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Energy and Sustainability

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Energy and Sustainability Focus

It has become clear that probably the most pressing needs of our world are those related to solving the problem of sustainability, particularly in areas related to energy sources, storage, and utilization. Due to population growth and the rise of expectations and standards of living across the globe, energy requirements and the related sustainability issues are perhaps the major challenges facing engineering. Engineers with the relevant interests and background will find many outstanding career opportunities in the energy and sustainability areas.

Cornell’s M.Eng. programs are solidly bases in disciplinary skills; however, Cornell’s breadth, depth, and long standing commitment to energy and the environment make it possible for Cornell M.Eng. students in any discipline to add some focus in energy and sustainability to their programs.

The M.Eng. program requires 30 credits of technical courses including a minimum of 3 credits of individual design experience (depending on field). At least 21 credit must be in the field and related areas (as defined by the field). Varying by field, there are generally at least two courses that can be taken outside the field and related area. Also, many energy and sustainability courses are considered as related areas to most fields.

Survey and Overview Courses:

Cornell Engineering has several survey and overview courses intended to give students breadth in where the applications in energy and sustainability are going. It is recommended that some of these be included in a focus on these areas. Five of them are:

  • CHEME 6640 Energy Economics
  • CHEME 6650 Energy Engineering
  • ECE 5880 Energy Seminar II
  • ECE 5870 Energy Seminar I
  • MAE 5010 - Future Energy Systems

Systems vs. Specialization

In addition to deciding on the specific technologies/applications of interest to you, consider where your interests lie between depth in specialized technical areas and an overall or systems view of design, modeling, and integration of complex energy systems. If you are interested in technical depth then you should seek relevant advanced courses in your home discipline; if you are interested in an overall systems view, some courses should be in systems engineering, management and business areas.

Developing Your Focus Program

There are a variety of resources available to help you decide among the many possibilities open to you. A comprehensive list is available online.

Several Fields offer web pages that may be of interest. For example see:

Steps in Developing Your Specific Focus

  • Think about your particular interests and career aspirations and plan what focus and emphases you would like
  • Find what courses are available in those areas
  • After collecting some of your ideas about focus and classes you may want to take discuss your interests with faculty. Relevant faculty would be your field-assigned M.Eng. advisor and also faculty who teach the energy and sustainability courses that you are considering.
  • Find a relevant project. This will involve looking into any project lists your field may have as well as talking to faculty who teach the energy and sustainability courses that you are considering.

Relation of Courses to General M.Eng. Course Requirements

  • Some of your focus courses will probably be in your M.Eng. major field or will be cross-listed in your field and thus are likely to apply to your field’s M.Eng. requirements.
  • Some of your courses may have to be among the number of electives allowed by your field.
  • Remember that the college’s M.Eng. requirements allow the use of 4000-level courses if they are in areas that you have not studied previously. Such courses may have to be approved individually by your field or you M.Eng. advisor.