Energy Studies

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ANNOUNCEMENTS — SPRING TERM  2018

  • Welcome back! The Spring Term reception for Energy Studies was held on Tuesday, January 23, 6 to 7 p.m., in Kline Geology Lab.  Slides from the orientation for new students in Energy Studies are posted below.
  • The first Energy Studies dinner of the Spring Term will be held on Monday, February 5, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Fellows Lounge of Benjamin Franklin College. We will be discussing potential group projects for Energy Studies students in 2018. One is a long-term project to develop a major solar energy farm in Clinton, Connecticut; the others are short-term projects related to the Yale Carbon Charge.
  • SAVE THE DATE: The Fossil Fuels Field Trip to Pennsylvania will be held March 22-23 (Thursday and Friday of the second week of Spring Recess). The trip will visit a working coal mine in Tamaqua and shale-gas sites in the Williamsport region. Attendees will go onsite to drilling and fracking operations in the Marcellus Shale.
  • Spring term office hours for Energy Studies are: Tu and Th, 10 to 11 a.m., in KGL 308. Students are encouraged to make an appointment in advance to ensure availability. Appointments can be made, including for times outside normal office hours, by e-mail to michael.oristaglio@yale.edu. 

GENERAL INFORMATION

The Energy Studies Undergraduate Scholars program was started in the Fall Term 2013 by Yale Climate & Energy Institute. Eighty-five students have completed the program’s requirements during its first 4 years; more than 100 are currently enrolled in its curriculum. A brief description of the content of Energy Studies is given below. The following links contain more detailed information about the academic requirements and instructions for applying, along with the 2017-18 program brochure and slides presented at the Spring 2018 Energy Studies information session. 

Courses & Capstone Projects
Instructions for Applicants
Energy Studies 2017-18 Brochure
Energy Studies Spring 2018 Information Session

ENERGY STUDIES

Energy Studies is a multidisciplinary academic program (MAP) 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.

Managing the transition to a sustainable energy system is one of the grand challenges of the 21st century. Energy in the modern world should be convenient, accessible and affordable for all—but also available in ways that are less harmful to health and the environment than today’s energy systems based largely on combustion of fossil fuels. Achieving this (“Affordable and Clean Energy for All”) is one of the 17 U.N. Sustainable Development Goals for the year 2030, but the challenge is enormous. According to the International Energy Agency, about 1.2 billion people around the world remain without electricity, and 2.7 billion put their health at risk by the traditional use of solid biomass for cooking. Moreover, emissions from today’s energy systems are by far the leading contributors to air pollution and to the greenhouse gases causing accelerated climate change. 

The multidisciplinary study of world energy—its past, present, and possible futures—forms the content of Energy Studies. In addition, Energy Studies Scholars must complete the requirements of a Yale College major. Yale College does not offer a major in energy studies.

Admission to the Energy Studies program is by application, normally in the sophomore year. See the Instructions for Applicants link at the top of this page. For the 2017-18 academic year, the application process will be run in the fall, in coordination with the other multidisciplinary academic programs. Information about enrollment will be announced by the Yale College Dean’s Office. Accepted students will normally be expected to take the gateway course for Energy Studies, APHY 100, Energy Technology and Society, during the spring term of their sophomore year. Upon fulfilling the remaining requirements during their junior and senior years, students receive a document at graduation, acknowledging their completion of the Energy Studies Multidisciplinary Academic Program; this becomes part of a student’s academic record at Yale and is recorded by the Registrar’s Office. Graduates of the program are invited to join the Yale Alumni in Energy organization.

The course requirements for Energy Studies involve completion of one course in each of the three tracks defining the multidisciplinary curriculum, plus three electives from a list of eligible courses (see the link Courses and Capstone Projects at the top of this page). Of these six courses, three must be outside the department of the student’s major. For double majors, this requirement is modified as follows: three courses from each of the student’s two majors can be used to satisfy program requirements, provided that the six courses meet the distributional requirements across the three tracks of Energy Studies.

Courses must normally be taken for a full letter grade to qualify for meeting the program’s requirements. 

The capstone of the program is a senior project, which may take the form of a traditional senior essay (with permission, the student’s senior essay in the major may fulfill this requirement); a group project culminating in a substantial report; or a summer job or internship in an energy-related field with a written report. Jobs and internships are coordinated through the Energy Studies director of undergraduate studies, the student’s Energy Studies mentor and the Yale College Center for International and Professional Experience.

Energy Studies courses are organized into three tracks:

(I) Energy Science and Technology,

(II) Energy and the Environment, and 

(III) Energy and Society: Economic, Political and Social Issues.

Students normally complete electives in at least two of the three areas.