Postgraduate study

Sustainable Energy Systems

Awards: MSc, PgDip

Study modes: Full-time

Funding available

Programme website: Sustainable Energy Systems

This internationally renowned degree, based within a world-leading renewable energy research group, equips graduates and professionals with a broad and robust training.

Wind, marine and solar energy technologies are covered, as well as the wider environment in which they are to fit, including: resource assessment; energy production, delivery and consumption; efficiency; sustainability; economics, policy and regulation.

In addition, our MSc students actively engage in research as part of their dissertation projects either within the Institute for Energy Systems or with industry, with some joining our PhD community afterwards.

This programme is accredited as counting towards further learning (FL), as a requisite in the educational base for a Chartered Engineering (CEng). This programme is also affiliated with the University's Global Environment & Society Academy.

This programme is run over 12 months, with two semesters of taught courses followed by a research project leading to a masters thesis.

Semester 1

  • Technologies for Sustainable Energy
  • Energy Innovation Governance and Strategy
  • Sustainable Energy Contexts
  • Either Electrical Engineering Fundamentals of Renewable Energy or Mechanical Engineering Fundamentals of Renewable Energy

Semester 2

  • Principles of Wind Energy
  • Marine Energy
  • Solar Energy and Photovoltaic Systems
  • An MSc Dissertation project from May to August

Depending on quotas and timetabling, we can offer further courses from the Schools of Engineering, GeoSciences, Mathematics, and Social and Political Science, and from Scotland's Rural College.

Graduates go on to a wide range of activities in industry, public organisations or academia. The MSc has well established links with industry, with many graduates finding employment with leading national and international companies involved with energy, consultancy and engineering. Recent graduates are now working as civil, structural, automotive, subsea and electrical engineers and as power systems, energy and environment and renewable energy consultants. Employing firms include Arup, Alston, Avery, Dennison, GE, Schneider, SSE and Scottish Power.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in engineering or physics.

If you apply with a background in another field, you may be accepted if you hold a UK first class honours degree, or its international equivalent, and have studied mathematics to first year undergraduate level, including vectorial calculus (gradients, curls, etc), complex algebra and Fourier transforms. You must also be able to demonstrate a strong interest in the energy sector.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

All applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:

  • an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 92 with at least 20 in each section
  • PTE(A): total 61 with at least 56 in each of the Communicative Skills scores
  • CAE and CPE: total 176 with at least 169 in each paper
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components

Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than two and a half years old at the beginning of your degree programme. Language tests must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.

Find out more about our language requirements:

For detailed information on fee status, policies and payment see:

Additional costs cover the costs of visiting several hydro, coal, nuclear and wind power plants. They also cover several lectures, courses and workshops given by guest specialists from outside the University.

  • School of Engineering
  • Faraday Building
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3JL

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

You must submit a reference with your application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • School of Engineering
  • Faraday Building
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3JL