Energy Policy and Climate Master's Degree
Energy policy is a growing area for both government and private industry. National and international laws now set down limitations on carbon emissions and decide co-operative global government policy. Businesses and government realize the necessity to take positive action through laws, individual commitment and steps to work together for common solutions. There needs to be a multidisciplinary and cross-disciplinary approach. Online master's degrees in Energy Policy and Climate will train the next generation of decision makers - in government and in business, insurance and finance, and in science and law to develop the tools and methods of the future for a sustainable world. That's why colleges and universities around the country and globally are developing courses that link the science, policy, business for better decision-making.
Students of this course will learn about how actions of the past affect the climate of today and seek to use cross-disciplinary methods and tools to understand how the actions, policies and decisions of today will affect future generations. The key to this is the interpretation and presentation of scientific data and the ability to work with others to create a workable solution to the problems we presently face. When the student has finished the course, he or she will be eligible to work in roles as diverse as government, energy, conservation, sustainability, public education and engagement in private business and in the charitable sector.
This is expected to be a growth area in the coming decade with plenty of employment opportunity in most areas at the executive level. They will be required to develop the environmental economy of tomorrow.
Featured Online Programs
Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins is a world leader in research and education. It is one of only a small number of institutions offering this vital and growing area in the environmental sciences. Student applicants are expected to have a minimum 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale. They will also require a background and academic study in statistics, calculus and chemistry in order to secure admission. This online program in Energy Policy and Climate consists of four core modules: Principles and Applications of Energy Technology, Science of Climate Change and Its Impact, Climate Change Policy Analysis and Energy and Climate Finance. They will also be expected to complete a capstone project at the end of the course. The remainder of the course consists of electives.
Further details are here at the JHU master's degree Energy Policy and Climate page.
Vermont Law School
Vermont offers a similar program to the Johns Hopkins University. The course title is Master of Energy Regulation and Law. This is a law and policy master's degree designed for students not from a law background from one of the country's top law schools. Students have the option to study on campus, online or a combination of both depending on personal preference. It's a 30-credit program with a choice of over 50 electives to tailor your degree to your interests, strengths and intended career. Students are required to study four core modules and from one of three writing-based modules.
For further information, visit the Vermont Law School website.
Choosing an Online Energy Policy and Climate Program
Prospective students in this subject area will find few options at present but it is expected to grow in the coming years as colleges and universities adapt to a changing world. Online study is a great way for students to work around other commitments outside of the conventional campus environment. Yet there should be more considerations for the student than the choice between online or offline. Students should:
- Consider the requirements of the final project. JHU has a capstone project that will bring together all of your skills and knowledge. Vermont has a choice of writing projects
- Examine each course carefully and choose electives and core subjects that play to your strengths
- Consider contacting the college to enquire about the percentage of graduating students and employability status such as where they work and how easy they find it to get relevant jobs
- Look at whether this masters course in Energy Policy and Climate-focused on business, governance or other decision-making aspects and examine the types of job role open to you depending on the course. Some college programs may be tailored to certain areas
- Consider how flexible a course you might prefer. Some masters permit students to substitute courses for special interest courses from elsewhere in their school (so long as the credits are sufficient). If you have specific interests, enquire about their flexibility
- Consider the balance between practical work and theoretical work if one is more important than the other
- Consider the math and calculus requirements of the JHU program that may not be a strict requirement elsewhere
Is an Online Degree Right for You?
Online masters degrees are not suitable for all students though they do have significant advantages - time flexibility being one of them. Students should carefully consider whether this method of study will work for them as online programs have unique challenges as well as benefits. You will require self-discipline and a high level of personal organization. Naturally, this is required of all dedicated students but the lack of routine in the form of classes means you need more self-discipline. The major consideration is the final project at the end of the degree. The capstone project at JHU (different from a thesis or dissertation) requires a lot of input, potentially spread over a long period. This will be the single largest project of your online masters in Energy Policy and Climate and will make up a substantial section of your grade. Any student who has chosen online masters to work around other commitments should consider the academic investment required in this project towards the end of this course.
What to Expect
Master's degrees in Energy Policy and Climate focus on the scientific, theoretical, philosophical and social aspects of both climate and law. The Johns Hopkins University example covers everything from the math, the legal framework, sustainability, policy development and regional planning. This covers all of the groundwork of the problems of this cross-disciplinary area. Students have many optional electives but will be required to complete a final capstone project to bring together everything they have learned in the framework of the degree course. Most degrees are the same - compulsory core courses, a compulsory final project and choices from a list of many elective courses.
Energy Policy and Climate Topics You'll Study
Core courses at both Vermont and Johns Hopkins will provide students with the background for a future career in this area, whether they want to take it to government roles, into business or in development roles in the charitable sector.
- Compulsory modules and courses include such titles as "Principles and Applications of Energy Technology", "The Science of Climate Change", "Energy Regulation, Markets, and the Environment" and those that focus on economics and law
- Both the featured masters programs offer a wide range of elective courses with broad titles to include such important policy issues as air pollution and law, tax and environmental law, environment and national security, non-profit management, food and energy security, and the science and technology of solar and wind power
- Each course will have a compulsory final project. In the case of JHU that's the Capstone Project centering on Energy and Climate Policy. Students will develop expertise in this area and use skills and knowledge learned throughout the course. This is not a thesis; students in relevant employment may conduct a project centering on his or her work
- Alternatively, the degree program may have a written project, an externship or participation in an ongoing research program. The Vermont master's degree offers this choice
Energy Policy and Climate Professional Organizations
Our Energy Policy perceives itself as an arbiter between American citizens, scientists and policymakers. Its mission is to facilitate dialogue regarding energy use and provide resources for people of all interests and at all levels. They aim to enhance the potential for implementing effective energy policy in the national interests to help the USA move forward on related issues.
The Alliance to Save Energy is a DC-based multidisciplinary organization for promoting energy efficiency all over the world for a healthier economy, a healthy population and a cleaner, greener world. Their staff consists of 60 individuals from across the board in related disciplines, proving that it requires knowledge from many areas to solve the problems we face.
American Council on Renewable Energy demonstrates that the energy program of tomorrow does not just require the science and technology, it also requires policy and promotion within government and the corporate world to ensure food security, defense and national security as ongoing concerns.
The Bipartisan Policy Center attempts to bring together American thinkers, scientists, politicians and business leaders from across the full spectrum of political and social thought to come up with workable solutions to our climate and energy problems. From the world of business, they invite both labor and executives, from the government, elected and appointed officials.
Renewable Energy and International Law is a global network of law professionals looking at the implications, policy and legal framework of energy produced from renewable sources. They use multidisciplinary knowledge to lobby for changes in governments for a cleaner and sustainable world.
Tuition Cost Estimates
Tuition for John Hopkins University Online Masters in Energy Policy and Climate presently stands at $3,782 for each course with a $75 application fee for all students. This does not vary depending on the state of residence as applies to campus students and also because JHU is a private university. There are also additional fees of $175 per course as a technology fee for all students studying an online program. A Graduation Fee of $100 is applicable to all students at the end of their course. The pricing structure of the Vermont program is slightly different. It charges a tuition of $46,848 for each annual course, working out at $1,345 per credit as the cost of tuition. In both cases, extra costs may apply to international students.
Costs for both courses are correct at June 2017 relating to costs for the academic year 2017-18.
What You Will Learn
Students electing to study a Masters in Energy Policy and Climate will already have a fundamental understanding of the science of climate change and what could be done about it. They may not necessarily have or need a law background. The two areas do have many areas in common and equally many areas where they can and must work together. These courses seek to bridge that gap between science and policy. They will learn new skills and methods and understand the problems where the science and government or economy is potentially in conflict. The student will develop diplomacy skills, understand the importance of outreach and examine common social issues.
The final project in each case will introduce the student to real-world problems with workable solutions and help them develop their own problem-solving skills. Some will involve research projects which will develop your critical thinking, resource gathering and analytical skills to a much higher degree than your bachelor's program. Other capstone projects may consist of written projects or presentation skills.
Energy Policy and Climate students will find a variety of job roles open to them in what is a substantially growing area. In future, it will be a vital role for international co-operation and law in light of the Paris Agreement and any other program designed to reduce carbon emissions and preserve security and stability through green law.
Here is a selection of potential job roles:
- Sustainability Officer in government or in business
- As an Environmental Policy Analyst, advising businesses or government
- In regional or urban planning for infrastructure (such as transportation modeling)
- In environmental or agricultural planning for conservation or food security
- In public prosecutions relating to environment or conservation issues
- Federal government agencies such as the NPA, EPA or NOAA advising and developing government policy