 Graduate Catalog 
2019-2020 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Energy and Environmental Policy (PhD)

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The PhD degree in Energy and Environmental Policy is a research degree intended to advance interdisciplinary theory and analysis on society-environment-resource relationships and to improve the quality of research informing policy decisions in this field. Graduates of the PhD program are prepared to assume positions in academic, research and policy institutions and to provide leadership on questions of theory, analysis and research in the field. Prior completion of a master’s degree in a related field is required for admission to the doctoral program.

Students may choose among six specialty areas offered through the PhD program: Energy Sustainability, Water Sustainability, Environmental Justice, Political Ecology, Global Environments, and Sustainable Development. All PhD students complete a 21-credit core course curriculum. This includes six credits of advanced theory, six credits of methodological course work, a six-credit social science requirement, and three credits in science, engineering and public policy. In addition, students in the PhD normally take 15 credit hours in their area of concentration or specialization, including the 3-credit Doctoral Dissertation Proposal, and enroll for 9 credits of doctoral dissertation. All PhD students must successfully pass a Qualifying Examination administered at the end of the first year of doctoral study.

In the first year, students complete two 3-credit seminars in advanced theory. In addition, during the first year students fulfill a social science requirement by completing two courses selected from a list of 45 graduate courses ranging from environmental ethics to electricity policy and planning. Students also complete a 3-credit science, engineering and public policy requirement. Or students may substitute a 3-credit graduate course (including a tutorial course) in a natural science- or engineering-related topic to meet the science, engineering and public policy requirement.

Qualifying Examinations in Theory, Methodology and Policy Analysis are conducted in June and also during the Winter Term. Students who have completed all first-year required courses take the next available Qualifying Examination. The examination emphasizes the interconnected nature of theory, methods and policy analysis and serves as a diagnostic of the student’s preparedness to develop doctoral-level, interdisciplinary research advancing the field of energy and environmental policy.

The second year of the PhD program is devoted to course work that prepares the student to conduct doctoral-level research in their intended area of research concentration or specialization. Students are responsible, in consultation with their Guidance Committee, for selection of an area of research concentration or specialization (15 credit hours). Upon approval of the doctoral dissertation proposal, the student is admitted to doctoral candidacy and begins work on a dissertation.


*Students in the ENEP PhD program must take 1 credit of professional development each semester until they complete three credits or defend their dissertation proposal. Students are exepcted to enroll for zero credits each semester after proposal defense until the degree is completed.

Science, Engineering and Public Policy Requirement:

Students complete the science, engineering and public policy requirement by choosing a 3 credit graduate course (including a tutorial course with a number such as 666, 868 or 870) in a natural science or engineering related topic to meet the science, engineering and public policy requirement. The course must be taken with a member of the University’s science or engineering faculty and should be linked to the student’s research interest.


Students are expected to take 12 credits in preparation for completing their dissertation. Three of the twelve will; include the 3-credit Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Course (SPPA 863 ). 

This will prepare students for their doctoral level research.  Concentrations include Energy Sustainability, Water Sustainability, Environmental Justice, Political Ecology, Global Environments, and Sustainable Development.   

Students must have areas of concentration approved by their PhD Advisor and their Guidance Committee.  If students meet the requirements of one of these concentrations, their transcript will formally indicate that the degree is awarded in this concentration. 

Alternatively, students may elect to specialize in other areas.  Areas of specialization must be approved by the student’s faculty advisor and do not appear on a student’s transcript.


Last Revised 2018-2019 Academic Year

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