MS-ERE, Sustainable Energy Concentration

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. 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. Emphasis will be on energy generation and use-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. Additional specialization may consider region-specific energy development.


This concentration is aimed at engineers with a minimum background of a B.S. degree in an engineering or equivalent science discipline. Candidates with technical strengths in physics, chemistry, chemical, electrical, or mechanical engineering are preferred. The objective 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 demands for energy. The master's 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, the 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.


Required Classes

  • EAEE E4001: Industrial ecology
  • EAIA E4002: Alternative energy resources
  • EAEE 6208: Combustion chemistry and processes
  • MECE E4211: Energy: sources and conversion


Elective courses should be selected by the student in consultation with his/her faculty advisor

Mathematical Modeling

  • APMA E4300: Numerical methods
  • EAEE E6210 : Quantitative environmental risk analysis
  • EAEE E4257: Environmental data analysis and modeling

Pollution Prevention of Air and Water

  • EAEE E4150: Air pollution control and prevention
  • EAEE E4003: Introduction to aquatic chemistry
  • EAEE E4160: Solid and hazardous waste management
  • CIEE E4257: Contaminant transport in subsurface systems
  • EAEE E6212: Carbon sequestration

Engineering Sciences

  • EAEE E4252: Introduction to surface and colloid chemistry
  • EAEE E4900: Applied transport and chemical rate phenomena
  • EAEE E4901: Environmental microbiology
  • MECE E4212 Microelectromechanical systems

Resource Management

  • EAEE E4200: Production of inorganic materials
  • EAEE E4361: Economics of Earth resource industries
  • EAEE E4100: Management and development of water systems
  • EAEE E4980: Urban environmental technology and policy

Health impacts

  • MSPH P6309: Biochemistry basic to environmental health
  • MSPH P6530: Issues and approaches in health policy
  • MSPH P6700: Introduction to sociomedical sciences

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