- Certificate Overview
- Certificate Requirements
- Executive Course
What is the GEDS Certificate?
A multidisciplinary certification that:
- Provides the analytical tools and frameworks necessary for assessing and addressing the long-term social, economic, and environmental impacts of oil and gas projects.
- Introduces “best-practices” for creating energy projects that benefit all stakeholders (communities, companies, governments) in developing nations and new production regions.
- Teaches students the historical and structural origins of the “Natural Resource Curse” as it manifests in different regions of
globe, and how to plan for and mitigate its effects.
Because the technical expertise of companies and governments has traditionally been focused on the efficient discovery and extraction of oil and gas resources, the skills required for developing energy projects that are sustainable and beneficial to all stakeholders (communities, companies, and governments alike) have not always been prioritized in training for an oil and gas career.
The Graduate Certificate in Global Energy, Development, and Sustainability (GEDS) provides students with such skills, imparting them through a unique, multi-disciplinary curriculum focused on the petroleum industry and its impact on societies. Classes are designed and taught by UH faculty and local/international energy experts with long academic, industry, and civil society/NGO experience. The certificate is one-of-a-kind, providing critical and timely knowledge, theory, and skill sets from fields such as business, economics, global oil and gas history, anthropology, environmental law/policy, international petroleum law, human rights law, political science, industrial occupational psychology, human resource management, corporate social responsibility, and risk analysis.
The GEDS Certificate is of benefit to those working or intending to work in the energy sector - including industry professionals, government officials and regulators, members of civil society or NGO activist/policy groups, energy consultants and financial advisors. Graduate students who are interested in energy, sustainability, and global or domestic energy policy are invited to apply as well.
Join us as we work to chart a course for a sustainable energy future, one that will benefit all stakeholders and help navigate the transitions to come!
What types of knowledge will I gain, and how will it improve my professional skills?
- Best practices for achieving local content strategies and compliance, developing culturally-appropriate training and development programs.
- Understanding of diverse energy histories and operating standards of oil and gas-producing nations around the globe.
- How company and government actions impact the country/community/environment, and techniques for establishing stronger partnerships.
- An introduction to the politics, history, cultures, and social values of specific oil-producing peoples/regions.
- Tools necessary for understanding industry and government economics, production sharing agreements and concession requirements, fiscal terms and policies, transparency and disclosure.
- The legal frameworks and provisions of host-government contracts and national laws, the efficacy of industry-created Codes of Conduct, and the impact of international organizations and operating guidelines.
- Certificate seekers must complete 9 units (126 coursework hours in class and online) from GEDS course offerings. Courses are team-taught by multi-disciplinary UH academics, energy industry, environmental and civil society specialists. Hybrid courses are offered as 3 unit credits (and occasionally 1.5 unit credits). Open enrollment is available (complete certificate over three years).
- Applicants may include professionals (industry, civil society, government, etc.), graduate students, and UH advanced undergraduates (not certificate-eligible, must meet additional application requirements).
- International Students must have completed a 4-year undergraduate degree (or equivalent) and must obtain their own
a F1(student) or other applicable visa.
Three annual GEDS options:
- Full Semester Certificate: Coincides with regular academic semesters including 1-3 course offerings per semester.
- Executive Certificate: 3-week intensive course plan (32-40 hours/week). The plan is offered 1-2 times per academic year with a floating schedule.
- Custom Certificate: Adapted
forspecific client’s needs offered domestically or internationally for 10 or more participants. Contact the Associate Director.
The Graduate Certificate in Global Energy, Development, and Sustainability (GEDS) in conjunction with Energy, environment and Natural Resource Center (EENR) of the University of Houston Law Center is offering courses every semester including:
LAW 5397 / ILAS 6397 (3 units)
Promoting Sustainability in Oil and Gas: Legal and Social Frameworks
An interdisciplinary, legal and social science approach trains students to critically identify, analyze, and problem-solve key challenges and opportunities for sustainable development in oil and gas extraction. With a focus on the impact of these activities in developed and developing nations, this course addresses stakeholder priorities and interactions including host communities, civil society organizations, the private sector (international oil and gas, service, and support companies), and the public sector (local, regional, and national governments). Topics addressed: petroleum contracts; cultural issues including ethnicity/identity/power, international “soft law” codes of conduct developed by non-government organizations (NGOs), industry, and the United Nations that most impact human rights and social/environmental issues; formal and informal regulations by courts, arbitrators, and industry trade groups; gender, religion, health, and the role of international law, U.S. extraterritorial law, and host government laws; civil society demands on international oil companies (IOCs) and in-country alliances. Also addresses on-going litigation against IOCs for failure to implement good practices. In short, the course prepares you to build successful, long-term sustainable partnerships in host countries.
LAW 5398 / GEDS 6397 (3 units)
Corporate Social Responsibility and Energy in Asia
Welcome to the independent study course on Corporate Social Responsibility and Energy in Asia. In this course, you will gain skills to critically identify and analyze key challenges, opportunities and good practices in the extraction of oil and gas in Asia. We will use social science, legal, and economic/business tools to survey development initiatives by Asian operators in extractive countries. We will focus on how Asian oil and gas operators employ corporate social responsibility concepts to impact corporate image, home societies, and producer communities. Given that China has only adopted CSR as a national policy in 2006, we will analyze emergent Chinese and Asian CSR models and interventions. We will contrast Asian approaches with their Western counterparts.
Law 5397 / GEDS 6397 (3 units)
Global Service and Procurement Agreements in the Oil and Gas Sector
Managing sustainable performance can fill operational and contractual gaps in the oil and gas sector that, in turn, help drive outcomes to benefit al I stakeholders. This course provides an overview of oil company/contractor relationships, impacts on compliance and local content, typical contract terms, financial implications, project finance, and best practices/new trends developing around integrated service contracts.
* GEDS courses taught in the LAW school are open to non-law graduate students and working professionals. Please contact GEDS for information on enrollment.
GEDS Courses Regularly Offered
Note: to earn a
GEDS 6300 – (3 units)
Foundations: Understanding the Natural Resource Curse (Theory and Practice)
With a focus on skill required for developing sustainable oil and gas projects, this course provides a foundational understanding of: global energy history and markets; case studies, theories, histories, and causes of the “Natural Resource Curse”; basic types of petroleum/gas agreements, legal structures, and project economics; the importance understanding of local cultures, histories, business styles in implementing sustainable energy policy/projects.
GEDS 6310 (3 units)
Promoting Sustainability in Oil and Gas: Legal and Social Frameworks
An interdisciplinary, legal and social science approach trains students to critically identify, analyze, and problem-solve key challenges and opportunities for sustainable
GEDS 6320 (3 units)
Promoting Sustainable Oil and Gas Projects: Petroleum Agreements, Regulations, and Economics
GEDS 6330 (3 units)
Promoting Sustainable Oil and Gas Projects: Local Content, Communities, and Corporate Social Responsibility
Introduces/analyzes current best practices to ensure sustainable benefits for local employees, communities, businesses, broader society, economy. Topics may include: organizational behavior/human resource management models for improving local content (recruitment, retention, promotion within companies); barriers to local company formation/success in oil sector – how International Oil Companies (IOCs), Non-government organizations (NGOs), oilfield service companies, governments can assist in overcoming; methods for consulting with local communities/avoiding conflict; environmental impacts on host communities and local economies; case studies and lessons learned
GEDS 6397: (3 units)
Selected Topics in Global Energy, Development, and Sustainability
Courses Cross-Listed with GEDS
Note: these courses can replace an official GEDS course for purposes of earning the GEDS Certificate.
GENB 7397 Sec. 27628, Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainability
Note: this is a course offered in Bauer Business School
This course provides students with a basic understanding of the various aspects of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Social Performance in the Energy Industry, primarily studying these concepts in Oil & Gas across the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors. CSR has been interpreted in different ways over the last forty years, but it generally is a phrase used to discuss “non-economic” responsibilities outside of legal or regulatory requirements. These have included community relations, self-regulation of environmental issues beyond existing laws, contributions to economic development in less developed nations and numerous other initiatives. Over time CSR has become an important part of
For enrollment assistance and navigating the application process, including step by step instructions, please contact the GEDS Associate Director, Dr. Rebecca Golden Timsar.
Two enrollment options are available to all applicants:
- UH Graduate School: This GEDS certificate option is for those professionals and students seeking transcript credits. For current UH students, courses may count towards degree electives. Contact your graduate advisor or GEDS Associate Director for assistance.
Applicationprocess may take several months for international applicants. All certificates issued by the UH Graduate School.
- Continuing Studies/Open Enrollment: For professionals and students seeking the GEDS certificate and rapid enrollment. Transcript credits through the UH Graduate School are not issued with Continuing Studies. Instead, Continuing Studies Units (CEUs) are provided.
Applicationprocess can be completed in a few days for domestic and international students. All certificates issued by UH GEDS.
The GEDS Graduate Certificate is offered through the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS).
Because UH is a state school, you must provide proof of residence when you apply and there is a difference in costs charged by the Graduate School. If you are a resident of Texas, you should apply as a resident. If you are an out-of-state or international resident, applicants should apply as non-Texas residents.
The cost for in-state residents is approximately $500 per credit
All US resident applicants must complete their applications one month before the first day of class. International applicants must complete their applications two months before the first day of class.
Continuing Education courses are charged at the same rate whether you are a Texas resident, an out-of-state resident, or an international student. All students that enroll through Continuing Studies are charged $1,000 per credit
All Continuing Studies applicants must complete their applications one month before the first day of class, which includes a personal statement and a curriculum vitae sent directly to the Associate Director.
The Graduate Certificate in Global Energy, Development, and Sustainability (GEDS) can be earned through an accelerated Executive Session over a 3-week period. GEDS Executive Sessions are generally offered in the Spring of each year. Participants are required to attend class 35-40 hours per week and will receive an official
Please note: In many
For more information on GEDS Executive session, or to enroll, please contact the Associate Director, Dr. Rebecca Golden Timsar.
2018 Course Dates: May 7 to May 25, 2018
Pricing for the GEDS Executive Course*
GEDS Executive Courses (intensive, non-credit):
On-Site at the University of Houston:
$7,000 per student
$6,000 for 6 or more students
Off-Site: (5 student minimum; please note that pricing is an estimate for information only - costs may be higher/lower based on location)
$10,000 per student
$ 8,500 for 6 or more students
*Early bird and group discounts available
Student Resources: Graduate School Admissions | Continuing Education Admissions | UH Academic Calendar
Office: AH 526
Dr. Kairn Klieman is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Houston and the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Graduate Certificate in Global Energy, Development, and sustainability.
Klieman is a specialist in African history, a Fulbright Scholar, and a former Peace Corps volunteer (Zaire, 1984-1986) with many years experience in Africa. She received her Ph.D. from UCLA in 1997, where her work focused on pre-colonial Africa and the reconstruction of history through comparative historical linguistics.
Her first book, entitled “The Pygmies Were Our Compass”: Bantu and Batwa in the History of West Central Africa, 3000 B.C.E. to 1900 C.E., was a finalist for the Herskovitz Award 2004 (top prize in the field) and a Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2004. She has received numerous prestigious grants and fellowships (Fulbright-Hayes, Social Science Research Council, Belgian-American Foundation, The West African Research Association, Humanities Research Center at Rice University), and received the University of Houston Teaching Excellence Award in 2007.
Upon moving to Houston, Dr. Klieman shifted her focus to the history of oil in Africa. She is currently working a book entitled Before the “Curse”: Petroleum, Politics and U.S. Oil Companies in the Gulf of Guinea, Africa, 1890s-1980s. The work chronicles the political and economic impact of international oil companies in sub-Saharan Africa across the long 20
Klieman has delivered lectures and papers on the subject of African oil history at locations across the globe, including for the U.S. State Department, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The University of Ibadan, Nigeria, The Rachel Carson Center, Munich, The University of Oklahoma, Rice University, Texas A&M, Brown University, and Boston University.
Office: M 320
Tom Mitro is Co-Director of the Graduate Certificate in Global Energy, Development and Sustainability at the University of Houston. He is a specialist in all aspects of petroleum financial, commercial and government-related activities. Mr. Mitro’s primary areas of academic focus are petroleum industry activities, risks, laws
For the last 10
Since 2014 Mr. Mitro has been assisting the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (“CCSI”) as a contributor on policy documents, instructor of extractive courses and co-author of CCSI’s open fiscal model for natural gas upstream, pipeline and LNG developments. He was named a Senior Fellow of CCSI in 2016.
In 2007, Tom co-founded Indego Africa, a non-governmental organization that provides business management training and expanded market access for women’s co-operatives in Rwanda and more recently, in Ghana (2015).
Previously, Mr. Mitro worked for 30 years for Gulf Oil and Chevron in several senior management positions living in Nigeria, Angola, Papua New Guinea, UK
Tom Mitro holds a B.S. in Business Administration and M.A. in Economics degrees from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, USA.
Office: M 332
Dr. Rebecca Golden Timsar is the Associate Director of the Graduate Certificate in Global Energy, Development, and Sustainability (GEDS). She holds a
Dr. Golden Timsar has developed specific expertise in human security and program design and management of emergency responses to violence. She is an international consultant and has conducted emergency and community-based assessments for a number of conflict and public health challenges, has managed the daily security of international and national teams, has designed monitoring and evaluation protocols, and has led interventions in the world’s most challenging environments. She has co-edited more than a dozen MSF publications on crises in countries such as Chechnya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kosovo, and Rwanda. She continues to serve as an editor on the “Speaking Out Case Study” editorial committee for MSF International in Paris, France.
In terms of extractive industries research and expertise, Dr. Golden Timsar focuses on petrol violence, youth, health, subversive oil and gas activities, gender, religion, and contemporary African society. Her current work is concentrated on concepts of post-conflict masculinity, oil theft, and social contestation among the Ijaw of Nigeria. A recent publication, “Oil, Masculinity, & Violence: Egbesu Worship in the Niger Delta,” (2015) is centered on power, youth, and religion during the armed struggle against oil companies and the Nigerian government (1997-2010).
Dr. Golden Timsar has delivered invited lectures and papers on the subject of extractive violence, security, and health at locations across the globe, including the Keynote Speaker for the “Extractive Industries and Health Conference” Médecins sans Frontières Geneva; The Niger Delta University in Bayelsa State, Nigeria; the Harrison Program on the Future Global Agenda, University of Maryland: College Park; Louisiana State University; Rice University; and Wichita State University’s Jackman Lecture Series
October 4, 2018
Call for Papers Deadline August 15, 2018
GEDS co-hosts the 2018 Caribbean Energy Policy, Societies, and Law Conference at the University of West Indies, Trinidad, St. Augustine Campus.
The Graduate Certificate in Global Energy, Development, and Sustainability (GEDS), in collaboration with the Faculty of Law, UWI St. Augustine Campus will host a one-day conference on the past, present, and future of energy policy and its impacts on societies in the region. Academics, industry, non-profit, and local community members are invited to attend. The event is co-sponsored by the Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Center (EENR) at UH Law Center, and the Institute of Gender and Development Studies (IGDS), UWI St. Augustine.
For questions please contact Dr. Rebecca Golden Timsar: email@example.com
African Studies Association Annual Conference
November 29-December 1, 2018
Panel: “Re-Theorizing the “Resource Curse” in an Age of Energy Transitions: Case Studies from Africa and the Caribbean”
The GEDS directors Dr. Kairn Klieman, Mr. Tom Mitro, and Dr. Rebecca Golden Timsar will join Dr. Stephen E. Armah (Ashesi University College, Ghana) and Dr. Ryan Jobson (University of Chicago) to present.
July, 2018: Tom Mitro's LLM Class in Nairobi Kenya
GEDS Co-Director, Mr. Tom Mitro was invited to teach a week-long course at Strathmore University Law School in Nairobi, Kenya on Decision Analysis in Petroleum. The course is part of a special oil and gas LLM program designed to prepare Kenyan lawyers to effectively participate in their nascent petroleum sector. As part of his course, Mr. Mitro developed an economics model for the students based on the Kenya PSA in order to demonstrate the impacts of oil and gas investments on investors, lenders, national oil companies, governments and civil society.
June 6-8, 2018: Learning from Energy History: Education, Dissemination, and Access to Memory, Hosted by The European Oil and Gas Archives Network (EOGAN)
Kairn Klieman, Conference Presenter: “Teaching ‘Liberal Arts Thinking’ through the Energy Humanities: Methods for Imparting Analytical Skills That Can Help Transform American Ideas about Energy.”
May 2, 2018: EmPowering Africa Roundtable Hosted by The U.S. Bilateral African Chamber of Commerce and the Graduate Certificate in Global Energy, Development, and Sustainability (GEDS), University of Houston
The roundtable is an occasion for energy leaders to discuss opportunities in the energy and power sector in Africa, panelists include Sean Long, CEO of Endeavor Energy, Albert Osueke Energy Advisor at Power Africa, Fisoye Delano, CEO of Delphi Ventura, Professor Adeola Adekinju from the Centre for Petroleum.
November 20, 2017: Dr. Philip Olayoku on “Oil in the ‘Mix’ of Resurgency” University of Houston’s Graduate Certificate in Global Energy, Sustainability, and Development Guest Speaker Event
Dr. Philip Ademola Olayoku is a specialist on rural violence and conflict resolution in the West African context. He publishes on the use of political inclusion models, the role of non-state policing activities, ethnic profiling around conflict in the media, and Sino-Nigerian relations. Dr. Olayoku has received numerous prestigious awards, including The African Studies Presidential Fellow Award (2017), The Harry Frank Guggenheim Young Africa Scholar Award (2015), and the French Institute for Research in Africa Fellowship (2014).
April 5, 2017: "Sour Apples: The Pleasures and Paradoxes of Climate Change in Iceland,"
Jón Gnarr is the 2017 Visiting Artist at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts, UH. Gnarr was born in 1967 in Reykjavík. He formed the Best Party in 2009 and became the mayor of Reykjavík in 2010. His acting work includes the movies The Icelandic Dream and A Man Like Me and the television series The Night Shift, which aired on BBC4. In 2014, at the end of Gnarr’s mayoral term, the Best Party will be dissolved. Its members, however, have formed a new political party: Bright Future, which in 2013 won six seats in the Icelandic parliament.
UT Austin’s Annual Africa Conference Oil and (In)Dependence in Africa: Strategies for Rupturing Economic Inequities – Past, Present, and Future.
March 31-April 2: GEDS Panel and Discussion with Rebecca Golden Timsar, Kairn Klieman, Tom Mitro, Doyin Oluntona
It is well known that capital-intensive extractive industries, such as oil and gas, introduce new social and economic inequities at the local, national, and state levels. In sub-Saharan Africa, however, political independence and the advent of oil production occurred concomitantly. This created dual burdens of disentangling colonization while initializing global extractive dependencies. This panel focuses on the repercussion of that history, with papers that analyze a variety of ways individuals, communities, organizations, and states have attempted to restructure social and political systems so that oil wealth might be more widely distributed with greater independence.
“Independence” in this context means many things (of mind, of economics, of the state, of production, from global power structures and hegemonies) and the papers illustrate these dynamics in a variety of eras and social contexts. Klieman’s paper, “International Oil Companies and (In)Dependence Struggles in Africa: A Case Study from Angola,” focuses on Cabinda Gulf Oil and the U.S. State Department’s interactions with the company during the transition to independence/civil war. Golden Timsar’s paper, “Bunkering (Oil Lifting): Protest, Empowerment, and (De)Colonization in the Niger Delta of Nigeria” focuses on Ijaw militants’ armed struggle against the Nigerian government and the petroleum industry (1997-2010), and the ways that altered notions of masculinity, liberation, criminality, and inclusion helped to sustain the effort. Oluntona’s paper is rooted in legal and community
March 22, 2017: "Managing Creativity: A Conversation with Icelandic Author-Actor-Comedian-Politician Jón Gnarr"
Jón Gnarr (1967-) is Iceland’s most famous actor, comedian, author, and politician. He has penned a trilogy about his early life experiences (The Indian, 2015; The Pirate, 2016; The Outlaw, 2017), all of which chronicle his upbringing as a child diagnosed with “developmental disabilities.” He has acted in numerous television shows, and in 2010, as an act of performance
March 8-15, 2017: Kairn Klieman, Invited Speaker at U-Turn Africa’s Annual Convergence Symposium at Ghana’s Ashesi University.
Inspiring a new generation of leaders by engaging the region’s most influential leaders and those with interest in Africa and other emerging nations in critical discussions designed to create partnerships, networks, knowledge and collaborative pathways to achieve effective and sustainable social, economic & environmental change and impact in the region.
Be sure to check back regularly for updated information on upcoming events.
January 30 - February 1, 2018: Rebecca Golden Timsar was invited to take part at the French Institute for Research in Africa, Institute for Peace & Strategic Studies and African Studies Student Associations taking place at the University of Idaban, Nigeria.
November 29 - December 3, 2017: American Anthropology Association Annual Conference in Washington, DC
The American Anthropological Association is the world’s largest association for professional anthropologists, with more than 10,000 members. Based in Washington, D.C., the Association was founded in 1902, and covers all four main fields of anthropology (cultural anthropology, biological/physical anthropology, archaeology, and linguistic anthropology). While 75% of our members are employed in higher education or are students of anthropology, about 25% of our members work in the public, private, and non-governmental sectors, beyond the academy. The AAA Annual Meeting, with more than 6,000 attendees, is the world’s largest gathering of anthropologists. It features scholarly sessions, board meetings, receptions, special events, installations, and networking opportunities.
UH Energy Forbes Articles
March 28, 2018: Blog for UH Energy and Forbes : “ Fewer Protections For Abandoned Offshore Oil Production Platforms Will Be Risky ”
Tom Mitro, developed blog
March 20, 2018: Blog for UH Energy and Forbes: “Amnesty And New Violence In The Niger Delta”
Rebecca Golden Timsar, developed blog
February 17, 2017: Blog for UH Energy and Forbes: “Farewell Dodd-Frank. Sometimes We Don't Like What Makes Us Stronger”.
Tom Mitro, developed blog
February 1, 2017: Blog for UH Energy and Forbes : “ Will A Tillerson Appointment Force Americans To Face The Other Inconvenient Truth? ”
Tom Mitro, developed blog
November 10, 2017: Blog for UH Energy and Forbes: “Leaving EITI Will Be a Blow To U.S. Leadership And Sustainable Global Energy Effort”
Tom Mitro, developed blog
Columbia University - Center for Sustainable Investment:
September, 2017: Senior Expert Team Selected from International Civil Society, Academia and Industry to Exam and Enable Positive Changes in the Area of Political Economy of the Governance of the Extractives Industry
Tom Mitro, Expert Participant in week-long meetings
June, 2017: Extractive Industries and Sustainable Development for Practitioners from Governments and NGO’s from Countries Around the World
Tom Mitro taught two days of courses on
December Newsletter 2016: LNG Fiscal and Modeling Training for Tanzanian Negotiating Team
In collaboration with the UONGOZI Institute, Senior Fellow Tom Mitro and Senior Economics and Policy Researcher Nicolas Maennling conducted a three-day training for the Tanzanian team appointed to support the negotiations to develop the gas discoveries in the South of the country. The training, held in Bagamoyo, focused on fiscal and financial issues that need to be considered for the liquefied natural gas (LNG) investments. Apart from reviewing the various fiscal tools and international best practices, participants worked on an extensive modeling exercise that allowed them to better understand the tradeoffs between different taxes and structures among the upstream, pipeline and liquefaction investments.