How to choose your studies?
While European graduate and post-graduate programs in sustainable energy can vary in terms of duration, content, curriculum, level of detail, degree, etc., there are a few common characteristics that can be used to segment available programs. The main classification criteria include - among others - topic/ sector, duration, credits awarded, type of degree and delivery mode.
Most programs are full-time studies that take between 12 and 24 months to complete and wrap up with either a Master thesis or an equivalent research project. Courses are typically provided in traditional face-to-face teaching setup on-campus. The main program modules consist of lectures and seminars that are credit-based and conclude with written exams at the end of each semester. Some programs are offered as part-time option with distance-learning arrangements and online resources for self-study. Brief on-campus workshops or exams are often required for distance learning programs. Full online programs are designed for part-time study and have a typical duration of 2 to 3 years.
Between 80 and 90% of all graduate and post-graduate courses award a Master of Science (MSc), sometimes with a specialization (e.g. architecture, urban planning, engineering management etc.) or even a double degree. Some courses finish with a Master in Engineering (MEng) or MBA. Most programs are offered based on a common credit system (ECTS) that is approved by the majority of European universities. Several courses offer other degrees, e.g. Diploma or Certificate that correspond to a lower number of credits and provide an alternative to a full Master program.
English is the prevailing language with some programs available in multiple languages. Proof of language proficiency is required for admission as is an undergraduate degree (BSc or equivalent). Admission procedures may include an interview or proof of relevant professional experience, especially when degree requirements are not fully met. Some universities in Spain, France and Germany offer programs in local language often tailored more to national students and job market requirements.
In terms of contents, some programs have a more general curriculum, for example renewable energy in general, others are more narrowly focused on technology such as wind, solar, biofuels etc. By using a wider definition ("All Renewables” in the – IRENA Renewable Energy Learning Partnership [IRELP] database), over 100 programs in Europe alone provide a huge selection of topics and specializations from general renewables to energy efficiency, building energy management, power plants and numerous options related to specific renewable energy technologies.
Most programs attract students with above average grades from all over the world. Students’ motivations for taking a Master program in sustainable energy can range from general interest in renewables to detailed career or business venture plans. Most international students from Asia, Latin America or Africa use their education in renewables to launch a career in their home country.
Please view here a report on European Postgraduate programs in Sustainable Energy, published on the Leonardo Energy website, prepared by Copper Alliance, EUREC, IRELP and Leonardo Energy.