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Energy and Environment Professional Studies Track

Tyres in front of a bridge in the Kola Peninsula. Courtesy of Dmitry Blyshko.

Are you interested in energy transitions, environmental justice, environmental sustainability, or energy and environmental policymaking at the local, national, or global level? If so, this is the professional track for you! Studying the history of energy and environment will prepare you to work in careers that will create sustainable futures for all. In the current age of extreme climate change few issues are more relevant than the past, present, and future of energy and environmental usages and policies.  

Students who choose this track will learn skills that can be put to immediate use on the job. Among these are:   

  • creating and analyzing “case studies” of past and present energy/environment policies and impacts 
  • identifying and analyzing cultural differences among diverse societies’ conceptualizations and usage of energy and environmental resources 
  • mastering the tools of GIS mapping and digital humanities 
  • carrying out archival research pertaining to public policy issues 
  • writing and editing historically-oriented prose for legal, corporate, activist, and general public audiences  
 The energy and environment track will prepare students for careers in:  
  • Urban and Regional Planning 
  • Environmental and Energy Law  
  • Oil, Gas, and Carbon Capture and Sequestration Industries 
  • Renewable Energy Industries
  • Environmental Consulting and Conservation 
  • Non-Profit Administration (environment and public interest activism)  
  • Public Health  
  • Museums (Natural History and energy or oil and gas museums)  
  • Sustainability Studies  
  • Security Studies 
  • Private sector employment (historians for corporations, law firms, architectural firms

Affiliated Faculty


Students participating in this track can either take a History capstone course relating to the track or undertake an internship, independent research project, or senior thesis on energy/environment. Students doing an internship or research project must register for this course under the supervision of a designated History faculty member or the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Two additional 3000 or 4000 level courses relating to energy/environment are required. See the list below for recommended courses. Relevant Special Problems courses in History at the 3000 or 4000 level may count towards this Track if approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Relevant graduate courses in History may count for the second or third courses in the track if approved by the course instructor and Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Current Courses

(from 2022-23 Undergraduate Catalog)

  • HIST 3335 - Race in Environmental History
  • HIST 3368 - World Environmental History to 1800
  • HIST 3372 - Global Environmental History since 1800
  • HIST 4318 - Africa and the Oil Industry
  • HIST 4322 - Environment in U.S. History
  • HIST 4324 - Environmental History of Houston
  • HIST 4398 - Independent Study