CU-Boulder's undergraduate energy certificate program provides a broad exposure to energy issues, with an emphasis on renewable and sustainable energy. Required coursework on energy science and technology, policy, and economics; coupled with electives on energy and environment, journalism, ethics, and other topics, give students the skills and knowledge to tackle society's pressing energy problems.

Why a certificate program?

Solving society's energy-related problems is not just a technical challenge. It will require contributions from law, business, humanities, journalism, and other disciplines as well. This undergraduate certificate program is intended to supplement, not replace, undergraduate students' degree programs. Graduates from this certificate program—regardless of their undergraduate major—will have a strong understanding of energy science and technologies, energy alternatives, energy markets and business, and energy policy. They will be well-prepared to apply their disciplinary knowledge to the energy challenge.

In order to earn the certificate, students must apply to and be accepted into the program. The certificate program requires 18 hours of coursework: 9 for core courses, and 9 for electives. The core courses cover the essentials of renewable and sustainable energy:
  • The first required course (ENVS/PHYS 3070) provides an understanding of energy science and technology: resources, units of measurement, physical principles and limits, conversion technologies, and environmental impacts.
  • The second required course (ENVS 3621) provides an understanding of energy politics, policy, and economics: how society makes decisions about energy, what are the policy tools that can influence energy use and how do they work, how stakeholders interact to yield energy policy decisions.
  • The third required course (RSEI 4150) is a projects course, in which students’ energy knowledge is applied to a specific energy challenge or problem.

These core courses are followed by electives, which allow students to focus on specific areas that are of interest. These electives are varied, however they all share a focus on energy.  Please visit the website for more details.

Only currently enrolled CU-Boulder undergraduate students are eligible for the program (although the core courses are open to all students). This includes part-time students, but is limited to students who are in an undergraduate degree program. Students in joint undergraduate/graduate degree programs are not eligible, but should instead consider the graduate energy certificate program.

Applications to the program are accepted starting February 1, with all applications and application materials due by March 1. Admissions decisions are made by April 1. Acceptance will be based on the qualifications of the student, as well as the importance of fostering a diversity of disciplinary representation within the program.

Applicants need to submit the following:

A current CU-Boulder transcript.
A one-page statement of purpose: Why do you want to enroll in this program?

All materials should be submitted electronically as PDF attachments, emailed to Make sure your name is on both PDF documents. Please name your files LastName_Transcript and LastName_Statement.