MSc in Energy – Policy track

MSc in Energy - Policy track

Why to study MSc in Energy – Policy track

Semester 1:

Energy and Society in Africa

Many consider safe and stable energy use and access as pre-requisites to industrialisation, transportation and addressing social and economic issues such as poverty or unemployment. Yet, much of the African continent remains “energy poor”, hindering economic and social development. In recent years, the potential of renewable energy sources has gained interest among African policy-makers, the private sector and civil society. Renewables are domestically available and cost-competitive. Their availability is thought to create secondary incentives, such as job creation in the energy sector and socio-economic development, particularly in rural regions.

This class gives an overview of the history of energy in Africa, the impact energy has on society, the potential of renewables and discusses how the energy crisis can be solved from within African societies, states and regions.

Number of Credits 4

Energy Governance and Politics

Consistent access to energy is considered to be one of the key prerequisites for economic development across the African continent. The energy supply potential of African countries remains underdeveloped. At the same time, policymakers dealing with energy issues are well aware of the strategic importance of energy that makes it susceptible to politicisation and conflict. African policymakers are subject to similar pressures of energy governance and politics felt all over the world – securing access at an affordable energy drives (global) competition and energy producers try to leverage their power to achieve domestic and international political and developmental objectives. To give a succinct overview of energy politics and governance, this course looks at different perspectives including law, diplomacy, structure, transparency and accountability.

Number of Credits 6

Policy Analysis

Policy Analysis is a core module for both the Water and Energy Policy Tracks. Students learn policy analysis from the perspective of policy process, policy desirability, policy tools, and policy evaluation. The course enables learners to understand and discuss the logic of public policies, constraints in implementation and impact of policies in developing countries. The course uses both normative and empirical analysis. Examples and exercises are provided from water and energy areas including various case studies. The study of each policy area (water and energy) will emphasise the differences in policy responses and the effects of policies.

Number of Credits 4

Research Design and Methodology

This course equips students with the tools necessary to conduct their own studies. It is structured in four main sections: After identifying different approaches and traditions within the philosophy of science as the foundation for further research design construction, the course will discuss the pivotal role of asking a good research question to describe and explain empirical puzzles. The third and most extensive section is devoted to the process of arriving at good answers. In this section, sub-topics include the choice of an appropriate research design including an introduction to different types of research designs – both quantitative and qualitative – in social research, the process of case selection as well as collecting empirical evidence. Moreover, the different stages of the research process will be discussed. In the final section, students will apply acquired knowledge and skills by constructing a coherent research design on a topic of energy or water policy individually or within small groups. A draft of this research design will be evaluated and discussed within the seminar group, while the final proposal serves as the written assignment for the course.

Number of Credits 4

Practical Laboratories


Number of Credits 5

African History

This course aims to provide students with a solid foundation on Africa’s historical experiences and realities. It surveys how African social and political institutions have developed over Africa’s greatly varied geography in the light of economic and environmental change over the last few millennia. Furthermore, it covers issues related to colonialism, nationalism, African states and the African identity. Finally, it equips students with a generic base of skills for the general study of history.

Number of Credits 4

Public Communication and Political Advocacy

This course covers two key elements of political advocacy: narrative and strategy. A primary focus is on certain types of advocacy, including advocacy for sustainable and innovative water and energy solutions, and advocacy for climate change mitigation and adaptation policies.

Number of Credits 1

Entre- and Intrapreneurship

Entrepreneurship is often regarded purely as business management, resulting in entrepreneurship education content that primarily focuses on developing business management skills. This approach limits the development of entrepreneurial potential in other sectors such as government and civil society and effectively excludes other disciplines from acquiring much needed 21st century skills. This course regards entrepreneurship as a transversal process and covers content that encourages students to be entrepreneurial – a combination of skills and mindset that unlock particular attitudes and behaviours. These include having a growth mindset (versus a fixed mindset), having a hunger for lifelong learning and applying critical thinking skills to problem solving. The course equips students with the knowledge of how to spot opportunities and generate ideas, learning in part from African cases.


The unprecedented rate of change and complexity in society requires entrepreneurial thinkers that are constantly learning, therefore, instilling a habit of lifelong learning is crucial. Critical thinking, one of the essential 21st century skills according to the World Economic Forum, promotes understanding and more effective discussions; it provides students with the ability to identify problems and equips them with the concepts and vocabulary to explain errors or poor logic. Critical thinking is therefore key to problem solving and one of the sources for effective idea generation. Business management generally relies heavily on information to make informed decisions, but in the quest to be intra- or entrepreneurial, information alone is not sufficient. The ability to spot opportunities and generate ideas from information to fulfil a need, is what makes entrepreneurial students more valuable. This course therefore aims to prepare students with problem solving skills (finding solutions to urgent challenges), critical thinking skills (thinking clearly, rationally and systematically), opportunity spotting skills (seeing the unseen and generating value from that) and idea generation skills.


All of the above requires practice and time to develop and so this course aims to ignite interest and perhaps unlock a hunger for becoming entrepreneurial. It also aims to start equipping students to be habitual critical thinkers, problem solvers, opportunity spotters and idea generators by teaching basic tools and techniques to achieve these objectives.

Number of Credits 2

Semester 2:

The Policy and Engineering Nexus in Energy

Part 1: Introduction

    1. Reflections on the function of the course
    2. Case study work: A "failure example" of a misunderstanding between engineers and policy practitioners with learning objectives (e.g., one of the many World Bank dam projects that failed to take the social and political consequences and context into account, such as the Inga 3 hydroelectric project in the DRC)
  1. What are the risks of misunderstanding?
  2. How do the different perspectives work?

Part 2: Two worlds meet

    1. The engineering perspective of the world
    2. The policy perspective of the world: Political decision making and political systems, power distribution analysis, social context analysis (a short version of a policy analysis course)

Part 3: Bringing it together

    1. Group work on 4-5 projects focusing on (political and social) context analysis, engineering project design, the decision-making process (advocacy) and project implementation
    2. Extensive de-briefing on project work including a meta-reflection on the "other" perspective as well as the social dynamic between the two "sides"

Part 4: Conclusion

    1. Drawing "mind maps" of the respective "other side" and self-define "take home values" and "lessons learned"

Number of Credits 6

Energy Economics

The course mostly teaches economic theories and models related to the energy sector. It focuses on the factors that drive energy demand, assesses methods to ensure efficiency in energy supply and examines some of the impact of energy efficiency on overall energy consumption. The course also looks into the energy situation in Africa and the opportunities and challenges, employing both class discussion and case studies.

Number of Credits 4

Climate Policy

Climate change has been called a ‘wicked problem’ as it is an issue that presents great scientific and economic complexity, deep uncertainties and profound ethical questions. Efforts to craft a public policy response are being made at multiple levels of governance, cutting across and affecting a wide range of traditional policy fields. How can we solve the ‘greatest market failure that the world has seen’? What are key policy instruments for mitigating climate change? Who are the actors, actor constellations and institutional settings for climate policy at different levels of governance? What is the state and trend of climate policy in world regions with the largest share of global greenhouse gas emissions? This course is designed to encourage students to begin to answer these questions.

Number of Credits 4

Modelling, Simulation and Impact Analysis

Energy policy design and assessment is a complex, dynamic task. This course introduces students to the use of system dynamics modelling and simulation for energy policy analysis and scenario-based impact analysis. The course emphasises modelling causality in energy systems, and formulating and building system dynamics stock-and-flow and simulation models. Utilising the validated simulation models, this course enables learners to perform integrated socio-economic and environmental impact analyses of energy policies.

Number of Credits 4

Practical Laboratories


Number of Credits 5

Applied Data Analysis

The first part of the course focuses on revisiting basic concepts of descriptive and inferential statistics. The second part introduces the basics of R, importing different data formats and storing them in a consistent format. It then moves on to teach students ways to effectively visualise and transform data using databases in energy and water. Students learn to perform statistical analysis in R and communicate the results to others.

Number of Credits 4

Project Design and Management

This course cultivates skills and expertise in designing, planning and controlling projects. It examines the project management life cycle, defining project parameters, management challenges, project management tools and techniques, and emphasizes the project manager’s role.


The course will guide students through the fundamental tools of project management and skills necessary to devise, launch, lead, and implement successful projects in profit and non-profit organizations. Successful project managers possess the skills necessary to manage their teams, schedules, risks, and resources to produce desired outcomes. Students explore project management with a practical and pragmatic approach through project implementation, case studies and class exercises.

Number of Credits 2

Writing Skills for Policy and Policy Analysis

This course provides students with the skills and techniques necessary to shape the policy process through written communication. Thereby, it explores different styles and formats of policy writing with a hands-on approach. After an introduction to the role of writing in the policy process, students study different formats of policy writing and their respective argumentative, structural and stylistic characteristics. Subsequently, students work in groups to structure and formulate comprehensive policy papers based on real-world policy problems from the field of energy and water policy. In doing so, students practice the task of collaborative writing. The last topic of the course, writing a short policy brief, serves as a final written assignment.

Number of Credits 1

Semester 3:

Access to Energy

Many consider safe and stable energy use and access as pre-requisites to industrialisation, transportation and addressing social and economic issues such as poverty or unemployment. Yet, much of the African continent remains “energy poor”, hindering economic and social development. With the exception of South Africa and North Africa, access to energy is limited in both rural and urban areas. Many African states continue using traditional forms of energy that are not always readily available or have negative environmental impacts.

Number of Credits 4

Food Security: Water and Energy Nexus

Water, energy and food are essential for human well-being, poverty reduction and sustainable development. Yet, population growth, increasing mobility, economic development, urbanisation, diversifying diets, climate change and technological advancements increase the pressure upon eco-systems and increase the demands for



freshwater, energy and food. The water-energy-food nexus is a topic of growing interest in research and describes the complex and interrelated nature of our global resources systems. WEF policy decisions are often founded in highly technical terms, yet also often encounter matters of hegemony, equity and natural rights, making it necessary for students to address policy considerations beyond the realm of quantitative analysis. This course will therefore survey WEF concepts and principles, introduce tools of analysis, and engage students in case studies of critical WEF issues within and between nations.

Number of Credits 4

Energy: Infrastructure and Development

Energy is an integral part of socio-economic development. A sustainable energy infrastructure must enable optimal processing, conversion, delivery, allocation and utilisation of resources to serve every citizen in the best possible way while minimising waste and inefficiency. The nature and usage of energy are key to a sustainable environment and must be viewed and treated as an integrated system. However, development of energy infrastructure competes with other development areas for scarce capital and human resources. Policy makers must be cognisant of how an action at one end affects the entire system.

Number of Credits 4

Environmental Problems and Disaster Risk Reduction Related to Energy

All forms of energy have an environmental impact, though this impact varies vastly between different sources of energy. Yet, energy is the backdrop of agricultural and industrial activities which often impact the environment negatively, hence energy risk management plays a key role in addressing environmental problems.

Energy prices can also directly impact macroeconomic and political stability, making energy risk management a highly dynamic field that is of strategic importance to governments, international bodies and the private sector. In the African context, accessing energy and providing it remains one of the biggest challenges for policy makers and the private sector alike. Extractive energy industries, such as the oil and gas industry, are important players in the socioeconomic set-up of many African countries. The potential for green energy that follows holistic risk management approaches as propagated by, for example, the African Development Bank, will likely become more and more important for policy makers in dealing with mitigating climate change outcomes.

Number of Credits 4

Energy Policy

This course takes an integrative approach to teaching energy policy by focusing on the key factors influencing the design and development of energy policy, policy instruments and support mechanisms and policy monitoring and evaluation. In the realm of policy design, the course addresses key questions: How are energy policies designed and implemented? How does resource availability of nations, the nature of their political systems, and the detrimental effects of climate change inform energy policy development? For the success of any energy policy, the role of key stakeholders is critical and is discussed systematically in this course. To affect our desirable energy future, how can we use policy incentives to promote innovation processes and sustainable energy solutions? A set of tools and techniques is provided to perform effective monitoring and evaluation of energy policy. Several cases studies on Africa and Europe are used to enrich the discussions and the learning process in this course.

Number of Credits 4

Sustainable Energy Resource Management

Access to affordable, adequate and reliable energy is key to economic prosperity and a decent quality of life. Current consumption trends continue to put enormous pressure on limited energy resources. Even the trend towards renewable resources is constrained by limited capital and human resources. Another concern is the impact on climate change of ever-rising greenhouse gases due to energy production and consumption.

It is important to note that energy is a derived demand of human activities and choices. Therefore, there is a need for sustainable consumption to achieve goals in reducing the negative impact on the environment. Policy makers must facilitate policies and programmes that create opportunities to manage these issues. They must strike a balance between the demands of society and environmental protection that optimally use scarce capital and human resources. This course provides the fundamentals for understanding and addressing the above issues.

Number of Credits 6

Sector Analysis

Once exclusively associated with business and investment studies, sector analysis is a key tool to understand the particular characteristics of ‘water’ or ‘energy’ as a particular field of human activity in any given country or region as a whole.

The course covers five fundamental elements of these sectors – natural resources, production facilities, distribution systems, demand and consumption patterns, and governance regime – and views water and energy through these filters in a variety of case studies from Africa. As a key assignment for the class, students work in groups to conduct a sector analysis in water or energy for a country or region of their choice and to present the results in the plenary.

Number of Credits 5

Financial Management

Infrastructure development in the energy and water sectors is dependent on public sector funding. Recent years have witnessed a trend of curtailing public budgets, affecting the availability of funding for infrastructure projects and leading to the current infrastructure gap.

Overcoming this gap is possible through different financing methods. The aim of this course is to present the students with the costs and benefits of these financing methods, enabling them to understand which one is appropriate for different contexts. To achieve these objectives, the course will first introduce basic financial tools and concepts to understand the decision-making process that characterises the choice between different investments. Building on these instruments, the course will then focus on the main funding mechanisms available to infrastructure investments, namely corporate and project finance. Regarding the latter, particular attention will be paid to public private partnership agreements and the various forms they can take.

Number of Credits 4

Human Rights and Gender

The course aims to provide students with knowledge of the relationship between gender and human rights both within the African and international systems. It explores origins, development and challenges of integrating gender into human rights law discourse and practice. Focusing on international protection of women’s human rights as an example, the course introduces students to relevant international bodies and instruments.

Number of Credits 2

Ethics, Leadership and Accountability

The course considers ethics, leadership, leadership dilemmas and accountability issues that can arise when an individual’s values conflict with those of an organisation, or when a situation requires decisions with competing or conflicting values. The focus is on ethical issues that leaders have to deal with including ethical dilemmas in decision making. Effective leadership in Africa, and the subsequent emergence of Africa, depends on ethical leadership and accountability. Many African countries face challenges arising from accountability problems that have led to bad governance. The course examines leadership principles, theories and styles. Within this course, students use case studies, their own experiences and current events to examine actions leaders have taken and consequences they have faced. Students work on real-life issues of transparency and accountability, examine underlying reasoning of the problems, identify and analyse ethical dilemmas, and develop action plans for solving and preventing similar problems at the organisational and societal levels.

Number of Credits 1

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Internships are an integral part of the degree, students will obtain at PAUWES.

PAUWES internship program is an important vehicle to advance students skills and professionalism towards achieving their desired future career.

It consists of two internships :

Summer (also called career) Internship

Students do it during their summer break (at the end of the first-year master), during the Summer Internship students can test and apply the skills they acquired during their studies in a real-life situation and tailor these to the specific field they have chosen. This experience will help them to narrow down their job preferences and define their professional profile. We strongly encourage students to reach companies and do their summer internship

Research Internship (also called data collection Internship)

Students do it at the beginning of their Master Thesis (MT) in the fourth semester. The Research Internship will allow students to collect data on-site for their MT (find case studies, conduct interviews, take measurements or perform experiments, etc.). It provides students with the opportunity to get to know their research subject personally or allows them to work directly with their supervisor at his/her workplace. PAUWES internship program provides various channels for support.

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Career Prospects of PAUWES Graduates


PAUWES curricula aims to equip future graduates with knowledge, skills and attitudes that allow them to be competitive in both the employment market and in academia if they choose to pursue doctoral studies. Owing to their methodical approach and their governments’ clear vision and policy, developed countries have a strong demand for graduates with profiles similar to the ones produced by PAUWES. The job market for such profiles has long been limited in Africa. However, there is an increasing number of employment opportunities as a consequence of the boom in start-up companies and foreign direct investments witnessed in the past decade across Africa.

Some examples of positions that can be filled by PAUWES graduates in energy, water and policy.


Energy Engineering:

  • Energy Systems Engineer
  • Project Manager
  • Green Building Designer
  • Green Building Project Manager
  • Account Executive / Manager
  • Energy Analyst
  • Energy Efficiency Analyst
  • Power Engineer
  • Research Engineer

Water Engineering:

  • Hydraulics Engineer
  • Water / Wastewater Engineer
  • Water Resources Engineer
  • Project Manager
  • Water Treatment Engineer
  • Research Engineer

Energy Policy & Water Policy:

  • Energy/Water Policy Analyst
  • Energy/Water Consultant
  • Project Coordinator
  • Technical Writer
  • Research Analyst

Contact Info

Pan African University Institute of Water and Energy Sciences - PAUWES

c/o Tlemcen University, B.P. 119 | Pôle Chetouane, Tlemcen 13000



M: +213 43 41 04 35

F: +213 43 41 04 99

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African Union Agenda 2063

A strategic framework for the socio-economic transformation of the continent over the next 50 years. It builds on, and seeks to accelerate the implementation of past and existing continental initiatives for growth and sustainable development. These include STISA 2024, the Lagos Plan of Action