Are you passionate about renewable energy as a force for good in the world?  Expand your perspective with practical training in energy policy, business, and energy science, share your professional expertise with CU graduate students, and build your network in the sustainability field by pursuing a 9-credit Professional Certificate in Renewable and Sustainable Energy from CU-Boulder and the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute (RASEI).  You can take the courses in person or online, and our program and instructors are flexible and responsive to the needs of working professionals.  

Wind turbine with people in foreground

Developed in collaboration with the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute (RASEI) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), this certificate provides students, working professionals, and alternative energy practitioners with the background and skills to begin or advance careers in renewable and sustainable energy.

Our program draws from a wide range of backgrounds.  Some of our students are looking to pivot to new careers in the sustainable energy field.  Others may already work in energy, but desire an expanded network and a broader array of skills and knowledge in order to advance to new roles.  Students work together to share their experience and expertise with one another.  Hear from NREL scientists and administrators who have completed the professional certificate!

Does your employer offer reimbursement for job-related educational expenses?  If so, you may qualify for delayed payment of tuition until after you have completed coursework.  Simply fill out the appropriate form for Fall or Spring semester.  

The certificate program consists of 3 courses:

ENST 5000 Energy Science and Technology:  This course examines the basics of energy science and technology with a focus on the fundamentals of both conventional and renewable/sustainable energy. The first half of the course concentrates on conventional energy sources such as oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear and hydroelectric. The second half concentrates on renewable/sustainable energy technologies including wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, ocean and conservation. A thorough comparison between conventional and renewable energy sources is a key to understanding the possibilities and limitations of new energy sources. We investigate the technological promise and progress of each technology, as well as its limitations and challenges. At the conclusion of the course, students will have a solid understanding of energy sources and the foundation to pursue additional energy study.  Taught by Paul Komor.  View the syllabus here! 

ENST 5001 Energy Policy in the 21st Century:  The global energy system has been described as "the world's largest machine."  This description, while accurate in scale, can hide the fact that large-scale energy systems are social as well as technological phenomena.  These socio-technical systems are operated, directed, and changed by human beings possessed of agency, values, and conflicts.  This course will examine the policies, laws, customs, and practices at varying levels of international, national, and subnational governance that shape the global sociotechnical energy system.  We will pay special attention to policies and approaches that envision the system's transformation toward sustainability, arguably the overarching goal of human civilization in the 21st Century.  Students in this course work in groups with real-world clients in the private, nonprofit, and government sectors to complete a semester-long energy policy project.  Taught by Adam Reed.  View the syllabus here!

ENST 5002 The Business of Sustainable Energy:  Addresses the business of renewable and sustainable energy, including opportunities and challenges with renewable electricity, renewable transportation fuels, and energy efficiency. Topics include energy markets, opportunity identification, life cycle analysis, economic analysis, policiy impacts, and project financing of sustainable and renewable energy business models. Taught by Stephen Lawrence.

Upon completing this three-course program, participants receive nine graduate-level credits and earn a professional certificate granted by the University of Colorado Boulder, a Tier 1 research institution. In addition, these course credits may be counted towards the ten courses required for the Engineering Management Program’s(EMP) Master of Engineering (ME) degree. More information on this new opportunity can be found here.

Professional certificate program summary:

  • Three, three-credit required courses.
  • One to two years to complete the certificate requirements.
  • Courses taught by CU faculty who are accomplished alternative energy educators and scholars with significant experience in the renewable energy industry.
  • Courses offered online.

The application process is ongoing. Apply Now!

Questions?  Read our Frequently Asked Questions.  

RSE Certificate Programs are Administered by the Environmental Studies Program.