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Course length

1 year full-time


Durham City

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Course details

The MSc in Renewable and Sustainable Energy will equip you with the necessary insight and experience to be able to make a major contribution in tackling the ever-growing challenges faced across the globe to achieve energy and environmental sustainability.

Using the latest engineering tools to support your work, you will develop an understanding of energy systems and the application of renewable and sustainable energy technologies including electricity generation from renewable and conventional sources, smart networks and low carbon and electric vehicles, and decarbonised heating and cooling systems.

As well as traditional taught modules, you will learn important collaborative working skills by joining with fellow students to undertake group advanced design work, to the appropriate design standards and using complex engineering analysis tools, which will develop your ability to work cooperatively and share ideas. 

You will also have the opportunity to develop your own skills and abilities in innovation and application by undertaking a major research and development project which will allow you to demonstrate how you would aim to solve challenges in energy and environmental sustainability.

The MSc in Renewable and Sustainable Energy gives you the tools to address a topic of global importance and understand the wide range of technical, economic and social issues associated with the generation and use of energy from renewable and sustainable sources.

Course structure

Core modules:

Research and Development Project offers you an exciting challenge as part of the development of your electronic engineering knowledge. With the support of a supervisor, you will identify and apply the specific methods required for investigating your chosen subject. You will then generate data and carry out an analysis in order to make recommendations and findings that you will present in a report.

Group Design Project sees your participation with colleagues in a complex engineering system design task which will develop your knowledge of system design, introduce the concept of interdisciplinary design teams and will enable you to apply knowledge gained in lectures to a complex engineering problem.

Future Vehicles 4 looks at future transport devices, explaining their characteristics and their technical and economic constraints and possibilities for the future. It will introduce you to analytical methods and simulation tools for system design and analysis. 

Renewable Energy Technologies 4 provides you with an overview and description of the major renewable energy technologies and an explanation of the working principles of systems for the major renewable energy technologies. It will also explain the technical, as well as economic, constraints and solutions of renewable energy technology.

Smart Energy Networks 4 describes the characteristics of energy networks, explains their working principles of systems for integrating renewable energy sources and sets out explanations for the technical constraints and potential solutions related to smart energy networks.

Decarbonisation of Heating and Cooling 4 provides a detailed look at the characteristics of heating and cooling systems that are not based on carbon technologies.

Electrical Energy Conversion 4 looks at the characteristics of renewable electrical energy conversion and offers explanations for the working principles of systems for renewable electrical energy conversion, and the technical and economic constraints and potential solutions associated with renewable electrical energy conversion.

In recent years, optional modules have included:

  • Internet of Everything 4
  • Optimisation 4
  • Environmental Engineering 4


Offering a combination of taught modules, a group design project and major individual research and development project, the course offers a varied and challenging experience to develop knowledge and understanding of a key global issue.

Core taught modules typically involve 38 hours of lectures, supported by independent learning. A group design project offers the opportunity to learn a wide range of skills and develop technical expertise in the application of system design ideas, with an emphasis on energy systems and sustainability.

This project will help boost your presentation skills and your ability to project manage and to work in a team with colleagues. Importantly, you will also be able to develop your research skills.

You will also complete an individual research and development project, with the support of a supervisor who will hold regular meetings to check on your progress and to discuss any planning issues.

Throughout your research project, you will have 12 hours of quality contact time with your supervisor and more than 500 hours of research work and preparation, during which you will be supported by the Department’s technicians and research staff.

As well as the core modules, you will also select one of three optional modules.


The course assessment is rigorous and includes a combination of project work, written exams and presentations.

Following the completion of the research and development project, you will be required to submit a report on your work, in the style and format of a research paper. You will also have an oral examination centring on the technical aspects of your project.

Finally, you will be required to create and deliver a presentation of your project in poster form to staff and colleagues, which will help develop your communication skills.

Entry requirements

A second class honours degree (typically equivalent to UK 2:1 Honours) or better.

This should normally be in an appropriate Engineering or Engineering-related subject including modules in Electrical Engineering and/or Thermodynamics, Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer, Mathematics for Engineers or Scientists, and computing/programming experience (ideally Matlab, but other languages are acceptable). In some instances we can consider industrial or other relevant experience if you have a different first degree.

English language requirements

Fees and funding

Full Time Fees

Tuition fees
Home students £13,500 per year
EU students £30,250 per year
Island students £13,500 per year
International students £30,250 per year

The tuition fees shown are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and Bursaries

We are committed to supporting the best students irrespective of financial circumstances and are delighted to offer a range of funding opportunities. 

Find out more about Scholarships and Bursaries

Career opportunities


We take great pride in our reputation for producing engineers who make a successful and significant contribution in a wide range of professional career roles around the world.

We have strong links with industrial partners and our postgraduates have achieved rewarding and stimulating positions in civil, mechanical, electronic, electrical, manufacturing, design, aeronautics and systems engineering. They work as consultants, technology analysts, and software developers and as entrepreneurs, and also gain prestigious positions in banking and finance.

The Department has a dedicated careers contact who is available to offer advice and carry out mock interviews.

Our Industrial Partnership Committee of around 20 local, national and international companies will ensure you have access to the best employment opportunities.

For further information on career options and employability, student and employer testimonials and details of work experience and study abroad opportunities, please visit our employability web pages. 

Department information


The Department of Engineering is a general engineering department that works on the principle that engineering is an integrated subject rather than a series of unconnected topics. The world-leading teaching and the research opportunities that we offer underline this academic positioning.

We guide postgraduate researchers so that they are able to make a significant contribution in the Department’s key areas of engineering focus. These topics range from the development of energy systems of the future, through next generation materials and microsystems to creating sustainable infrastructures. All reflect the challenges now facing the modern world.

Taught courses include MSc qualifications in Advanced Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering and Renewable and Sustainable Energy. We also offer the Doctor of Philosophy and the Master of Science by Research, which involve individualised training and require an extensive research project or thesis to be completed.

Teaching and supervision are provided by the Department’s subject specialists, who have an outstanding reputation for their expertise. An extensive range of facilities is available to support research work and we have strong and productive links with industry partners, ensuring that the research is relevant and applicable at this challenging yet exciting time to be in engineering.

For more information see our department pages.


  • 5th in The Guardian University Guide 2024
  • 7th in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024


For a current list of staff, please see the Engineering Department pages.


The Department of Engineering features a number of modern dedicated teaching laboratories including the newly refurbished electrical laboratory. Other facilities include a wind tunnel, state-of-the-art clean rooms for experiments in very controlled environments and a geotechnical engineering laboratory.

An investment of more than £4 million has boosted the computing resources available, providing large memory and high-end processor machines for projects requiring major computer capacity.

Our students benefit from the Engineering Open Access area, which was built to facilitate both group work and individual projects.

The Department is located on the main campus at Lower Mountjoy, close to the centre of Durham and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

More information on our facilities and equipment.


Find out more:

Apply for a postgraduate course (including PGCE International) via our online portal.  

Visit Us

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Join a Postgraduate Open Day
  • Date: 01/09/2023 - 31/08/2024
  • Time: 09:00 - 17:00
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Self-Guided Tours
  • Date: 01/09/2023 - 31/08/2024
  • Time: 09:00 - 16:00
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