Graduate Certificate in Renewable And Sustainable Energy

University of Colorado Boulder - Graduate Distance Education

Online Boulder, CO Public Regional Accreditation

Program at a Glance

Environmental Studies Energy, Environment, And Natural Resources Law Environmental/Environmental Health Engineering Environmental Education
Yes 100% online
Per credit hour for tuition
9 credit hours required for graduation
total estimated cost
No transfer credits accepted
100% flexible class times
16 weeks average course length
No minimum
min. completion time


Online Professional Certificate in Renewable and Sustainable Energy at the University of Colorado Boulder

The Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute (RASEI) is a joint institute between the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder). CU Boulder is the flagship campus of the University of Colorado system and is globally recognized for its world-class research and a faculty that includes numerous Nobel Prize laureates. An innovator and leader in the distance education field for more than 45 years, CU Boulder connects students to its campus from anywhere in the world anytime through its distance education delivery platform.

Professional Certificate in Renewable and Sustainable Energy overview

Designed in collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Environmental Studies Program, the RASEI Professional Certificate program provides working professionals and lifelong learners with an in-depth study of renewable and sustainable energy technologies, policies, and business--the cornerstones of this rapidly growing industry. The certificate provides students, working professionals, and alternative energy practitioners with the background and skills to begin or advance careers in renewable and sustainable energy. Students will learn from engaging and experienced experts in the field, collaborate with graduate students from across the CU campus, and network with other professional students who share their interests. Students can take the courses in person or online through state-of-the-art distance learning technology, and the program and instructors are flexible and responsive to the needs of working professionals around the world. 

Renewable and Sustainable Energy Curriculum

The certificate in Renewable and Sustainable Energy, which can be completed in one to two years, consists of three courses totaling nine credits:

- "Energy Science and Technology"
- "Energy Policy in the 21st Century"
- "Business of Renewable Energy"

The first course, "Energy Science and Technology," covers the basics of energy science and technology concerning both conventional and renewable/sustainable energy. The first part of the course focuses on coal, hydroelectric oil, natural gas, and nuclear energy. The second part examines biomass, geothermal, ocean, solar, and wind energy as well as conservation. A careful comparison is made between conventional and renewable energy sources to understand the possibilities and limitations of new sources of energy.

The second course, "Energy Policy in the 21st Century," examines the international, national, and sub-national customs, laws, policies, and practices that influence the global socio-technical energy system. It includes an energy policy project in which students work with real-world clients in the government, nonprofit, and private sectors.

The third course, "Business of Sustainable Energy," explores the business side of renewable and sustainable energy including challenges and opportunities with energy efficiency, renewable electricity, and renewable transportation fuels. Topics include economic analysis, energy markets, life cycle analysis, opportunity identification, policy impacts, financing of renewable energy and sustainable business models.

Course delivery

All students have automatic access to online course lectures (streaming or downloading) beginning the first day until the last day of the semester. Recorded lectures are uploaded to the portal within 24 hours after the lecture has been taught on campus. Students have the option to participate live from a distance in the real-time classroom experience and/or view the lectures asynchronously as it fits their schedule.

Library Courses, those that have been recorded in previous semesters, are available to take for academic credit with the instructor's approval.

Expert faculty members

Renewable and sustainable energy instructors are accomplished educators, practitioners, and scholars. They have expertise and real-world experience in the business, engineering, and legal aspects of the field. They are also accessible, flexible, and supportive teachers who understand working professionals' needs. Profiles of two faculty members, Adam Reed, JD and Jeff G. York, are listed below.

Reed is the director of renewable and sustainable energy education at RASEI, as well as a lecturer and research associate in the Environmental Studies program. His work addresses communication, knowledge, legal, and regulatory issues concerning sustainable energy consumption and operations. It has been published in several journals including the "Albany Law Journal of Science and Technology," the "Colorado Law Review," and "Utilities Policy."

Jeffrey G. York is an Associate Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, Research Director for the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship, and Shane Faculty Scholar at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He received his PhD from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. Professor York’s teaching and research are focused on environmental entrepreneurship, the simultaneous creation of ecological and economic goods. He is interested in how and why entrepreneurs create new products, services, and industries that reduce environmental degradation. He teaches classes in business planning, entrepreneurial thinking and environmental ventures at the undergraduate, MBA and PhD levels. Professor York has published research in journals such as the Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management ReviewJournal of Business Venturing, Organization Science, and Strategic Management Journal. He serves as a Field Editor for the Journal of Business Venturing and on the editorial boards of the Academy of Management Journal, Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, and Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal.

Distance Education

Instructors share fresh course materials each semester and engage all students via live, online meeting platform. Never canned, pre recorded lectures.

Connect with this school


Prerequisites & Transfer Credits

Minimum GPA

Out of 4.0

Standardized Tests


not requiredfor admission

Transfer Credits Accepted?



Services, Schedule, Reputation, Instructors and Student Info

Services Offered

Online Office Hours
Online Chat
Mobile App
Social Discussion Forums
On-Campus Graduation Ceremony
Digital Textbooks
Online Management of Coursework


100% Online Yes
Minimum Completion Time No minimum
Class Times N/A
Average Course Length 16 Weeks


  • School Type:
  • School Accreditation:
    Regional Accreditation North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission
  • Program Accreditation:

Instructors & Students

  • Instructors:
    Teach both online and on-campus
  • Students:
    Students worldwide


Tuition & Fees

  • Tuition
  • Required for Completion
    9 credit hours
  • Total Estimated Cost

Location & Contact

Student Contact

Sarah Rogers 303-492 0284
Graduate Distance Education

Head of Distance Learning

Jennifer Schufer Director, Communication Marketing 303-492 2832 Jennifer.Schufer@Colorado.EDU
Graduate Distance Education Boulder CO 80309


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