Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Department of Chemical Engineering

M.S. Alternative Energy


The development of sustainable energy using solar cells, fuel cells, biofuels,and nuclear fusion has attracted tremendous attention worldwide.  The Chemical Engineering faculty has established exceptionally strong research programs in advanced materials, biotechnology, and nanotechnology as the intellectual foundation for the pursuit of alternative energy resources to supplement, and ultimately to supplant, fossil fuels.  It is timely to have a New York State approved M.S. Alternative Energy degree program in place to educate and train workforce for an emerging job market into the future.  This post-graduate program is designed for students entering with a B.S. degree in engineering or science.  

Academic Preparation

All students who intend to enroll in the Master's of Science program in Alternative Energy should have received a Bachelor’s degree in engineering or science.  The Master's of Science in Alternative Energy is independent of the existing Master's of Science in Chemical Engineering; students in the Chemical Engineering program must be formally accepted by the Alternative Energy program to pursue a Master’s degree therein.  Entering students must have completed two-semester courses in general chemistry, general physics, and calculus, in addition to one-semester courses in differential equations and thermodynamics, or their equivalents.  Students deficient in these academic preparations will be required to take remedial courses in addition to the degree requirements described below.

Degree Options and Requirements

The programs of study of all students must receive approval by their faculty advisors, the Director of Graduate Studies in Chemical Engineering, and the Dean of Graduate Studies in Arts, Sciences and Engineering.  The Master of Science in Alternative Energy degree can be earned with (Plan A) or without (Plan B) writing a thesis; the general requirements for these two options are as described for existing Master of Science programs in the University of Rochester’s Graduate Studies Bulletin.  Plans A and B are available to both full- and part-time students.  Full-time students receiving stipends from grants or contracts, however, are expected to write a thesis (Plan A) under the sponsoring faculty advisors’ supervision.

Master of Science with Thesis (Plan A)

Students in Plan A must earn a minimum of 30 credit hours, at least 18 of which should be attributed to 400-level courses.  The balance of the credit-hour requirement can be satisfied through independent reading (no more than 4 credit hours) and thesis research (at least 6 credit hours), culminating in a Master’s thesis.

Master of Science without Thesis (Plan B)

Students in Plan B must earn a minimum of 32 credit hours of coursework acceptable as graduate credits, at least 18 of which should be attributed to the 400-level courses identified and no more than 4 through independent reading.  Students may opt for industrial internship (1 credit hour), for which a final essay must be submitted as a part of their degree requirements.  In addition to coursework and the essay, all Plan B students must pass a comprehensive written examination as part of the degree requirements.

Coursework Requirements

To fulfill the credit-hour requirements, students should include a minimum of three core competency courses for Plan A, and at least four for Plan B, of which at least one must be selected from ERG 458, 460, 464 and 465. The   courses identified below provide core competency in alternative energy, and the balance of the coursework requirement can be satisfied by taking technical electives listed as follows. With prior approval by the Program Director of Graduate Studies, equivalent graduate-level courses will be accepted, and up to two undergraduate equivalents can be accommodated at three credit hours each.


M.S. Alternative Energy Graduate Handbook

Graduate Programs