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Free Online Course on Energy within Environmental Constraints

The Harvard University is offering free online course on Energy within Environmental Constraints. This course is rich in details of real devices and light on theory.

In this ten week course, applicants will a quantitative introduction to the energy system and its environmental impacts. This course will start on January 18, 2018.

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Course At A Glance 

Length: 10 weeks
Effort: 3-5 hours pw
Subject: Economy and finance
Institution: Harvard University and edx
Languages: English
Price: Free
Certificate Available: Yes, Add a Verified Certificate for $125
Session: Course Starts on January 18, 2018

Providers’ Details

Harvard University is devoted to excellence in teaching, learning, and research, and to developing leaders in many disciplines who make a difference globally. Harvard faculty are engaged with teaching and research to push the boundaries of human knowledge.

About This Course

Humanity faces an immense challenge: providing abundant energy to everyone without wrecking the planet. If we want a high-energy future while protecting the natural world for our children, we must consider the environmental consequences of energy production and use.

Why Take This Course?

This course is rich in details of real devices and light on theory. You won’t find any electrodynamics here, but you will find enough about modern commercial solar panels to estimate if they would be profitable to install in a given location. We emphasize costs: the cascade of capital and operating costs from energy extraction all the way through end uses.

Learning Outcomes

  • The basic engineering, environmental science, and economics of our energy system.
  • A working understanding of energy technologies.
  • Environmental impacts of the energy system, focusing on air pollution, climate change, and land use.
  • Techniques for estimating monetary costs and carbon impacts.


David Keith

David Keith has worked near the interface of climate science, energy technology, and public policy for twenty five years.

Daniel Thorpe

Daniel is a research fellow at Harvard University in energy and environment, with penchants for hiking and reading about the evolution of steam engines.


Certificate-earners will need chemistry and physics at the high school level, as well as basic algebra. However, the majority of the course is accessible to anyone.

How To Join This Course

  • Go to the course website link
  • Create an edX account to SignUp
  • Choose “Register Now” to get started.
  • EdX offers honor code certificates of achievement, verified certificates of achievement, and XSeries certificates of achievement. Currently, verified certificates are only available in some courses.
  • Once applicant sign up for a course and activate their account, click on the Log In button on the edx.org homepage and type in their email address and edX password. This will take them to the dashboard, with access to each of their active courses. (Before a course begins, it will be listed on their dashboard but will not yet have a “view course” option.)

Apply Now