Certificate Focus

The Certificate in Energy & Environment is designed to give students a greater understanding of the breadth of issues that confront our society in its need for clean, affordable and reliable energy. A major focus is helping students become innovative thinkers and leaders who understand the energy system as a whole and how it is shaped by complex interconnections between policy, markets, technology and the environment.

Your Future

This certificate is highly recommended for undergraduate students planning careers in the energy sector; the physical or natural sciences; environmental policy, management, law or economics; and related career tracks in the private, nonprofit, government and academic sectors.


Energy use is a multifaceted problem, which draws upon the perspectives and expertise of a variety of disciplines. The Certificate in Energy and the Environment is therefore similarly interdisciplinary. A total of six courses is required for the certificate.

Core Course – Required

  • ENERGY 231: Energy and the Environment (offered every Fall)

Elective: Markets & Policy – Choose One

  • CEE 315 (ENVIRON 365D, PUBPOL 211). Engineering Sustainable Design and the Global Community 

  • CULANTH 345S/ENVIRON 343S. Energy Futures and Environmental Justice

  • ECON 325S. Economic Analysis of Current Energy Issues                                                                     

  • ECON 431S. Research Methods: Energy Markets/Environmental Impacts                                           

  • ECON 439 (ENVIRON 363). Economics of the Environment  

  • ENVIRON 155. Economics & Environment  

  • ENVIRON 201. Integrating Environmental Science & Policy                                                              

  • ENVIRON 212 (PUBPOL 275). United States Environmental Policy

  • ENVIRONL 390A (PUBPOL 390A). Environmental Conservation in Southeast Asia (Global Ed course)

  • ENVIRON 390A (PUBPOL 390A). Urban Tropical Ecology in Singapore (Global Ed course)                 

  • ENVIRON 577 (PUBPOL 577). Environmental Politics                                                                              

  • ENVIRON 583S (POLISCI 663S, PUBPOL 583S). Energy and U.S. National Security                              

  • GER 364S (HISTORY 250S, ENVIRON 366S, ENERGY 364) Green Germany: World Leader in Environmental Policy

  • POLSCI 145 (ECON 119). Introduction to Political Economy

  • POLSCI 344 (ENVIRON 345, PUBPOL 281). Environmental Politics in the United States

  • POLSCI 549S (ENVIRON 544S). Collective Action, Property Rights, and the Environment

  • PUBPOL 590S (ENERGY 590S). Impact Evaluation: Energy and Development


The following half-courses, any two of which may be combined to fulfill this elective requirement:

  • ENVIRON 520. Resource and Environmental Economics I
  • ENVIRON 521. Resource and Environmental Economics II
  • ENVIRON 635. Energy Economics and Policy

Elective: Environment – Choose One

  • CEE 132L. Engineering the Planet
  • CEE 160L. Intro to Environmental Engineering and Science
  • CEE 461L. Chemical Principles in Environmental Engineering
  • CEE 462L. Biological Principles in Environmental Engineering
  • CHEM 91. Chemistry, Technology and Society
  • EOS 202. Ocean and Atmosphere Dynamics
  • EOS 351S. Global Environmental Change
  • EOS 364S. Changing Oceans
  • EOS 355. Global Warming
  • EOS 511. The Climate System
  • EOS 514. Energy and Ecology
  • EOS 544. Geoengineering
  • ENVIRON 102. Intro to Environmental Sciences and Policy
  • ENVIRON 245. The Theory and Practice of Sustainability

Elective: Energy Science & Technology – Choose One

In selecting the elective course in Energy Science and Technology, it is important to consider which course will provide optimal preparation for the student's Capstone project course. Students should discuss their selection of this elective with a co-director of the program.

  • CHEM 590. Special Topics in Chemistry (Energy: Science and Engineering Fundamentals)
  • ECE 431. Solar Cells
  • ECE 496. Introduction to Electrical Energy Conversion
  • ENRGYEGR 310. Introduction to Energy Generation, Delivery, Conversion, and Efficiency
  • ENRGYEGR 490. Special Topics in Energy Engineering (all sections may apply)
  • ENVIRON 630. Transportation Energy
  • ENVIRON 631. Energy Technology and the Impact on the Environment
  • ME 461. Energy Engineering and the Environment
  • ME 490. Power for Mechanical Systems
  • ME 490. Renewable Energy Technologies
  • PHYSICS 137S. Energy in the 21st Century and Beyond
  • PHYSICS 139S. Nuclear Energy 

Additional Elective – Choose One

  • Select from elective course list or alternate approved course

Capstone Project

ENERGY 395/396. Connections in Energy: Teams of undergraduate and graduate students work with faculty supervisors to identify, refine, explore and develop solutions to pressing energy issues. Teams may also include postdoctoral fellows, visiting energy fellows, and other experts from business, government, and the non-profit sector. A team's work may run in parallel with or contribute to an on-going research project. Teams will participate in seminars, lectures, field work and other learning experiences relevant to the project. Instructor consent required.


To complete the capstone design project for the Energy & Environment certificate, students must enroll in the Bass Connections project, "Energy and the Environment: Design and Innovation."

Participation consists of a half-credit course in the fall semester (ENERGY 395) and a full-credit course (ENERGY 396) in the spring semester. The capstone is typically completed during a student's senior year, though it may be taken earlier with the prior approval of the certificate co-directors.

To enroll in the capstone, students must complete a Bass Connections application during the spring semester prior to fall enrollment. Seniors in the certificate will be automatically accepted. 

Bass Connections Application

Alternate OPTION

In select cases, students may participate in the capstone project via the following crediting mechanisms with prior approval from the certificate co-directors.

ENVIRON 452L (for Trinity students) / EGR 424L (for Pratt students). Energy and Environment Design: Teams of students explore the feasibility of a new modified energy resource, technology, or approach. An integrative design course addressing both creative and practical aspects of the design of systems related to energy and the environment.

Course Restrictions

The certificate requires a total of six courses. No more than three courses may originate in a single department (The capstone course is not included in this requirement). No more than two courses that count toward the certificate may be used to also satisfy the requirements of any major, minor or other certificate program. AP credit may not fulfill certificate requirements.



The Energy & Environment Certificate is for Duke undergraduates only.

Trinity students must declare the certificate through the University Registrar’s Office, using the form to make changes to your Academic Plan. Trinity Form

Pratt students must declare the certificate using Pratt's form for adding/deleting a major, minor, or certificate. Pratt Form


Nicholas School Undergraduate Programs Office 

Gendell Center for Engineering, Energy & the Environment