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Natural Resources & Energy Policy

Congratulations to NREP Student Kayla Benson

Congratulations to Kayla Benson for being awarded the Outstanding Faculty Award for her service to the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers at Colorado School of Mines. She received the award at the annual Multicultural Engineering Program Banquet, April 23, 2024.  Congratulations, Kayla!

Congratulations to NREP Student Sol

Sol has been selected for a research assistantship at the Payne Institute this coming summer! From May to August, Sol will work alongside Dr. Nicole Smith and Dr. Aaron Malone on their research project investigating critical minerals and rare earth, with a specific focus on the social implications of their extraction in various regions.

Congratulations Sol!

Congratulations to NREP Student Christian Cerne

Christian has been selected the Colorado Science and Engineering Policy Fellowship.

The Colorado Science and Engineering Policy Fellowship provides STEM students with the opportunity to gain policy-making experience while contributing to enhancing representation of science and engineering backgrounds in public policy.  Students can establish valuable connections with prominent political and corporate leaders in Colorado. This platform offers an excellent opportunity for students to build a strong network.

Congratulations Christian!

Energy Equity In the Global North - By Professor Hancock and NREP Student Bobby Iseley

Congratulations to NREP Student Ella Baldwin

Congratulations to Ella Baldwin on accepting an offer to work as a consulting intern with Rystad Energy at their Houston office this summer. Rystad Energy is a leading independent energy research and business intelligence company, providing comprehensive insights and data-driven analysis to the global energy industry. She is looking forward to leveraging her international experience and knowledge gained through the NREP program in this role. 

Congratulation to NREP Student Carla Villalobos

Congratulations to Carla Villalobos in securing an internship as an Environmental Intern for the Kinross Gold Corporation in Round Mountain, Nevada (Summer 2023)

Congratulations to NREP Alumni Christian Gaona

Congratulations to Christian Gaona on getting his article, Securing Mineral Supply: Backwards Vertical Integration for Technology Companies, published in the Student Commentary Series at The Payne Institute of Public Policy. Christian is an NREP alumnus and currently pursuing a public policy degree at the Harris School of Public Policy, University of Chicago

Congratulations to NREP student Carla Villalobos

NREP Alumna Carla Villalobos Paz Soldan is an intern with Vulcan Materials Company, working in operations, quality control, sales, and finance. Congratulations, Carla!

M.S. in Natural Resources and Energy Policy (NREP)

Program Overview

NREP applies a multidisciplinary social science lens to natural resources and energy issues, teaching a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods, with a strong focus on original research, critical thinking, and written and oral communication.

Courses are offered in small seminar settings with excellent faculty to student ratios; most classes have 10-20 students. Our faculty will work with you to create the optimal education to meet your individual goals. The program is a 30 credit-hour program; it includes four core (required) courses, three HASS electives, one quantitative course, and two electives from any department.

Core and elective courses will generally have students from other programs on campus, helping link our course material to engineering programs where faculty and students work on technologies for renewable energy, fossil fuels, mining, hydrology and more.  Students typically complete the program in 3 semesters.

Our Students

Our classrooms are truly interdisciplinary, with students coming from a variety of academic backgrounds: engineering, social sciences, law, business, and humanities are all welcome.

We have a wide range of experiences in the classroom, from students who have just received their Bachelor’s to those with decades of work experience. Mid-career professionals may be looking for a career pivot, from domestic to international work, or from engineering to community outreach, policy, etc.  Or they may want to gain acumen for advancement from processing engineer to general manager; from general manager to executive. Ask your company for tuition support.

Currently enrolled Mines undergraduates, you should apply before you graduate to count two of your undergrad courses toward the Master’s degree. Make sure to take the undergraduate equivalent of our graduate courses for double-counting.

nREP-Related Careers

NREP prepares you for either of two career paths:

  • an engineering career with credentials that demonstrate you have the skills and knowledge to understand the social and political contexts in which engineers work, making you a standout job candidate and preparing you for a leadership role as general manager or executive manager.
  • a career that goes beyond engineering, such as a natural resources and energy expert with government, international development banks, and other related agencies; a social responsibility manager or human resources specialist in industry; or an employee with an advocacy organization such the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, Solar Energy Industries Association, or Western Resource Advocates.

How you use your degree depends on your academic and work background and your career goals. Some examples of our current alumni are:

Your faculty advisor, our Advisory Board members, internships, and Mines’ excellent Career Center will help you find the job that’s right for you.

Resources for NREP Students

Student Fellowships and Funding Opportunities

Department Awarded Funding

    • Teaching Assistant Positions:  Each semester, we offer about 10 teaching assistant positions, paid on an hourly basis. These are competitive and offered on a rolling basis. Professors may also hire research assistants with their own funding. For priority consideration, apply by January 15.
    • Fellowships: We offer merit-based fellowships of $5,000 to $20,000. For priority consideration, apply by January 15th. No additional application materials are needed.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

  • Applicants who apply early may be eligible for a paid fellowship with the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL). NREL also offers competitive paid internships.


  • Our students have held internships with the National Renewable Energy Lab, Congressional Research Service, United Nations, Platts Analytics and Energy Africa. Once accepted, students may apply through the Mines DiggerNet system for a wide variety of internships with energy, mining and engineering companies.

Other Financial Aid

Contact Us

For Prospective Student questions contact Dr. Derrick Hudson

Application Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree. All disciplines are welcome.
  • 3 letters of recommendation from professors or employers
  • Statement of purpose
  • TOEFL scores for international students: a minimum of 79 internet-based test (iBT) or 550 paper-based test (PBT).
  • The GRE is optional
  • Deadlines for Fall: US residents July 1;  International students March 1
  • Deadlines for Spring: US November 1;  International October 1
  • To be considered for a TA or Fellowship position, apply by January 15.

Combined BS-MS Program

Mines students: earn our MS degree in just one year. You can start completing the MS in NREP while earning your bachelor’s.  You will want to take 400-level HASS courses that count toward the degree, so sign up early!

What Students Say

“I chose Mines and the NREP program for the opportunity to study political science with a specific focus on water and renewable energy. Through a diverse array of courses, I have been able to dig deeper into water politics, renewable energy policy, environmental law, and sustainable mining practices. The program has also connected me with industry leaders, and helped me get an internship and job with the largest water utility in Colorado: Denver Water. With my NREP degree, I feel prepared for a career in the public sector.”

— Madelene McDonald

What Students Say

“One of the many reasons I really enjoy this program is that we have a mix of backgrounds in the room with engineers, scientists, social scientists, and humanities. With these different perspectives we constantly challenge each other’s assumptions, allowing us all to gain a better understanding of the situation at hand.”

– Gabe Stephens



Website Dr. Amery specializes in water politics and policy in the Middle East and North Africa, with a focus on threats to water and food security in the Arab World. Graduate courses: Global Water Politics & Policy, International Development (Middle East)


Website Dr. Battalora is an active member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Health, Safety, Security, Environment and Social Responsibility (HSSE-SR) Advisory Committee and the Sustainable Development Technical Section Steering Committee. Graduate courses: Environmental Law &  Sustainability

Elizabeth Van Wie DavisWebsite
Dr. Davis—who has lived and worked in Asia for many years—initially focused her academic research on Chinese energy policy and the environment, though it has expanded to other parts of Asia, including field work and publications on Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, and Korea. Graduate courses: Energy & Security Policy, International Development (Asia)
Tina GianquittoWebsite
Dr. Gianquitto is interested in examining the intellectual and aesthetic experience of nature for women in nineteenth-century America and investigating the linguistic, perceptual, and scientific systems that were available to women to describe those experiences. 
Graduate courses: Available for independent studies.

Kathleen HancockWebsite Dr. Hancock specializes in politics of renewable energy, African energy, and Russia and Eurasia. Graduate courses: Natural Resources & Energy Policy: Theories and Practice, Political Risk Assessment, Energy Politics

Derrick HudsonWebsite
Dr. Hudson specializes in African natural resources and development, renewable energy strategies in Africa, and social justice issues and development in Africa.

Graduate courses: International Development (Africa)
Adrianne KroepschWebsite
Dr. Kroepsch studies environmental governance in the American West and has active research projects on water, unconventional oil and gas, and wildfire.
Graduate courses: U.S. Water Politics & Policy, Environmental Communication
Jon LeydensWebsite
Dr. Leydens specializes in engineering education research that looks at how stakeholders leverage communication and social justice to transform and challenge educational practices and the engineering profession.
Graduate courses: Available for independent studies.
Shannon MancusDr. Mancus’s expertise revolves around environmental communication and the performance of environmentalist identities in popular culture.
Graduate courses: Environmental Communication
Ken OsgoodWebsite
Dr. Osgood specializes in U.S. political and diplomatic history, as well as the history of intelligence and propaganda.
Graduate courses: Available for independent studies.
Dr. Smith specializes in artisanal and small-scale mining, sustainable development and energy and extractive industries, corporate social responsibility, and engineering education.

Graduate courses: Energy, Natural Resources & Society 
Jay StrakerWebsite
Dr. Straker specializes in changing experiences and representations of youth in West Africa.
Graduate courses: Available for independent studies.

Core Courses

All students take four core courses: Natural Resources & Energy Policy; Environmental Law & Sustainability; Energy, Natural Resources, and Society; and Political Risk Assessment. They select three additional HASS courses from the electives list and one quantitative skills course; options are listed below.  The remaining two electives can be taken from any department. For the quantitative skills class, with the program director’s prior approval, students may take an online or in-person course from another university that is equivalent to those offered at Mines.

For descriptions of core and elective courses, see the graduate catalog: https://catalog.mines.edu/graduate/programs/HASS/

Natural Resources & Energy Policy: Theories and Practice (HASS 593) – Fall

This course introduces students to the policy-making process, drawing on a variety of theoretical approaches, geographic locations (within the US and in other countries), and resources and energy issues. Coordinated by the NREP Graduate Director, speakers will be from HASS, Economics and Business, Petroleum Engineering, Mining, and other departments with policy expertise, as well as from others who influence and create public and private policy. In the second half of the course, students will conduct original research projects that focus on natural resources and energy, applying theoretical frameworks they have learned from the speakers.

Environmental Law & Sustainability (PEGN 530) – Fall

In this course, students will be introduced to the fundamental legal principles that are relevant to sustainable engineering project development. General principles of United States (U.S.) environmental regulation pertaining to air quality, water quality, waste management, hazardous substances remediation, regulation of chemical manufacture and distribution, natural resources, and energy will be discussed in parallel with international treaties, and conventions pertaining to environmental protection and human rights. In the context of engineering project design, students will explore legal, societal, and ethical risks, and risk mitigation methodologies.

Energy, Natural Resources & Society (MNGN 571) – Spring

This is a graduate course that applies a social science lens to understanding the intersections between energy and mineral developments and communities. In this course, we will examine these intersections through a case study approach that includes directed readings, such as ethnographies and peer-reviewed journal articles, and that incorporates student-led discussions and research projects. By exploring various development initiatives, such as oil and gas, mining, wind, solar, nuclear, hydropower, and geothermal, students will gain a comprehensive understanding of the energy-mineral-society nexus and the role communities play in both furthering and limiting these developments.


Uses social science analytical tools and readings as well as indices prepared by organizations, such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, to create assessments of the political, social, economic, environmental and security risks that multinational corporations may face as they expand operations around the world. Students will develop detailed political risk reports for specific countries that teams collectively select. Prerequisite: LAIS 545 and IPE Minor. 3 hours seminar; 3 semester hours.

Three HASS courses from the electives list

See options in the Electives list.

Quantitative Methods

Select one.  These may also be used for the two additional electives. (These courses teach quantitative methods. There are many other courses that use quantitative methods, but do not teach them. Only the following are approved for the methods course.) Life Cycle Assessment and GIS are usually taught on-line.  

  • Life Cycle Assessment (CEEN 501)
  • Econometrics I (EBGN590)
  • Geological Data Analysis (GEGN532)
  • Applications of Geographical Information Systems (GEGN575)
  • Introduction To Statistical Methods (MATH530)
  • Mine Risk Management (MNGN565)


The following courses qualify for the required three HASS electives and the two additional electives from any department. There are no required tracks. In addition, students can request the Director’s approval for relevant HASS 498 and HASS 598 (special topics) courses.  Students may also take an independent study (599) with HASS or other faculty. Independent studies are between a faculty member and one or more students and are generally meant to cover topics not covered in existing classes or for more in-depth research. Up to two electives may be at the 400-level (advanced undergraduate). Be sure to check with the relevant professor on pre-requisites for courses outside of the HASS department.

Electives by Focus Areas

Students may opt to take courses within a focus area in order to demonstrate a particular expertise. Alternatively, students may select across the focus areas to demonstrate breadth. Other Mines graduate programs may offer a minor in their area. Consult with the relevant program to learn what courses they require for a minor.

Energy, Water, and the Environment


  • CEEN 573 Reclamation of Disturbed Lands
  • CEEN 574 Solid Waste Minimization and Recycling
  • CEEN 575 Hazard Waste Site Remediation
  • CEEN 576 Pollution Prevention: Fundamentals and Practice
  • CEEN 501 Life Cycle Analysis (Online)
  • CEEN 591 Environmental Project Management
  • CEEN 593 Environmental Permitting and Regulatory Compliance
  • EBGN 537 Water Economics
  • EBGN 570 Environmental Economics
  • GEGN 466 Groundwater Engineering
  • GEGN 585 Fluid Mechanics for Hydrology
  • HASS 498B Sustainability, Extraction, and Governance
  • HASS 521 Environmental Philosophy
  • HASS 525 Environmental Communication
  • HASS 565 Science, Technology & Society
  • HASS 568 Environmental Justice
  • HASS 584 U.S. Water Politics & Policy
  • HASS 587 Environmental Politics and Policy
  • HASS 588 Global Water Politics & Policy
  • HASS 591 Energy Politics
  • HASS 592 Energy and Security Policy
  • HASS 598D Energy Equity
International Development and Global Issues
  • HASS 535 International Development: May be taken up to three times for different regions (Asia, Africa, Latin America, Middle East, Eurasia)
  • HASS 541 African Development
  • HASS 558 Natural Resources and Development
  • HASS 591 Energy Politics
  • HASS 592 Energy and Security Policy


  • CEEN 556 Mining and the Environment
  • EBGN 521 Microeconomics of Mineral and Energy Markets
  • EBGN 535  Economics of Metal Industries and Markets
  • GEOL 514 Business of Economic Geology
  • GEGN 532 Geological Data Analysis
  • MNGN 501 Regulatory Mining Laws and Contracts
  • MNGN 503 Mining Technology for Sustainable Development
  • MNGN 510 Fundamentals of Mining and Mineral Resource Development
  • MNGN 540 Clean Coal Technology
  • MNGN 562 Mining Environmental and Social Responsibility
  • MNGN 565 Mine Risk Management
  • MNGN 567 Sustainable Development and Earth Resources
Business, Economics, and Energy Analytics
  • EBGN 509 Mathematical Economics
  • EBGN 510 Natural Resource Economics
  • EBGN 521 Microeconomics of Mineral and Energy Markets
  • EBGN 530 Economics of International Energy Markets
  • EBGN 535  Economics of Metal Industries and Market
  • EBGN 537 Water Economics
  • EBGN 570 Environmental Economics
  • EBGN 590 Econometrics I
  • EBGN 594 Time-Series Econometrics
  • EBGN 632 Primary Fuels
  • GEOL 514 Business of Economic Geology
  • MATH 530 Introduction to Statistical Methods
  • Courses approved for Quantitative Methods may also be taken as electives
Science and Risk Communication
  • HASS 415 Mass Media Studies
  • HASS 416 Film Studies
  • HASS 425 Intercultural Communication
  • HASS 427 Risk Communication
  • HASS 523 Advanced Science Communication
  • HASS 525 Environmental Communication 
  • HASS 527 Risk Communication
Professional Development

Note: one credit hour

  • LICM 501 Professional Oral Communication
  • SYGN 501 Research Skills for Graduate Students
  • SYGN 502 Introduction to Research Ethics
  • SYGN 503 Tools for Success: Integrating into the Mines Community

Graduate Minor

A 9 credit-hour minor for graduate students pursuing degrees in other Mines academic units. Please contact either a HASS faculty member with whom you are interested in working or the director of the HASS graduate program. The Graduate Minor must be approved by the student’s graduate committee and by the HASS department.

Certificate in Natural Resources & Energy Policy

Designed to be completed in a single semester, or over two semesters for part-time students, the Certificate in Natural Resources & Energy Policy (NREP) is a 9 credit-hour program affiliated with the MS in NREP.  To earn the certificate, students must take two of the five required courses for the Master’s program plus an elective to be approved by the NREP Director.