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The Energy concentration is designed to prepare you to contribute in one of today’s most critical areas of global public concern: energy generation, use and impact.

Students in this concentration focus on energy policies and technologies, exploring the socioeconomic and environmental consequences of both. They learn the life cycle of energy resources and study the economics of energy production and consumption.

In this concentration, you will explore the critical, cutting-edge approaches now being taken in energy conservation and environmental progress, including: tools and techniques for mitigating carbon emissions, new ways to diversify the energy sector, and the development of innovative energy technologies.

By taking an interdisciplinary approach — one that explores the interconnected nature of science, technology, economics and public policy — the Energy concentration positions you to help meet the challenges posed by an increasingly energy-dependent world.

Faculty in the Energy concentration take a forward-looking approach, ensuring that students focus on topics that are most current and relevant. For instance, one area of particular interest is the alignment of energy policy and planning with economic development. By focusing on this alignment, students gain a full understanding of several vital concepts, including: public-private partnerships, clean-energy infrastructure development, training for high-tech green jobs, and efforts to integrate energy development with social development.

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Careers in Energy

As global energy needs increase and the required environmental expertise to manage those needs continues to grow, alumni of SPEA’s Energy concentration can expect to find a wide variety of opportunities with organizations in both the public and private sectors, including energy companies, policy organizations and regulatory agencies. Several recent SPEA graduates have landed attractive jobs in the energy sector — including positions with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Edison Electric Institute, the Solar Energy Industries Association and SRA International.

Energy Curriculum

All MPA students develop needed technical tools with the MPA core
(18 credit hours).

This 18-hour concentration consists of two required courses, plus two courses in each of two topic areas: 1) natural sciences and 2) economics, public policy and law. Each course in the concentration is a 3-credit-hour course. No double counting with program core courses is permitted.

Required Courses

  • Energy Resources, Technology and Analysis (SPEA-E 574)
  • Energy Economics and Policy  (SPEA-V 674)

Science-Related Courses

  • Fundamentals of Air Pollution (SPEA-E 515)
  • Vector-based Geographic Information Systems (SPEA-E 518)
  • Environmental Chemistry (SPEA-E 536)
  • Coal Utilization and Carbon Sequestration (SPEA-E 555)
  • Natural Gas: Technical and Policy Challenges (SPEA-E 555)
  • Physical Meteorology and Climatology (GEOG-G 532)
  • Geographic Information Systems (GEOG-G 538)
  • Sustainable Energy Systems (GEOG-G 542)
  • Climate Change (GEOG-G 575)
  • Principles of Petroleum Geology (GEOL-G 571)
  • Organic Geochemistry (GEOL-G 587)
  • Environmental Physics (PHYS-P 510)  

Economics, Public Policy and Law Related Courses

  • Human Behavior and Energy Consumption (SPEA-E 501)
  • International Environmental Policy (SPEA-E 535)
  • Benefit-Cost Analysis of Public and Environmental Programs (SPEA-V 541)
  • Seminar in Climate Law and Policy (SPEA-V 550)
  • Sustainable Development (SPEA-V 596)
  • Environmental Economics and Policy (SPEA-V 625)
  • Natural Resource Management and Policy (SPEA-V 643)
  • Environmental Law (SPEA-V 645)
  • Natural Resources Law (LAW-B 675)
  • Seminar in Energy Law and Policy (LAW-L 644)

Energy Learning Outcomes

To contribute in the areas of energy generation, use, and impact, focusing on energy policies, behaviors, and technologis and their socioeconomic and environmental consequences.

  1. An understanding of current energy policies and technologies, the socioeconomic and envioronmental consequences of these technologies and policies, and the life cycle and economics of energy resources, production, and consumption.
  2. Knowledge of, and the ability to apply, analytic and management approaches to energy conservation and sustainability, including the tools and techniques for mitigating carbon emissions, new ways to diversify the energy sector, and the development of innovative energy technologies.

Dual Concentrations

Dual concentrations with Energy and other concentrations offered by SPEA – such as Environmental Policy and Natural Resource Management – offer unique advantages for those wanting to make a difference in particular areas of public affairs. Our faculty work to accommodate these specialized professional interests in the design of student programs.

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