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International Energy and Environment Practicum

What is the Practicum?

The Practicum is an innovative program that gives students an extensive, in-depth, real world experience. Students work with external client organizations on projects addressing international environmental and energy policy challenges. The Practicum provides quality research and analysis to clients, while students develop their consulting skills and apply concepts learned in the classroom to critical problems.

What are the Deliverables?

Each Practicum team begins by developing specific, practical terms of reference for the project, designed collaboratively with both the client and their academic supervisor. Over the course of the academic year, the team then conducts its research, often accompanied by site visits, and prepares a detailed report on its findings for presentation to the client.

What is the timeline and commitment required?

Project timelines vary and depend on the needs of the client. Some teams have scopes of work and timelines that are heavier in the beginning of the course, others in the Spring, and others have work spread out more equally over the academic year. All teams are required, and should plan to meet per scheduled class times. Students should make a year-long commitment to deliver a first-rate product, and should budget time for desktop research, interviews, meeting with faculty and the client, as well as preparing the deliverables.

Types of Projects:

All projects have an environmental and/or energy policy dimension and are often involved with issues of economic development, resource management, climate change, technology policy and public health. Practicum projects have been conducted in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the US.

Examples of projects include:

• Assessment of the potential for significant cost savings in South Africa’s mining sector, through off-grid renewable energy applications;

• Investigation of climate adaptation strategy options for public transportation infrastructure in Mexico City;

• Recommendation of methods to achieve large scale greenhouse gas emissions reductions from the brick industry in India.

• Analysis of sensitivity of distributed solar energy cost to policy and market mechanisms (US).

What Value do Students Bring to the Client and Practicum?

Johns Hopkins SAIS is one of the world’s premiere institutions for graduate study in international relations and policy. Its students are drawn from over 70 countries and are trained in economics, international relations, regional studies, and languages. Many also have a strong business and finance background for project analysis. ERE students are solution oriented integrators who draw on breadth of knowledge and experience in rigorous and creative ways to successfully implement cutting edge research. The student teams provide the client with an opportunity to explore and answer a critical question that they would not otherwise have. In addition, the interaction provides a chance for insight and mutual knowledge sharing, beyond the scope of the more standard internship programs. The Practicum is a real chance for collaborative effort with benefits to all participants.

For more information, see PDF iconPracticum FAQs