Introduction to the Energy Transition


Introduction to the Energy Transition is a course that covers an increasingly important issue with respect to climate change, ecology, energy policies, supply disruption, and competition for energy.

This course examines existing energy and fuel use, as well as infrastructure, for the major sources in use globally. Innovation is producing evolving technologies, which have their own implementation challenges. The costs and benefits of each of the major energy sources are examined in order to understand how best to manage and meet growing energy demands. Strategies to assist in global aspirations for Net Zero are also covered.

This course aims to give students a holistic view of the opportunities and challenges involved in ensuring energy accessibility, reliability, security, and sustainability.

Programme details

Courses starts: 19 Apr 2024

Week 0: Course Orientation

Week 1: Introduction to The Energy Transition

Week 2: Biomass and Coal

Week 3: Oil and Gas

Week 4: Nuclear Fission and Fusion

Week 5: Wind and Water

Week 6: Sun and Earth

Week 7: Hydrogen and Fuel Cells

Week 8: Storage and Electrification

Week 9: Energy Efficiency and Greenhouse Gas Capture

Week 10: The Path to Net Zero 

Digital Certification

To complete the course and receive a certificate, you will be required to attend and participate in at least 80% of the live sessions on the course and pass your final assignment. Upon successful completion, you will receive a link to download a University of Oxford digital certificate. Information on how to access this digital certificate will be emailed to you after the end of the course. The certificate will show your name, the course title and the dates of the course you attended. You will be able to download your certificate or share it on social media if you choose to do so.


Description Costs
Course Fee £257.00
Take this course for CATS points £10.00


If you are in receipt of a UK state benefit, you are a full-time student in the UK or a student on a low income, you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees. Please see the below link for full details:

Concessionary fees for short courses


Dr Suman Chowdhury

Dr Suman Chowdhury holds a doctorate in geophysics from the University of Oxford.  He has over two decades of experience in the energy industry, spanning three continents.

Dr Chowdhury is a Fellow of both the Geological Society and the Royal Astronomical Society.

Course aims

To provide a basic understanding of the topic of the energy transitionin progress today.

Course objectives: 

  • To provide a basic understanding of the major energy sources used today.
  • To provide a basic understanding of the reasons behind the policies of transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy, using a cost-and-benefit approach.
  • To provide an understanding of Net Zero goals, and strategies to achieve them.

Teaching methods

  • Presentations on Microsoft PowerPoint.
  • Practical demonstrations.
  • Use of video presentations.
  • Quizzes.
  • Class or group discussions/activities.


Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, students will be expected be able to:

  • list and describe the main features and components of the global energy system;
  • describe each of the major energy and fuel types, and understand their relative costs-and-benefits;
  • demonstrate an understanding of the reasons behind the present-day energy transition goals;
  • describe strategies for energy storage and distribution;
  • discuss Net Zero goals and strategies.

Assessment methods

All students taking the course are expected to complete the following coursework: five assignments comprised of short questions designed to reinforce the concepts presented in class OR short essays of up to 500 words. The assessed work is marked pass or fail.

Students must submit a completed Declaration of Authorship form at the end of term when submitting your final piece of work. CATS points cannot be awarded without the aforementioned form - Declaration of Authorship form


We will close for enrolments 7 days prior to the start date to allow us to complete the course set up. We will email you at that time (7 days before the course begins) with further information and joining instructions. As always, students will want to check spam and junk folders during this period to ensure that these emails are received.

To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an enrolment form (Word) or enrolment form (Pdf).

Level and demands

The course will cover the basic material and references will be provided for further reading. Books and articles are expected to be available at local libraries, at the Dept for Continuing Education Library at Rewley House, or online. Students may also purchase books for self-study at their own discretion.

Students who register for CATS points will receive a Record of CATS points on successful completion of their course assessment.

To earn credit (CATS points) you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Coursework is an integral part of all weekly classes and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework in order to benefit fully from the course. Only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard.

Students who do not register for CATS points during the enrolment process can either register for CATS points prior to the start of their course or retrospectively from the January 1st after the current full academic year has been completed. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.

Most of the Department's weekly classes have 10 or 20 CATS points assigned to them. 10 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of ten 2-hour sessions. 20 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of twenty 2-hour sessions. It is expected that, for every 2 hours of tuition you are given, you will engage in eight hours of private study.

Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS)