Archive for Energy and Environment

Course Recommendations by Concentration and Specialization

If you’re in NYC and have some time to visit SIPA, sit in on a class! As some of you have read in my self-introduction, the class I sat in on way back in Spring 2017 was what made me send in that deposit and come to SIPA. Here are some second-year students’ recommendations for which classes to sit in by concentration and some specializations! While not all of these classes may be available for Spring 2019, this is a good framework to consider what you want to explore.

CONCENTRATION

Economic and Political Development

“As an EPD student specializing in Sub-Saharan Africa, I vividly recommend Yvette Christianse’s “Unheard Voices” class. Professor Christianse manages to blend emotions and knowledge. She listens to and cares about all her students. Attending this class enables you to combine creative writing with literary reviews. Contrarily to previous “African” classes I attended, Yvette Christianse manages to make a distinction between all Sub-Saharan African states and to develop strong arguments on each region, while remaining intrinsically open-minded about students’ perspectives and opinions.” — Claire Pictet

Energy and Environment

“I would definitely recommend ‘INAF U6326: Renewable Energy Project Finance Modelling.’ It’s a 1.5 credit course that does not require a finance background. The course-load is heavy, but definitely a worthwhile learning experience. Students can gain a snapshot of the contracts, financial models and risks associated with renewable infrastructure projects. The financial modelling skills are very practical and marketable for various careers opportunities in the energy sector.” — Katie Choi

Human Rights and Humanitarian Policy

“I would recommend ‘Politics of History and Reconciliation’ with Professor Barkan. The class is about historical memory and the extent to which it plays a role in grappling with atrocities and human rights abuses. Sessions are always very animated, and almost every topic we look at– from collective trauma, to the interplay between court cases and historical records– inspires real-time reflection and debate. It is also a great class to take if you want to take a look at human rights and their violations over time from an unorthodox perspective.” – Amir Khouzam

International Finance and Economic Policy

“For IFEP students interested in taking specific regional banking class, i would recommend taking up ‘European Banking INAF 6021’ with Prof. Irene Finel-Honigman. Professor Honigman provides great insight into European banking history with her vast knowledge on the region. The class will consist of weekly discussions on specific European countries and their banking industry. There will also be a few cases on the large European banks and how they are crucial to the world economy. And if you are lucky enough, there are several guest speakers that come to the class to further enrich the students’ knowledge.” — Panji Caraka Djani

International Security Policy

“‘Methods of Defense Analysis (U6825): Defense Policy Analysis’ is one of the most important skills sought by employers in the Defense and Security sector. The Methods of Defense Analysis course is designed to teach students the skills necessary to handle the responsibilities of an entry-level defense analyst within the government as well as think-tanks. The course emphasizes research design and defense analysis methodologies and throughout the course, students will conduct a number of case studies published by various think-tanks. The course also affords students an opportunity to apply the basics of quantitative analysis to a course relevant to the ISP concentration. Of equal importance, the course professor, Dr. Stephen Biddle, is an accomplished academic and an amazing professor that makes a tough subject enjoyable.” — Clayton J. Dixon

Urban and Social Policy

“One of the more unique courses at SIPA, ‘GIS For International Studies’ helps students develop practical skills with Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Global Positioning Systems (GPS), and remote sensing technologies. The class is fairly hands on and has some real applications for policy analysis and practices at global and also regional levels. Particularly recommended for those interested in land use, population trends, and urban planning.” — Molly Dow

SPECIALIZATION

Gender and Public Policy

“‘HPMN P8578 Money, Politics & Law: Public Health & Abortion: I chose the course because I had no context or knowledge of abortion policy in the United States beyond what I’d read in the media, or what I knew about Roe V. Wade. The class was incredi’bly informative and probably one of the best classes I took at Columbia. The history of abortion policy extends far beyond Roe. V. Wade and the course explored every aspect of abortion policy from a political and legal perspective. I highly recommend this course, though it is only offered in the Fall semester. I loved the class so much I briefly considered going to law school because of it (very briefly).” — Niara Valério

International Organization & UN Studies

“The class (‘Governance and Management in the UN System (INAF U8560)’) taught by Professor Bruce Jenks exposed me to the managerial and administrative aspects of the United Nations. It was an eye-opening class for me that offered more realistic views on the Organization’s function and working methods. It also forced me to think about innovative and feasible ways to transform the UN to respond to today’s complex challenges worldwide. With his incredible expertise, knowledge, and experience having worked in UNDP, Professor Jenks provides honest perspectives on the future of the UN–and multilateralism–in this class. And I believe this class is one of the most critical classes for anyone aspiring to work for a multilateral organization to take to think beyond theories and to prepare themselves to tackle real-life challenges in a practical manner.” — June Ban

Technology, Media, and Communications

“The Technology, Media and Communications Specialization provides students several different paths to study the increasingly relevant and headline defining policy issues connected to how technology is impacting our media and politics. For those interested in cyber-security issues, a great way to be introduced to the topic is through Professor Healy’s ‘Dynamics of Cyber Power and Conflict,’ where he teaches about the national security threats, challenges, and policy responses to a major cyber incident. Additionally, for students interested in media and communications, ‘Media Campaigning and Social Change,’ taught by Professor Anya Schiffrin, the director of the program, examines how media, social media and NGOs can take on a campaigning role in raising awareness about social problems and holding authorities accountable.” — Shalaka Joshi

Class visits for the Spring 2019 semester are now open, and you can sign up here! This blog post may help you with decoding SIPA courses.

Energy & Environment Concentration Q&A

We’re just about halfway through our SIPA Concentration Webinar Series, where each Concentration Director gives an overview of their area of study, what they look for in strong SIPA candidates, and answer questions about their concentration. Professor David Sandalow and Concentration Manager Elora Ditton took the time to answer some extra questions about the Energy & Environment concentration from prospective students:

Q: Do you think the policy nature of the program would be valuable to someone who does not want to commit to only in the public sector? Are there any components of the program that address business concepts in energy and how they interact with policy?
A: Absolutely. Our graduates are equally employed by the private and public sectors. Particularly when studying energy and environment, it’s important to consider policy, business, technology and science and the interactions of these sectors. As such, our curriculum focuses on giving students a comprehensive understanding of how all the key stakeholders interact, while giving students the flexibility to cater the curriculum to their specific interests.

A handful of EE students come into the program looking for employment in the private sector, specific to energy. These students tend to take courses on financial modeling and markets related to energy, and intern at financial institutions or consulting firms.

With this said, you can’t work in energy and not know the regulatory policies that affect business decisions, and similarly, you can’t work in policy and not consider markets or the financial tools needed to fund projects/infrastructure. Considering this, though we are a policy school, many courses apply concepts from business/finance to energy issues.

Q: What are some of the career outcomes of SIPA EE graduates? Especially some of the climate policy graduates – do you see the majority of them working in NGOs, industry, finance, directly in governments, or some combination of these post-graduation?
A: A mix, particularly since we offer a broad range of courses which allows students to tweak the curriculum based on their career objectives.

For example, if a student knew they wanted to work in energy finance, we have a lot of courses specific to this (e.g. corporate finance, renewable energy project finance, international energy finance), so many of the students who go down this track end up in private sector jobs. If a student wants to focus in climate policy, we have equally the number of courses and opportunities here (e.g. climate change policy, environmental conflict resolution, environmental economics). These students might apply to be EDF fellows for an internship and may end up in local/federal government and/or NGO positions post-SIPA.

In other words, where students end up post-SIPA is largely determined by what their focus is during their time here. A benefit of SIPA EE is that we have the courses/curriculum to support a broad range of interests and outcomes. It also depends on if students are trying to stay in the U.S. or are going to work internationally (particularly for placement in government and the political landscape for climate policy).

Here are a few examples of recent employers: Rystad Energy, NYSERDA, International Finance Corporation, Connecticut Green Bank, Lazard, Bloomberg, Citibank, UNDP, The World Bank, Deloitte, Accenture, McKinsey & Company, ICF, ConEdison, GE, PG & E, EDF, the Earth Institute, the Nature Conservancy, WWF, ExxonMobil, CohnReznick Capital, Powerbridge, US DOE, USDS, and more…

Q: Hi there, can you talk about how the EE concentration would vary from the MPA-DP program? How does it break down within the MPA and MIA tracks? On a different note, I notice many policy professionals have a law degree. Please convince me that SIPA is a better option! Thanks so much!
A: The MPA-DP program is going to give you more exposure to hard sciences while EE focuses more on quantitative skills (e.g. economics, financial modeling, etc.). There will be more flexibility to fine-tune the curriculum to your interests in the MIA/MPA track whereas the DP curriculum is pretty set.

MIA/MPA gives you tools to design, incentivize, implement, and assess policies so you have more flexibility in application of the degree over a law degree, which is going to give you a very specific skill set. It really depends on your career goals and what you think makes the most sense for you.

Also, you can take law classes as a SIPA student! Environmental Law, for example, counts towards our EE policy requirement.

Q: Can you talk about SIPA Energy and Environment concentration as it relates specifically to energy in international development?
A: SIPA in general offers many courses in international economic and political development, and in EE, you will consider sustainability and other geopolitical and security issues related to energy and the environment.

Q: Is it difficult to catch up in SIPA for the Science and engineering part? I have not been exposed to professional undergraduate environment and energy knowledge.
A: Nope! We have many career switchers where this is their first exposure to energy and/or environment. Our classes are designed to give you the basic technical and topical foundation to address energy and environment with a policy and/or business application. With that said, since we are a policy school, though some of our courses expose you to science and technology, none of our courses are solely in the hard sciences or engineering (though you have access to these types of courses through the other schools at Columbia).


Two Admissions reminders for you Fall 2019 applicants:

1. It’s less than a month until the January 5th application deadline, and we have a few more admissions information sessions before then:

2. For those who want to hear straight from the Concentration Directors, here are the final webinars coming up:

A look at ‘Energy Systems Fundamentals’

Last semester I took Energy Systems Fundamentals, or ESF for short, with Professor of Professional Practice Travis Bradford*. Read More →

"The most global public policy school, where an international community of students and faculty address world challenges."

—Merit E. Janow, Dean, SIPA, Professor of Practice, International and Economic Law and International Affairs

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