857-0103-00L  Topics in Public Policy: Governing the Energy Transition

SemesterAutumn Semester 2023
Lecturersto be announced
Periodicityyearly recurring course
CourseDoes not take place this semester.
Language of instructionEnglish


857-0103-00 STopics in Public Policy: Governing the Energy Transition Special students and auditors need a special permission from the lecturers.
Does not take place this semester.
2 hrsto be announced

Catalogue data

AbstractThis course addresses the role of policy change and its underlying politics in the transformation of the energy and other climate and sustainability-related sectors. It focuses on political perspectives (while also touching on historical and socio-economic perspectives) and applies various theoretical concepts to understand specific aspects of transition governance.
Objective- To gain an overview of the history of the transition of large socio-technical systems
- To recognize challenges for transformative policy change and to understand the theoretical frameworks and concepts for studying transitions
- To develop own research question and address it in research paper that demonstrates knowledge of the role of policy and politics in transitions
ContentClimate change, access to energy and other societal challenges are directly linked to the way we use and create energy. Both the recent United Nations Paris climate change agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals make a fast and extensive transition of socio-technical systems necessary.
This course introduces the social and environmental challenges involved in the energy sector as a key sector in need of transition. It compares the current situation with historical socio-technical transitions and derives the consequences for policy-making. It then focuses on the role of public policy and policy change in governing complex socio-technical transitions, considering the role of political actors, institutions and policy feedback.
The course has a highly interactive (seminar-like) character. Students are expected to actively engage in the weekly discussions and to give a presentation (15-20 minutes) on one of the weekly topics during that particular session. In addition to the weekly lectures, students will write a research paper of approximately 6000 words, guided by and in collaboration with the lecturers.
Active participation in the seminar (15%) and the presentation (15%) will form one part of the final grade, with the research paper forming the rest (70%).
Lecture notesSlides and reading material will be made available via moodle.ethz.ch (only for registered students).
LiteratureA reading list will be provided via moodle.ethz.ch at the beginning of the semester.
Prerequisites / NoticeThis course is intended for the MA Comparative International Studies programme.

Performance assessment

Performance assessment information (valid until the course unit is held again)
Performance assessment as a semester course
ECTS credits8 credits
Typegraded semester performance
Language of examinationEnglish
RepetitionRepetition possible without re-enrolling for the course unit.

Learning materials

No public learning materials available.
Only public learning materials are listed.


No information on groups available.


General : Special students and auditors need a special permission from the lecturers
PriorityRegistration for the course unit is only possible for the primary target group
Primary target groupComparative and International Studies MA (863100)

Offered in

Comparative and International Studies MasterResearch SeminarsWInformation