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Majors Making a Difference: Sustainable Engineering
Sarah Kuck, 20 Oct 08

Building Better Energy Systems: Sustainable Engineering

This piece is part of a series on how universities and colleges around the world are integrating theories of sustainability into traditional majors to give students the skills they need to build a more sustainable future for all.

Where to Study: The Royal Institute of Technology

schools_sustaintech.jpgThe Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden offers graduate students interested in sustainable engineering a Master’s degree in Sustainable Energy Engineering. The SEE program is divided into three specializations: Sustainable Power Generation, Sustainable Energy Utilization in the Built Environment and Solar Energy. Students living outside of Sweden can now participate in SEE Worldwide, a pilot program offering a limited number of students the chance to take courses online.

While traditional engineers design and develop structures and machines from engines to biomedical products for the modern world, sustainable engineers focus particularly on the effect that their designs will have on the environment and future generations. Sustainable engineers might research a new way to make waste systems more efficient, design alternative energy machines or build new, sustainable infrastructure. Sustainable Engineering as a field of study has exploded within the last five years, as universities from Scotland to Australia strive to incorporate its theories into their engineering programs.

The field of engineering is expanding rapidly to meet the demand to construct smarter, more sustainable cities. To build these better cities, engineers trained in sustainability will also need to work with a team of well trained planners, engineers and architects. Training urban planners, civic engineers and city designers to approach their work with sustainability in mind will help us plan our cities' structures in ways that will allow us to use fewer resources while achieving a higher quality of life.

Check out our Worldchanging community discussion on the where to study Sustainable Design and Engineering here.

schools_university.jpg More Places to Study

Rochester Institute of Technology

The University of California San Diego

The Centre for Sustainable Design at the University of Cambridge.

Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College

Humboldt State University

The Center for Sustainable Engineering

AASHE's list of sustainable engineering graduate programs

Images by Morgan Greenseth

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