Minor in Renewable Energy


1. Background and rationale


The Minor Renewable Energy (MRE) has been established as a new interdisciplinary minor program.  It is designed for students in the STEM areas majoring in the following departments: Physics and Astronomy, Chemistry, Environmental Sciences, Biology, Mathematics, MIME, Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Civil Engineering and Bioengineering. Students with other majors can enroll in the MRE provided they complete the prerequisite courses.


The goal of the minor is to expose the students to quantitative analyses of the use of energy in human societies, its consequences and environmental impacts.  A primary focus will be on the advantages and complexities of introducing renewable energy resources.  Students will be required to take at least one course in the social, political, and economic ramifications of the use of energy in general and renewable energy in particular. An internship is required to enhance the practical training of students.


The program is designed to allow students to obtain the 21 hour minor with as few additional requirements as possible beyond their normal STEM major.  That is, some of the courses will also serve to satisfy the distribution requirements for graduation.


Seven courses each of three credits will consist the requirements of the minor.


2. A brief description of the courses is listed below. Detailed description of these can be found here.


Requirements: Students must complete at least 21 hours of course work selected as follows.

–        Four required courses

•         PHYS3400 Physical Principles of Energy Sources for Humans  3 credit hrs

•         EEES2200/GELP2200  Climate Change  3 credit hrs

•         CHEM3810 Chemistry of Sustainable Energy Resources 3 credit hrs

•         PHYS4940 Internship in Renewable Energy 3 credit hrs

–        Select one from

•         PSC4340 Environmental Policy 3 credit hrs

•         ECON3240 Environmental Economics 3 credit hrs

–        Select two of the following

•         PHYS4400 Varieties of Solar Energy 3 credit hrs

•         MIME4410 Renewable Energy 3 credit hrs

•         CHEE/BIOE 4980 Biofuels 3 credit hrs

•         CHEE 4980  Fuel Cells and the Hydrogen Economy 3 credit hrs


Prerequisites: PHYS2080 General Physics II or higher, CHEM1240 General Chemistry II, both courses under CHEE4980 require MATH1850 Single Variable Calculus I.