Sustainable Energy Minor

The Minor in Sustainable Energy provides the flexibility and focus that allows for students to expand their exposure to the topic within the context of their own major.  The goal of the program is to match the developing nature of the field with the skills needed to understand sustainable energy in the greater context of its opportunities and challenges.  Courses in the minor will build on existing competencies and create an experience that provides an exposure to new the perspectives and conceptual framework that is at the core of the developing field of sustainable energy.   

The objectives of the Minor in Sustainable Energy are to provide students with the educational experience necessary to participate in one of the fastest growing fields of employment.  Coupled with an ability to focus on meaningful employment, is our challenge to confront a changing climate; students will be given an opportunity to be a part of the solution. 

Curriculum and Requirements
The curriculum and requirements for the minor are based on exposure to three competencies that reflect the exposure necessary to grasp the basic understanding of sustainable energy: 

  • Technical – Requires a basic understanding of the grid, energy flow, energy usage and the technologies of efficiency, generation and management of energy and generation sources. 
  • Economics and Finance – Requires a basic understanding of utility structure, energy markets and utility rate-making.  An additional focus includes the business aspect of financing and projecting the cost-effectiveness of energy generation sources and fuels – including the development of innovative business models for deploying sustainable energy. 
  • Policy – Requires a basic understanding in policy-making and implementation, including a historic perspective of our utilities, incentives and subsidies and their impact on market forces.  An additional focus includes the policy impacts of aspects related to sustainable energy deployment, including, interconnection, net metering and feed in tariffs and tax incentives. 

Contact Information
Students with questions about the minor or who would like more information should contact Dr. Julia Novak Colwell in the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment.

Required Courses11-12
Introduction to our Energy System and Sustainable Energy
Critical Thinking:
International Energy Topics
Introduction to Sustainable Engineering
Advanced Topics in Sustainable Energy
Select at least one course from each of the following categories:7-8
Technology/Engineering Category:
Energy and Environment
Environmental Pollution and Protection: A Global Context
Green Building Design
Social & Economic Policy Category:
Natural Resources and Environmental Policy
Green Real Estate
Introduction to Natural Resource Economics
Environment and Society
Social Impact Assessment
International Energy Topics
Total Credits18-20
  • Students must earn a grade of C- or better in order for a course to be counted for credit toward the minor.
  • No pass/fail graded course shall count toward the minor.
  • Up to 8 credits can be used to satisfy both major and minor requirements.
  • Appropriate course substitutes from other study-abroad programs may also be used with permission.