Degrees in Emerging Technologies: Options and Requirements

Emerging technology degree programs are available in many areas, such as renewable energy engineering and biotechnology. Studies within the field are available to students at the master's and doctoral degree levels.

Essential Information

Master of Science degree programs in renewable energy and economic energy engineering are available for those seeking to work towards developing non-petroleum based fuel sources or more efficient ways of harnessing existing fuels. There are also several doctorate programs for biotechnologists who want to pioneer new ways to use and work with living organisms.

Master's degree programs cover the techniques involved in clean extraction, storage and distribution of energy sources, such as solar, wind and hydrogen. Doctoral degree programs in biotechnology allow students to focus on research skills and ethical considerations in working with living organisms.

Research projects, a thesis or dissertation may be required, depending on the level of study. Students can expect to study topics such as fuel cell technology and genetic engineering. Voluntary certification and specialization opportunities exist through the Association of Energy Engineers. In terms of admissions, a bachelor's degree or master's degree in related field, extensive coursework in science, GRE scores, and letters of recommendation may be required.

Master's Degrees in Engineering for Renewable Energy

This program includes a heavy emphasis on math and science. Students also participate in research projects. Both thesis and non-thesis program options are available.

Courses include research in both engineering and energy resource economic viabilities. Some of the classes include studies in:

  • Processing of electrical power resources
  • Automotive transportation energy systems
  • Fuel cell technology
  • Building construction energy efficiency design
  • Photovoltaics

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Ph.D. in Biotechnology

Doctoral programs in biotechnology teach students cutting-edge concepts and methods to manipulate biological tissue for things like cloning. The programs also delve into how outside influences, such as chemicals and pharmaceuticals, affect human organisms. Students may enter the program with academic backgrounds in engineering and biomedical sciences.

This program covers a broad base of career options and a student generally chooses an area of focus. Some course topics offered include:

  • Nanotechnology
  • Genetic engineering applications
  • Tissue and organ biomechanics
  • Neuropharmacology
  • Stem cell research

Popular Career Options

There are several career avenues open to those with doctorates in biotechnology depending on their chosen focus area. Some of the options include:

  • Biomanufacturing researcher
  • College professor
  • Pharmaceutical researcher
  • Biomedical researcher
  • Biological scientist

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for environmental engineers in general is predicted to increase by 12% from 2014-2024; specific statistics weren't listed for those working with renewable energy sources ( The median annual salary for environmental engineers in May 2015 was $84,560, the BLS reported. January 2016 figures from showed that energy engineers earned salaries ranging from $50,613 - $90,378.

Continuing Education

At this time, engineers exploring the field of renewable energy are not typically required to be certified. The Association of Energy Engineers, however, does offer certification in a wide array of specialization fields, like certified geoexchange designer and certified green building engineer. They also have seminars available both online and live to keep a renewable energy engineer up-to-date on the latest developments.

Studies in emerging technologies at the degree level are available in the form of master's and Ph.D. programs. After graduating, popular career choices within the field are a college professor or biomedical scientist.

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