Equity and sustainability of energy resources in the face of increasing global population and economic development are key issues at the center of the public discourse today. The objective of this certificate program is to offer undergraduate students a suite of courses addressing energy sustainability. The courses span across the engineering curriculum, with firm roots in real-world design and engineering practices.

Students enrolled as degree-seeking undergraduates with a minimum GPA of 2.5 and a plan of study to fulfill the certificate requirements may enroll in the program. Applications may be submitted at any time, but students are encouraged to apply early in their undergraduate careers in order to ensure successful completion of the program; however, students may take courses that fulfill certificate requirements before submitting an application.


A student interested in completing the certificate program must contact a designated faculty member in the major department to apply. The student and faculty member must complete a Declaration of Intent and Study Plan to enter the certificate program.

Required: Declaration of Intent and Study Plan

See the People tab to find your designated faculty contact.

When the student and faculty member have filled out and signed the Declaration of Intent and Study Plan, the student must hand them in to Room 2150 Wisconsin Energy Institute.


Students must select 16 “sustainability credits” from a suite of available courses that are divided into the following categories:

  • Liberal Studies and Science (Minimum of 3, maximum of 6 sustainability credits)
  • Engineering (Minimum of 3, maximum of 6 sustainability credits)
  • Capstone (Minimum of 3, maximum of 6 sustainability credits)
  • Seminar (1 sustainability credit required)

The seminar requirement is fulfilled through the course CBE 555 Seminar-Chemical Engineering Connections, or E P 602 Special Topics in Engineering Physics (Sustainable Energy Challenges and Solutions), both of which are open to all engineering majors.

Not all courses have the same number of sustainability credits as academic credits; some courses have fewer sustainability credits depending on how closely related they are to energy and sustainability. Students should review the sustainability credits associated with each course while filling out their study plan.


Liberal Studies and Science

A A E 246 Climate Change Economics and Policy 3 sustainability credits3
ENVIR ST 112 Environmental Studies: Social Science Perspectives 3 sustainability credits3
ENVIR ST 113 Environmental Studies: Environmental Humanities 3 sustainability credits3
ENVIR ST/​GEOG  139 Global Environmental Issues 3 sustainability credits3
ENVIR ST/​A A E  244 The Environment and the Global Economy 3 sustainability credits4
ENVIR ST 250 Introduction to Sustainability Science 3 sustainability credits3
ENVIR ST/​GEOG  339 Environmental Conservation 3 sustainability credits4
ENVIR ST/​A A E/​ECON  343 Environmental Economics 3 sustainability credits3-4
ENVIR ST/​GEOSCI  411 Energy Resources 3 sustainability credits3
ENVIR ST/​GEOG/​HISTORY  460 American Environmental History 3 sustainability credits4
ENVIR ST/​A A E/​CIV ENGR/​URB R PL  561 Energy Markets 3 sustainability credits3


BSE/​DS/​LAND ARC  356 Sustainable Residential Construction 2 sustainability credits3
BSE/​ENVIR ST  367 Renewable Energy Systems 3 sustainability credits3
BSE 460 Biorefining: Energy and Products from Renewable Resources 3 sustainability credits3
BSE 461 Food and Bioprocessing Operations 1 sustainability credit3
CBE 250 Process Synthesis 1 sustainability credit3
CBE 310 Chemical Process Thermodynamics 1 sustainability credit3
CBE 311 Thermodynamics of Mixtures 1 sustainability credit3
CBE 326 Momentum and Heat Transfer Operations 1 sustainability credit3
CBE 430 Chemical Kinetics and Reactor Design 1 sustainability credit3
CBE 450 Process Design 1 sustainability credit3
CBE 562 Special Topics in Chemical Engineering (Topic: Energy and Sustainability) 3 sustainability credits3
CBE/​M E  567 Solar Energy Technology 3 sustainability credits3
CIV ENGR 320 Environmental Engineering 1 sustainability credit3
CIV ENGR 370 Transportation Engineering 1 sustainability credit3
CIV ENGR/​G L E  421 Environmental Sustainability Engineering 3 sustainability credits3
E C E 355 Electromechanical Energy Conversion 1 sustainability credit3
E C E 356 Electric Power Processing for Alternative Energy Systems 3 sustainability credits3
E C E 412 Power Electronic Circuits 1 sustainability credit3
E C E 427 Electric Power Systems 1 sustainability credit3
G L E 401 Special Topics in Geological Engineering (Topic: Wind Energy Site Design and Construction) 3 sustainability credits1-4
or CIV ENGR 639 Special Topics in Geotechnical Engineering
M E 361 Thermodynamics 1 sustainability credit3
M E 370 Energy Systems Laboratory 1 sustainability credit3
M E 466 Air Pollution Effects, Measurements and Control 1 sustainability credit3
or CIV ENGR 423 Air Pollution Effects, Measurement and Control
M S & E 330 Thermodynamics of Materials 1 sustainability credit4
M S & E 331 Transport Phenomena in Materials 1 sustainability credit3
N E 571 Economic and Environmental Aspects of Nuclear Energy 3 sustainability credits3


Courses numbered 489, 491, 599, 601, and 699 (not exhaustive) are examples of courses that may count towards this requirement. See capstone course guidelines for more information.


E P 602 Special Topics in Engineering Physics 1 sustainability credit1-3
CBE 555 Seminar-Chemical Engineering Connections 1 sustainability credit1


Some courses may require additional approval to appear in students’ DARS reports as having fulfilled part of the certificate requirements. Students who are taking a course for the capstone requirement must fill out this DARS Authorization Form to receive the proper number of sustainability credits. For more information on obtaining credits for capstone courses, see Capstone Course Guidelines.

In addition, students who wish to receive sustainability credits for courses that are not currently on the pre-approved list may also complete the DARS Authorization Form and explain why the course should receive sustainability credits.

Once a form is filled out, it will be sent to the certificate faculty committee for approval. To expedite the approval process, students should submit their DARS Authorization Form before or near the beginning of the semester in which they plan to take the course.


This undergraduate certificate must be completed concurrently with the student’s undergraduate degree. Students cannot delay degree completion to complete the certificate.

  1. Understand the physical properties and processes related to energy resources and the conversion technologies involved.
  2. Understand how energy decisions are impacted by environmental, social, economic or political factors.
  3. Synthesize knowledge of the technical/physical aspects of energy with the social/environmental factors to analyze how energy choices impact the sustainability of energy systems.
  4. Apply interdisciplinary energy knowledge to analyze, design or solve a matter of real world significance related to sustainability of energy use.

The following faculty members have been designated as a point of contact for each department:

Students who are not engineering majors should contact Scott Williams ( to discuss options for completing the certificate or alternative programs.

Engineering Physics Department


Smith (also Mathematics)
Waleffe (also Mathematics)
Wilson (chair)





See department website for list.