Individuals who would like to pursue a graduate degree in energy systems engineering have a number of different programs to choose from at universities around the country. Below, we will learn some general information about these programs, including details about program structure, common courses in these programs, and admissions standards.
Graduate Degree Programs in Energy Systems Engineering
Graduate degrees in energy systems engineering are commonly found as Master of Engineering degrees in energy systems engineering. Master of Engineering degrees are a type of professional master's degree that differs from the Master of Science by generally not having have a research or thesis component, instead requiring students to complete only coursework and with the possibility of a capstone project. These programs typically require students to complete around 30 credit hours and often can be completed within one year if students complete coursework on a continuous basis. Below, we will look at five different courses that are commonly found in these types of master's programs.
Energy and Power Generation
In a course that is focused on energy and power generation, students will cover the principles behind how energy is created, including a discussion in topics like heat transfer and thermodynamics. Students may learn about traditional methods of energy and power generation before discussing newer methods, like wind and hydroelectric power. The course may also provide students with an overview of how the introduction of new methods of energy and power generation has changed this industry over the years.
Another course that is commonly found in graduate programs in energy systems engineering is a course that focuses on different aspects of power systems. In this course, a variety of topics may be discussed, including power systems control in which students would learn about topics like power flow and the functions of control centers, as well as the dynamics of power systems. This course may also include analysis of power systems, in which topics like load flow, symmetrical and unsymmetrical circuits, and fault analysis would be covered.
Renewable Energy Technologies and Systems
Given the greater emphasis placed on sustainable energy solutions in the past decades, a course that has a focus in renewable energy is also a common part of the curriculum of energy systems engineering programs. In such a course, students will learn about different sources of renewable energy, from solar and wind energy to geothermal energy. Students will also learn how these energy sources can best be harnessed and then turned into forms of usable energy that can replace other sources, like fossil fuels. In addition, this course may focus on related topics like climate change, pollution, and sustainability.
Graduate programs in energy systems engineering will likely include courses that cover various specific types of energy systems, like automotive transmission and powertrain systems. In a course like this, students will learn about how these types of automotive systems are designed, how they function, and the role that energy plays in these systems. Some topics that may be covered include vehicle efficiency, theories of control as they apply to these systems, and emissions control.
Environmental Economics and Energy
Students may also take a course that covers the relationship between energy systems, the environment, and economics in which students will likely focus on theoretical and real-world applications of economic concepts as it applies to the environment. The course will provide students with a high-level understanding of how the use of energy affects the environment, the various policies that are relevant to this process, and what types of problems humans are currently facing in terms of negative environmental impact. Students will likely discuss possible solutions by focusing on topics like sustainability while still maintaining economic growth.
Admission Standards for Energy Systems Engineering Graduate Programs
In order to be considered for admission into a Master of Engineering program in energy systems engineering, students will need to fulfill some prerequisites and submit a completed application form. Generally, these programs will only consider students who have already achieved an undergraduate or previous graduate degree in engineering or one of the natural sciences, as knowledge of these fields is necessary in order to complete the graduate-level coursework. When applying, students will typically need to submit all past transcripts, letters of recommendation, a personal statement of purpose, and a resume. Additionally, some programs may require that students submit results from the GRE.
In summary, students interested in energy systems engineering can study this field at the graduate level by enrolling in Master of Engineering programs. Through the various coursework and/or capstone project, these programs give a high-level knowledge in energy systems and prepare students for a variety of more advanced positions in the workforce.