Help Build a Sustainable Energy Future
Under growing pressure from environmental impacts, resource constraints and increased demand from a developing world, global energy systems are shifting towards a more sustainable energy future. Channel your passion for energy, engineering, and the environment and equip yourself with the skills required to engage in this global energy transformation with an online master’s in sustainable systems engineering.
The University of Wisconsin–Madison’s online Master of Engineering: Sustainable Systems Engineering (SSE) program focuses on preparing you to understand the policy, science, engineering and economics of tomorrow’s clean energy systems and sources.
How You’ll Benefit
The SSE program builds on the strengths of UW–Madison as a leader in engineering, energy and environmental sciences.
Students in the SSE program are attracted to this field for a variety of reasons. Some are looking to advance within their existing organization and want to gain additional knowledge and skills. Others are looking to pursue their personal missions and break into renewable energy or energy efficiency industries such as energy service companies, energy efficiency consulting, renewable energy design, utilities, public service or start-up firms.
When you complete the program, you will not only have an understanding of tomorrow’s clean energy principles, but you will understand the structure of today’s conventional energy systems, positioning yourself as a navigator in the ongoing clean energy transition.
Learn more about this program!
Watch our Info session:
“I will never forget Joy Altwies’ Building Efficiency class when she assigned readings from ASHRAE’s Achieving Zero Energy for K-12 Schools. I read the guide like a novel and later decided that the school system is where I need to be. Fast forward one year later, and here I am!”
—Karly Pulido, Hialeah, FL, SSE Class of 2021
“The most valuable part of the program was adding sustainability tools, knowledge, and experience to my background as an engineering professional working in the design and construction of buildings.”
—Paul Mueller, Naperville, IL, SSE Class of 2021
“This degree gives me the ammunition to transition within the energy industry. As an individual currently in O&G, now the renewable sector gives me call backs.”
—Trenton Mullin, Minot, ND, SSE Class of 2021
2 – 3 years
$1300 per credit
Resident and non-resident
June 15*/Nov 1
*Late applications accepted through July 1
Fall/spring application deadlines
Faculty Spotlight: Joy Altwies
Explore companies that embody the types of career paths open to graduates of our Master’s of Sustainable Systems Engineering program.
- Course and Degree Plan
- Learning Online
- Faculty & Staff
- Admission Requirements
- Tuition and Financial Aid
Courses in the Master of Engineering: Sustainable Systems Engineering (SSE) program are designed to provide foundational knowledge in the policy, science and economics of energy systems and sources. You will apply this knowledge to both energy efficiency and renewable energy production within the broad context of global sustainability. You will learn to wield your new knowledge effectively through professional development courses and pull it all together into a final Capstone project.
The SSE degree program consists of 30 credits, including a series of foundational and applied courses, business and professional courses and a capstone project. The standard completion time is two to three years.
Courses range in topic from renewable energy systems to energy efficiency to sustainable building systems.
Science/Sustainability Courses (minimum 9 credits)
- EPD 660 Core Competencies of Sustainability
- OTM 770 Sustainable Approaches to System Improvement
- BSE/ENVIR ST 367 Renewable Energy Systems
- GEOSCI/ENVIR ST 411 Energy Resources
- CIV 729 Environmental Sustainability Tools
Engineering and Design (minimum 12 credits)
- EPD 669 Sustainable Systems Engineering Capstone
- EPD 730 Sustainable Facilities
- ECE 355 Electromechanical Energy Conversion
- EPD 731 Energy Efficiency in Buildings
- EPD 690 Distributed Renewable Energy System Design (special topics)
- EPD 690 Sustainable Microgrids (special topics)
- CIV ENGR 535 Wind Energy Balance-of-Plant Design
Electives (maximum 9 credits)
- EP 602 Special Topics in EP: Sustainable Energy Challenges and Solutions
- EPD 639 Plastics Recycling and Sustainability
- EPD 701 Writing for Professionals
- EPD 702 Professional Presentations
- EPD 704 Organizational Communication
- EPD 706 Change Management
- EPD 708 Creating Breakthrough Innovations
- EPD/GEN BUS/MARKETNG 782 Marketing for Non-Marketing Professionals
- EPD/GEN BUS/MHR 783 Leading Teams
- GEN BUS/EPD/OTM 784 Project Management Essentials
- EPD/GEN BUS/MHR 785 Effective Negotiation Strategies
Study a research topic of interest with oversight from the SSE program director or SSE faculty. Pursue the study of a particular technology or process, research a product or business idea, or evaluate the feasibility of a sustainable engineering project. Enrollment is limited each semester. Contact SSE program director before semester of interest.
At UW-Madison, we’ve built a learning experience to meet you where you are.
Whether your work involves frequent travel, changing hours, or periods of intense demand, our courses help you grow wherever you happen to be and whenever you have online access. We develop and deliver courses for high-performing professionals, with a deep understanding of the challenges those professionals face.
As a UW student, you will be part of a vibrant community, challenged and supported by your fellow learners, as well as instructors. Our students and alumni consistently point to the value of the global professional network they develop through our programs, built through teamwork, challenges, and projects, and lasting a lifetime.
Senior faculty and experienced professionals in the industry facilitate the program’s courses. Our instructors stay connected with students and are highly accessible, which enables them to address the specific interests of students.
- Program Director: Joy Altwies, PhD, PE (read an interview with Joy)
- Graduate Academic Advisor: Karene Cary
- Alan R. Carroll, PhD
- Najoua Jouini, PhD
- James M. Tinjum, PE, PhD
- Giri Venkataramanan, PhD
- Scott Williams
The admissions process has been designed to conduct a holistic review of your likelihood of success in the program. Decisions are based on your academic and professional background.
To start the process, please read the admission requirements to determine your eligibility. If you have questions about your eligibility, please request an eligibility review by emailing our Graduate Academic Advisor Karene Cary. This email should include a copy of your current resume and informal transcripts.
Applications are accepted for admission during the fall and spring terms. Applications are reviewed in the order received until the June 15 deadline for fall admissions and November 1 for spring admissions. Admission is competitive and selective. Therefore, applicants are encouraged to submit application materials prior to the deadline.
Admission requirements for the Master of Engineering: Sustainable Systems Engineering (SSE) program are listed below.
Exceptions to standard admission requirements are considered by the admissions committee on an individual basis.
- A bachelor of science (BS) degree from a program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) or the equivalent.*
- A minimum undergraduate grade-point average (GPA) of 3.00 on the equivalent of the last 60 semester hours (approximately two years of work) or a master’s degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00. Applicants from an international institution must have a strong academic performance comparable to a 3.00 for an undergraduate or master’s degree. All GPAs are based on a 4.00 scale. We use your institution’s grading scale; do not convert your grades to a 4.00 scale.
- Applicants whose native language is not English must provide scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The minimum acceptable score on the TOEFL is 580 on the written version, 243 on the computer version, or 92 on the Internet version.
- International applicants must have a degree comparable to an approved U.S. bachelor’s degree.
- GRE is not required. Applicants who have taken the test are encouraged to submit their scores.
*Equivalency to an ABET accredited program: Applicants who do not hold a bachelor’s degree from an ABET accredited program may also qualify for admission to the program. Such applicants must have a BS in science, technology, or a related field with sufficient coursework and professional experience to demonstrate proficiency in engineering practice OR at least 16 credits of math and science coursework. Registration as a professional engineer by examination, if achieved, should be documented to support your application.
All applicants are advised to determine whether this program meets requirements for licensure in the state where they live. See the National Society of Professional Engineers website for contact information for state licensing boards
$1,300 per credit, payable at the beginning of each semester.
- Technology costs for Internet course delivery
- Live web-conferencing
- Toll-free telephone line for the audio portion of conference calls
- Library use
- Use of the web-conferencing software for group project work for program courses
- Technical support
- Access to campus computing resources
Total tuition for this program is $39,000*.
*This total does not include textbooks or course software. Software required for courses is typically available in educational versions at substantial discounts.
Students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents are eligible to receive some level of funding through the federal direct loan program. These loans are available to qualified graduate students who are taking at least four credits during the fall and spring semesters, and two credits during summer. Private loans are also available. Learn more about financial aid.
Many students receive some financial support from their employers. Often, students find it beneficial to sit down with their employer and discuss how this program applies to their current and future responsibilities. Other key points to discuss include how participation will not interrupt your work schedule.
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