MS-EAEE, Sustainable Energy Concentration

The purpose of the Sustainable Energy Concentration is to expose students to modern energy technologies and infrastructures and to the associated environmental, health, and resource limitations.


Energy and economic well-being are tightly coupled. Fossil fuel resources are still plentiful, but access to energy is limited by environmental and economic constraints. A future world population of ten billion people trying to approach the standard of living of the developed nations cannot rely on today’s energy technologies and infrastructures without severe environmental impacts. Concerns over climate change and changes in ocean chemistry require reductions in carbon dioxide emissions but most alternatives to conventional fossil fuels, including nuclear energy, are too expensive to fill the gap. Yet, access to clean, cheap energy is critical for providing mineral resources, water, food, housing and transportation.

Building and shaping the energy infrastructure of the 21st century is one of the central tasks for modern engineering. Emphasis of the Sustainable Energy concentration will be on energy generation and use of technologies that aim to overcome the limits to growth that are experienced today.

Concentration-specific classes will sketch out the availability of resources, their geographic distribution, the economic and environmental cost of resource extraction, and avenues for increasing energy utilization efficiency, such as cogeneration, district heating and distributed generation of energy. Classes will discuss technologies for efficiency improvement in the generation and consumption sector, energy recovery from solid wastes, alternatives to fossil fuels including solar and wind energy, nuclear fission and fusion, and technologies for addressing the environmental concerns over the use of fossil fuels and nuclear energy. Classes on climate change, air quality and health impacts focus on the consequences of energy use. Policy and its interactions with environmental sciences and energy engineering will be another aspect of the concentration. Students may consider region-specific energy development as an additional specialization.


This concentration is aimed at engineers with a minimum background of a BS degree in an engineering discipline. Candidates with technical strengths in physics, chemistry, chemical, electrical or mechanical engineering are preferred. The objective of the Sustainable Engineering Concentration is to gain a better understanding of present day energy infrastructures, their strength and weaknesses and to scope out future technology developments for a world with seemingly insatiable demand for energy. The master degree aims at preparing a new generation of engineering professionals who will be involved with the rebuilding of a world energy infrastructure that today is stretched nearly beyond the limits of its capacity.

The program aims at young engineers and active professionals who see their future in the large and international energy development markets. Since the challenges are global in nature, this program addresses energy infrastructure engineering for all types of economies. Problems facing the industrialized countries, the emerging economies and the poor countries of the world differ substantially and a one-size-fits-all solution is unlikely to work.

Expected employment opportunities are in extractive industries and energy processing companies, such as oil companies, mining industry, power producers, and equipment builders. Employment is also likely to be found in environmental consulting companies, with NGOs interested in environmental and energy issues, as well as local, national and international government agencies. In short, the program aims to educate technology experts for all stakeholders in the development of the energy backbone of society.


A total of 30 credits, including a 3-credit research course or a 6-credit thesis, are required. For students with a B.S. or a B.A., preferably with a science major, up to 48 points are required to allow for make-up undergraduate courses. Any changes should be done in consultation with the student’s advisor. For a list of classes please visit the Student Orientation booklet.

Guidelines for MS-EAEE Thesis

View the guidelines for writing a Master of Science Thesis in Earth and Environmental Engineering.

Course List - Sustainable Energy 2020-21

Information on the Sustainable Energy track.