Energy Studies

The Energy Studies Undergraduate Scholars program was started in the Fall of 2013 by Yale Climate & Energy Institute. With the closing of the institute in June of this year, Energy Studies will continue as a multidisciplinary academic program in Yale College.

The fall 2016 information session for Energy Studies was held on Thursday, September 8, at 4:30 p.m. in the Auditorium of Kline Geology Lab (KGL 123). 

Slides from the session are posted below.

Fall Term 2016 Office Hours (starting September 5): Mon 2 to 4pm and Thu 10am to noon in KGL 308

For appointments or questions, contact with the subject line: ENERGY STUDIES



Twenty-six seniors in the Yale Class of 2016 completed the requirements for Energy Studies and were acknowledged in the commencement ceremonies at their residential colleges in May. (See the poster at bottom of this page.) Our congratulations to this remarkable group with best wishes for their future careers in energy!

Notices of admission to Energy Studies for the 2016 Fall Term were sent at the beginning of July. If you applied to the program in the spring, but did not receive a notice, please contact Mike Oristaglio at the e-mail address given above. 

In the future, application for admission to the Energy Studies program will take place during the fall term, in coordination with the other Yale College multidisciplinary academic programs, and will be limited to students who are then in sophomore year. 


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. A major challenge for the world in the 21st century is to develop and deploy a more sustainable energy system: one that can provide convenient, affordable energy for all of the world’s population, in ways that are less harmful to health and the environment than today’s systems based largely on the combustion of fossil fuels. 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, carbon-dioxide emissions from the world’s energy systems remain by far the leading contributor to man-made climate change. Multidisciplinary study of the past, present, and possible futures of the world’s energy systems forms the content of Energy Studies.

In addition to their participation in the program, 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 Instructions for Applicants, at top left. (For the 2016-17 academic year, the application process will be run in the fall, in coordination with the other multidisciplinary academic programs. Information about the enrollment process will be announced by the Yale College Dean’s Office.) Accepted students are assigned a mentor from one of the departments associated with Energy Studies. Upon successful completion of the requirements, students receive a document at graduation, acknowledging their completion of the Energy Studies 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.

Undergraduate scholars in Energy Studies are expected to complete one course in each of the three tracks defining the multidisciplinary curriculum, plus three electives from a list of eligible courses (see Courses and Capstone Projects, at top left). 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 courses meet the distributional requirements across the three areas (tracks) of Energy Studies.

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 areas or 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.