Energy Studies


images of guest speakers

The following links contain information about the curriculum and enrollment:


Energy Studies was approved as a new Interdisciplinary Certificate program by the Yale College Faculty at its meeting on February 2, 2023.

Submitting an application to enroll in the program is no longer required. Students can declare their candidacy to complete the Energy Studies Interdisiplinary Certificate by filling out a form on the Registrar’s Office website (HERE). Completing the form will register a student in Energy Studies with Yale College, generate an email to the program director, and put Energy Studies into the student’s Degree Audit.

The course requirments for the Energy Studies certificate remain unchanged: Six courses from an approved list, with two courses in each of the three tracks of Energy Studies (see Requirements for more details).

A capstone project is no longer required, but students still have the option of completing an energy-related project in the Energy Studies senior seminar, ENRG 400.

More than 50 students from the Class of 2025 have enrolled in the Energy Studies Interdisciplinary Certificate.

  • The new Energy Studies brochure for the 2022-23 Academic Year is HERE.
  • Yale Energy Studies Student and Alumni group on LinkedIn is HERE.
  • A  list of courses approved for credit in Energy Studies for the 2022-23 Academic Year is available here: COURSES.
  • Two Energy Studies seminars, ENRG 300 (F22), Multidisciplinary Topics in World Energy, and ENRG 400 (S23), Senior Capstone Seminar, will be offered in the 2022-23 Academic Year. ENRG 300 examines a series of international, regional, and local topics related to the world’s energy transition. ENRG 400 is a convenient vehicle for seniors to complete their capstone projects in a credited Yale College Course. The seminar also features guest lectures from energy and climate experts around the world. Both courses can be found on Yale Course Search.
  • For students interested in an early start on post-graduate internships and fellowships, US Department of Energy announced a new program last spring called Clean Energy Innovator Fellowship, which funds recent graduates and energy professionals to work with critical energy organizations to advance clean energy solutions.
  • A new upper level course, ENRG 320/MENG 320/ENVE 320, Energy, Engines, and Climate, was added to the ENRG classification last year in collaboration with Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science and will continue to be offered in the 2022-23 Academic Year.  Consult Yale Course Search for further information.
  • Energy Studies graduated 33 new Yale Energy Scholars in the Class of 2022, the program’s second largest cohort since its launch in the 2013-14 Academic Year. A total of 245 students representing 36 different majors at Yale have now completed the multidisciplinary academic program. A list of the majors and capstone projects of the Class of 2022 is below. A slideshow highlighting their work can be found HERE.
  • Energy Studies graduated 21 students as Yale Energy Scholars in the Class of 2021, bringing the total number of Energy Studies Alumni since the program started in the 2013-14 Academic Year to well over 200. A list of graduates in the Class of 2021 and their capstone projects can be found below. A slideshow highlighting their accomplishments is HERE. (Another ~20 students from the original Class of 2021 have delayed graduation to the Spring 2022 term.)
  • Energy Studies graduated 41 students as Yale Energy Scholars in the Class of 2020, the program’s largest cohort since its founding in the 2013-14 Academic Year. The group set high marks for the number of degrees awarded (46, counting double majors), the number of different departmental majors (19), and the number of Energy Studies courses taken (nearly 400). Energy Studies scholars in the Class of 2020 received 11 Academic Prizes at Commencement. 
  • The World Economic Forum website ( features an updated version of the Climate Change Transformation Map, curated in partnership with Yale through Energy Studies. A team of Energy Studies scholars assembled the information and wrote the text for the map with help from Yale faculty and staff. The WEF website has more than 100 transformation maps on critical topics for the 21st century. 
  • The faculty advisory committee for Energy Studies for the 2022-23 Academic Year is: Gary Brudvig (Chemistry; Energy Sciences Institute), Virginia Chapman (Office of Sustainability), Michael Fotos (Political Science; DUS, Environmental Studies), Ken Gillingham (F&ES, Economics, School of Management), Cary Krosinsky (School of Management), Julia Nojeim (Clean Energy Coordinator, CBEY); Michael Oristaglio (EPS; director, Energy Studies), Julie Paquette (Director of Energy Management), Daniel Prober (Applied Physics, DUS), Paul Sabin (History), Mary-Louise Timmermans (EPS). All are available for consultation and advice about the program. 
  • Student representatives on the faculty advisory committee for the 2021-22 Academic Year are: Eliza Poggi ‘23 (Earth & Planetary Sciences), and Sena Sugiono ‘24+.
  • Office hours are by appointment. Email
Congratulations to the Energy Studies Class of 2022, and to their families, for their perserverance and tenacity during a extraordinary time! Here is a list of the graduates, their majors, and their remarkable and diverse collection of capstone projects.
  • Michael Adeyi (Chemical Engineering), Silver-Doped Hematite Nanosheet Catalyst for Oxidation of Methane to Methanol

  • Daniel Bacheschi (Electrical Engineering), Electrical Discharge Machining in Wind Generator Systems: A Review of Origins, Detection, and Proposed Solutions

  • Rachel Chang (Environmental  Studies; Political Science), Building a circular economy: plastics recycling in the United States

  • Taylor Chapman (Electrical Engineering), Smart Grid Innovation and Planning: An Internship at AVANGRID

  • Lauren Delgado (Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry), Syngas Fermentation by Acetogens via the Wood-Ljungdahl Pathway for Biorefinery

  • Lia Eggleston (Computer Science), Public Safety Analyses for Electric Operations at Con Edison: Report on an Internship

  • Freddie Elwes (Computer Science), Insight into an Investment Banking Internship in the Energy Sector

  • Chris Fake (Engineering Science-Chemical), Report on a twelve month internship at D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments

  • Ben Gibbs (Chemical Engineering), Electrochromism for Energy Conservation

  • Harrison Gill (Statistics & Data Science), An analysis of the impact of forest fires in Yosemite Valley water systems

  • Megan He (Environmental Engineering; Global Affairs), Airborne observations of “missing” reactive organic gas-phase emissions from oil sands operations

  • Sophie Isom (Engineering Science-Environmental), Building a World that Works? The Role of GE Gas Power and its Turbines in the Energy Transition

  • Sarah King (Environmental  Studies), The Future is Floating: A comparison of direct emissions associated with fixed-bottom and floating offshore wind farms

  • Sophie Lai (Earth & Planetary Sciences; Economics), The Carbonation of Serpentinites in the Orange-Milford Belt, Connecticut, USA

  • Linh Manh Le (Chemical Engineering), Lowering Energy Costs through Smart Filtration: An Internship at Phuc Labs, Inc.

  • Abigail Long (East Asian Studies), Illegal Rare Earth Element Mining: Southern China and Myanmar

  • Danielle Losos (Environmental  Studies), Weather satellites for wildfire tracking: Mapping burned area in near-real time using geostationary satellite data

  • Diego Meucci (Environmental  Studies), A Techno-Economic Analysis of Grid Enhancing Technologies: the Path Forward for America’s Energy Infrastructure

  • Liam Muldoon (Economics; History), Operation Bootstrap: Industrial Conquest and U.S. Colonial Expansion in Puerto Rico, 1930-1980: Focus on Energy Infrastructure

  • Wanjiku Mwangi (Engineering Science-Environmental; African Studies), Evaluating the potential of abandoned coal mine methane development in South Africa

  • Wyatt Nabatoff (Engineering Science-Mechanical), Biden Goes Nuclear: An SMR moonshot project for the United States and the world to achieve a zero-carbon future

  • Beatrice Pickett (Environmental  Studies; Political Science), Marine Renewable Energy in Oregon

  • Jack Pleasants (Political Science), The Waymaker: A Breakthrough Strategy to Tackle Climate Change

  • Alexandra Saczawa (Engineering Science-Chemical), Bipolar Membrane Assisted Electrosorption for Boron Removal and Recovery

  • Andrew Song (Global Affairs), Analysis of the Market and of Grid Capacity and Resilience for EV Charging in the U.S.

  • Will Strauch (Earth & Planetary Sciences), Nuclear Fusion: A Primer

  • Nico Trigo (Economics), The Tides Are Turning: If & How to Navigate the Climate Tech Wave: A White Paper on Climate-Tech Investing

  • Alex Urbahn (Economics), Energy Storage in the United States: Trends and Investment Opportunities

  • Quoc Trinh Elizabeth Van Ha (Ecology & Evolutionary Biology), A dammed existence: the Ranganadi Dam’s impact on the reshaping of riverine communities of the fisher and the fished

  • Paulina Wells (Environmental Engineering), Development of geothermal district heating systems in the United States

  • Alex Wynn (Environmental  Studies), Carbon Dioxide Emissions Caused by Electricity Usage in Healthcare: Case Studies of the Yale New Haven Health System

  • Hannah Yi (Architecture), Desert Shores Hot Spring Spa (Salton Sea): Design for Sustainability

  • Raymond Zhao (Earth & Planetary Sciences), Photovoltaic (PV) Solar Panel Identification and Fault Detection Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs): A Case Study of a 0.5 MW PV System


Energy Studies is an Interdisciplinary Certificate program in Yale College. The curriculum is designed to provide selected undergraduates with the knowledge and skills needed for advanced studies, leadership, and success in energy-related fields. Energy Studies scholars must also complete the requirements of a Yale College major, since Yale does not offer a major in Energy Studies. 

Study of the world of energy takes many forms. Think about your home. Where does the energy come from to turn on the lights and to charge your mobile phoneor to heat the space or cool it, when needed? Answers to these questions involve the science & technology of energy. Today, despite all the progress of the last twenty years in renewable energy sources like wind and solar energy, about 80% of the world’s primary energy still comes from fossil fuels—coal, oil, and natural gas. That number, which comes as a surprise to many, highlights the challenge of a rapid transition to renewable energy. What new technologies, new breakthroughs, can speed up the move away from fossil fuels?

Many students will be interested in the environmental impacts of energy use, especially air and water pollution and climate change. We now know that burning fossil fuels is the main driver of accelerated climate change and that to avoid its potentially catastrophic consequences—extreme storms, droughts, floods, heat waves, and wildfires—the world needs to reduce man-made greenhouse gas emissions, especially carbon-dioxide emissions from fossil fuels, to zero within the next three decades. Are there realistic pathways to a “Net Zero” energy economy by the year 2050? What are the consequences if the Net Zero target is missed? Can carbon dioxide be removed from the atmosphere artificially? Can climate be “geoengineered” to avoid excessive warming?

Other students will be interested in energy’s social and economic impacts. Moving away from fossil fuels will be hard enough on its own, but more difficult still is making this transition while providing modern energy services to the hundreds of millions of people around the world who now lack them. This is the challenge of Energy Equity and Environmental Justice: Nearly 500 million people today have no access to electricity; 2.5 billion have no access to modern energy for cooking or heating. Moreover, much of today’s dirtiest energy infrastructure is located near marginalized communities. What social and economic changes are needed to provide “Affordable and Clean Energy for All,” one of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals?

The three aspects of energy just described form the three multidisciplinary tracks of Energy Studies: (Track 1) Energy Science & Technology, (Track 2) Energy & Environment, (Track 3) Energy & Society. Students in the program take at least 2 courses in each of the 3 tracks. One of the six courses should normally include the Energy Studies seminar, Topics in World Energy (ENRG 300), which can be taken during junior or senior year (exceptions can be granted by the Certificate Director). Students also have the option (not requirement) of doing a capstone project in senior year in the Energy Studies senior seminar (ENRG 400). 

Two of the courses taken for Energy Studies can count toward the requirements of the student’s major. One of the six courses counting for Energy Studies can be taken Pass/Fail or Credit/D/Fail.

Students can declare their candidacy to complete the Energy Studies Interdisiplinary Certificate by filling out a form on the Registrar’s Office website (HERE). Submitting an application to the program is no longer required. Completing the form will register a student in Energy Studies with Yale College, generate an email to the program, and put Energy Studies into the student’s Degree Audit.

Graduates of the program are invited to join the Yale Alumni in Energy organization.


Yale Climate & Energy Institute (2009-16) launched the Energy Studies Undergraduate Scholars program in the fall of 2013 for a five-year trial period, with a curriculum encouraging undergraduates to explore the links between modern energy use and climate change. More than one hundred students completed the program’s requirements during its first five years, with nearly all going on to careers in energy-related fields. In May 2018, the Yale Faculty of Arts & Sciences voted to continue Energy Studies as a Multidisciplinary Academic Program (MAP) for another five-year term. Thirty-three graduates in the Class of 2022 completed the program’s requirements, bringing the total number of Yale Energy Scholars to 245. More than 70 rising juniors and seniors are enrolled in the curriculum for the 2022-23 academic year. 

The laws expressing the relations between energy and matter are not soley of importance in pure science. They necessarily come first…in the world record of human experience, and they control, in the last resort, the rise or fall of political systems, the freedom or bondage of nations, the movements of commerce and industry, the origin of wealth and poverty and…general physical welfare. 
— Frederick Soddy, Matter and Energy, 1912 (Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1921)

It is fashionable to denigrate the achievements of modern industrial society [based on an abundance of energy] and compare them unfavourably with the imagined virtues of a simpler past…Of course they have not brought universal happiness. But it is silly to maintain that they have not freed many people from a great deal of pain and misery. The most serious objection to them is their exclusiveness. They have been confined to too few people. The challenge to democracy is to retain as much as possible of these good things while managing the great changes required in adjusting to a lower-energy way of life. If it fails, then the collapse into an authoritarianism of either the political right or left seems inevitable.
— Gerald Foley, The Energy Question, 1976

Designing effective measures to slow or prevent climate change requires understanding not only the physical laws that carbon dioxide obeys, but also the more fluid laws of politics and economics.
— William Nordhaus, The Climate Casino, 2015 (Nobel Prize in Economics, 2018)