Energy and Water Sustainability

Energy and Water Sustainability

Jim Blackburn
Program Director

The interdisciplinary program in Energy and Water Sustainability is offered by the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department in collaboration with several other Rice University departments.  

Sustainable development is a societal goal that challenges traditional ways of thinking and requires alternative approaches and solutions to balance environmental, economic, and social interests. Carbon management strategies and renewable resources will be key elements of energy policy for the coming decades. Similarly, the long-term viability of existing water use and human settlement patterns must be reconsidered given the effect of climate change in freshwater availability, as well as increasing competing demands for this limited resource. More generally, the dedication of materials, energy, and ecological resources will become more important in economic decision-making, while more and more members of society will demand equity in decision-making processes.

Students studying Energy and Water Sustainability will gain knowledge of both the science and policy issues associated with the evaluation of sustainable energy and water strategies that will form a cornerstone of 21st century social systems. Students completing this program will be better prepared for a global society that is attempting to understand and address the challenge of meeting basic human needs today and in the future while maintaining a functional natural system and social order.

Energy and Water Sustainability does not currently offer an academic program at the graduate level.


Jim Blackburn, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Undergraduate Advisors

Pedro Alvarez, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Jim Blackburn, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Steering Committee

Phil Bedient, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Walter Chapman, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Dan Cohan, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Ken Cox, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Leonardo Duenas-Osorio, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Peter Hartley, Economics
George Hirasaki, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering 
Qilin Li, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Carrie Masiello, Earth Science
Ka-Yiu San, Bioengineering
Ed Segner, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Robert Stein, Political Science
William Symes, Computational and Applied Mathematics
Mason Tomson, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Rick Wilson, Political Science
Kyriacos Zygourakis, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

For Rice University degree-granting programs:
To view the list of official course offerings, please see Rice’s Course Catalog
To view the most recent semester’s course schedule, please see Rice's Course Schedule

Description and Code Legend

Note: Internally, the university uses the following descriptions, codes, and abbreviations for this academic program. The following is a quick reference: 

Course Catalog/Schedule 

  • Course offerings/subject codes: Courses from various subjects may apply towards this program  

Program Description and Code 

  • Energy and Water Sustainability: EWSU 

Undergraduate Minor Description and Code

  • Minor in Energy and Water Sustainability: EWSU