ETaP Graduate Option Curriculum

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Hands-on experience with renewable energy

Students learn to operate a solar pathfinder to optimize the operation of a solar PV system in their Renewable Energy Power Systems course

Hands-on experience with renewable energy

Using skills from their coursework, students conduct a shading analysis to improve the design of a solar PV system for Northern California's Yurok Tribe

Technology for international development

Indoor air pollution from biomass cookstoves is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Here students test the performance and emissions of an improved cookstove design

Crossing disciplines to solve the Big Problems

The complex challenges of our age can't be addressed from only one perspective. Students in our MS programs learn to merge insights from engineering, political science, economics, and other disciplines to deepen their understanding

Technology to improve lives

Students designed and installed a novel system to improve the operation of a small community hydropower system in rural Bhutan

The Energy, Technology, and Policy (ETaP) program is part of the Environmental Systems Graduate Program at Cal Poly Humboldt. Given the interdisciplinary nature of the program, students may enter with a variety of undergraduate degrees and work experiences.  

Recommended prior coursework:
An appropriate undergraduate degree in natural or social sciences is required. Prior coursework in areas including elementary statistics & probability, physics, chemistry, calculus and economics is highly desirable. Engineering and natural science students will benefit from having had at least six semester units of sociology, political science, anthropology, or another related social science. Any gaps in a student's prior preparation may be made up concurrently with the required coursework, but this may extend time in the program.

Program Requirements:
Course requirements for the program include a set of classes that are common to the Environmental Systems Graduate Program, three courses that are specific to the ETaP option, and at least four additional elective courses that are chosen as a coherent package in an area of interest for the student. The elective courses are intended to provide students with an opportunity to deepen their expertise in a selected area of specialization.  Students must complete a minimum of 30 units of coursework to receive a master's degree in Environmental Systems. Each student must also complete a master's thesis or project. The ETaP curriculum is summarized in the table below. It is also described in a one-page downloadable worksheet that is available at this link.   

Energy, Technology, and Policy Program Required Courses
CourseDescriptionTotal Units
SCI 698Graduate Colloquium in Environmental Systems1
STAT 630Environmental Systems Data Collection & Analysis4
ENGR 532Energy, the Environment, and Society4
ECON 550Economics of Energy and Climate Change Policy4
*ENGR 533Energy and Climate Change4
*ENGR 535Development Technology4

* students must take either ENGR 533 or ENGR 535

In addition, students must take a series of at least four approved elective courses at the upper division or graduate level. Students are strongly encouraged to use the elective courses to create an area of concentration.  The choice of an area of concentration is made in consultation with each student's academic adviser, and the specifics depend on a combination of the student's background and interests.

Some students take additional engineering courses, where some common classes include Water Quality (ENGR 351), Environmental Health and Impact Assessment (ENGR 410), Building Energy Analysis (ENGR 573), Renewable Energy Power Systems (ENGR 575), and Solar Thermal Engineering (ENGR 577). Others emphasize economics, international development, anthropology, political science, or other similar disciplines with courses such as Environmental and Natural Resource Economics (ECON 423), Politics of a Sustainable Society (PSCI 373), Technology and Development (PSCI 464), International Development (ANTH 680),. Still others prioritize training in natural resource science and analysis through courses such as Climate Change and Land Use (WSHD 458), Ecosystems and Society (ESM 620), Research Methods in Geospatial Science (GSP 510), and Geospatial Modeling (GSP 570). A variety of additional courses are also available in other areas, including Natural Resources Management, Fisheries, Forestry, Biology, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and others.

The Humboldt course catalog lists many potential course options.

Additional Information
International Students can obtain additional information about graduate studies at Cal Poly Humboldt at the International Student Website.