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Energy, Resources and Environment

Contact Us

Energy, Resources and Environment
Shonda Hurt, Program Manager
1619 Massachusetts Ave. NW
4th Floor
Washington, DC 20036
+1 (202) 663.5786


Focusing on the intersection of sustainability, energy, and the environment, the Energy, Resources and Environment (ERE) program prepares students for meaningful careers solving some of the world’s most intractable problems, from decarbonization to growing energy demand to urban sustainability. ERE’s multidisciplinary curriculum allows students to hone their research and analytical skills while learning to develop creative policy solutions at the regional, state, and global levels.

Become an Expert

Solving energy and sustainability challenges requires the ability to critically evaluate scientific, technological, and economic information; apply quantitative skills; translate science into sound policy solutions; and develop local implementation strategies for vastly different political and economic settings. These are the capabilities our graduates bring to their professional roles across all employment sectors.

Featured Courses

Gain the in-depth knowledge needed to create solutions for today’s most critical challenges to global sustainable energy.


Global Electricity Markets

This course is designed to provide an introduction to the electric power industry. The focus is on the policy, technology, institutional, and regulatory factors affecting the industry, major current issues, and the prospects for the industry’s future development and sustainability.

Students are not required to have a background in engineering, economics, finance, etc., although these disciplines are integrated into the discussion. The overall objective of the course is to provide students with the knowledge to understand, analyze, and formulate policy paths that address these and other complex questions. Broadly, the main topics are: • Market liberalization – How is the industry structured and how does it operate? What does de-regulation or restructuring entail? How is the industry regulated and how is regulation changing? • Meeting the challenges confronting the electric utility industry – How will the power sector meet the challenge of de-carbonization? Will the industry undergo a dramatic transformation from the traditional ways of doing business, driven by increased decentralization, digitization, and customer engagement?


Geopolitics of Energy

Energy and geopolitics are closely linked. Energy is a critical factor influencing foreign, security and economic policies – both for import-dependent nations seeking to ensure access to resources, and for energy exporters seeking “security of demand.”

Energy can be a tool used by both importers and exporters to exercise and project power. This course will assess global energy security and examine how countries view their energy challenges and strengths. We will evaluate how these perceptions impact their international strategies, and the implications of a country’s behavior on the energy security of other nations and on the international system. We will begin by discussing the evolving nature of energy security and global energy scenarios. In the first part of the course we will examine the geopolitics associated with different energy resources (oil, natural gas, nuclear, electricity, renewables) and of climate change. In the second part of the course we will focus on geographic regions and countries to review specific energy security issues and how geopolitics come into play.


Global Governance of Energy and Environment

This seminar introduces the institutional governance of international energy and environmental affairs. We will consider several questions of contemporary policy relevance.

How have governments designed international institutions to meet energy demands in developing countries? What are the principle challenges for the international community in facilitating global energy transitions? To what extent are global institutions capable of meeting the challenges posed by climate change? How have global institutions evolved since the end of the Cold War to handle environmental issues? And what lessons can policymakers learn in designing or building institutions to govern energy sectors and the natural environment? By the end of the seminar we will have learned about the specific energy and environmental challenges and the international strategies developed to meet those challenges. Topics will include oil markets, climate change, renewable energy, ozone depletion, technology innovation, and financing mechanisms. We will cover the relationships between technology and energy, environment and energy, international relations and energy, domestic politics and fossil fuels, and oil and international relations. Sessions will focus on questions relating material from different parts of the seminar to provide continuity from one week to the next.


Water-Energy-Food Nexus

The water-energy-food (WEF) nexus is central to country goals on sustainable development. Demand for all three is increasing, driven by a rising global population, increasing urbanization, changing diets, and economic growth.

This is also in the context of climate change and challenging institutional and policy environments. Agriculture is the largest consumer of the world’s freshwater resources, and more than one-quarter of the energy used globally is expended on food production and supply. Fossil fuel production, still a dominant and growing part of the global energy mix, is highly water intensive, as is biofuel production and the growing practice of shale gas extraction. Energy is needed to deliver and treat water for a broad range of users. These inextricable linkages require an integrated approach (in terms of management, operations, and planning) to ensuring water, food, and energy security. Policy-makers in all three domains will face difficult tradeoffs, balancing economic, environmental, and social concerns. This course will survey WEF concepts and principles, introduce tools of analysis, and engage students in case studies of critical WEF issues within and between nations.

Learn From the Best

Study with world-class experts who are renowned for their scholarship, influence, and networks.

Johannes Urpelainen

Director and Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Professor of Energy, Resources and Environment, Founding Director, Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy (ISEP)

Sarah Jordaan

Assistant Professor

Jonas Nahm

Assistant Professor of Energy, Resources, and Environment

Marco Dell'Aquila

Senior Adjunct Professor of Energy, Resources and Environment

In the News

A new approach to social sciences, humanities in a time of crisis

Nina Hall wrote in University World News, 5/7

Fossil fuels: Save the workers, kill the industry

Johannes Urpelainen wrote in The Hill, 4/30

Earth Day at 50: A time to engage

Daniel Magraw wrote for National Council for Social Studies, 4/22

Build Your Network

Join a diverse, accomplished, influential community of scholars, practitioners, alumni, and students working across sectors in 140 countries around the world.

Johns Hopkins SAIS students in Pakistan

Energy, Resources and Environments students ventured to Pakistan for a study trip to conduct research on the country’s power sector.

Johns Hopkins SAIS students on an energy trek

Students have the opportunity to further explore their areas of interest through career treks offered by the school's Career Services.

Acting Locally, Thinking Globally

"The school offers a perfect blend of a regional focus and an international practical field of knowledge."

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Making Valuable Connections While Earning a Degree

"One aspect I appreciate most about the school is the opportunity to develop strong connections with my peers regardless of each other’s respective concentrations."

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Check back soon for upcoming events.

Beyond the Classroom

Apply what you learn in the classroom to actual field work through ERE’s innovative Practicum course, a variety of field trips, and individual research projects.

The Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy (ISEP)

The Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy (ISEP) is an interdisciplinary research program that uses advanced social and behavioral science to design, test, and implement better energy policies in emerging economies. The initiative is based on the premise that the obstacle to energy policy is rarely the lack of better alternatives to the current situation, but rather the vexing difficulty of enacting, implementing, and sustaining these alternatives and focuses on innovative ways to overcome obstacles to energy policy reform in emerging economies. Students have the opportunity to apply for research assistant positions that align with the various research projects of ISEP and its fellows.

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Frontiers in Energy, Science and Technology (FEST)

FEST field visits provide a firsthand look at energy solutions as they are implemented in communities across the world, from solar panel manufacturing in China to LNG plants in Texas.

ERE Special Lectures Series

ERE’s various speaker series bring leaders from the public sector, research, finance, and industry to discuss challenges in the ERE space. Recent forums have explored issues including oil price volatility, nuclear proliferation, India’s energy transition and US decarbonization strategies.

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Energy and Environment Club

Bringing together classmates school-wide interested in energy and sustainability, this extracurricular club offers networking opportunities with alumni and professionals active in the field. Help us organize student-led programs on the future of ERE policy and research.

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International Energy and Environment Practicum

Combine a for-credit course with extensive, hands-on experience consulting for a professional client organization aimed at addressing environmental and energy policy challenges. Students' work on practicum projects may also be integrated into the research of an advising ERE faculty member.

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Networking Events

Network with alumni and professionals and organize student-led events exploring your area of interest's challenges and opportunities outside the classroom.