Minor in Energy Studies

The Energy Studies Minor complements the deep expertise obtained in any MIT major with broad, interdisciplinary training in science, technology, and the social sciences, including policy issues surrounding energy and climate change.

Students take classes in four core areas, plus 24 units of electives. The core consists of:

  • Science Foundations: fundamental laws and principles that govern energy sources, conversion, and uses;
  • Economics Foundations: how economic principles underlie every aspect of energy;
  • Social Science Foundations: social scientific perspectives that help explain human behavior in an energy context, and;
  • Energy Technology/Engineering in Context: the application of laws and principles to a specific energy context.

The elective component (generally two classes) allows students to focus on their individual areas of interest.

Developed and administered by the MIT Energy Initiative, the Energy Studies Minor sets students on the path to tackle the world’s complex climate and energy challenges. Through the minor, students build strong foundational knowledge of diverse energy topics while benefiting from hands-on learning opportunities to work with world-renowned researchers, policy analysts, and thought leaders. Students also make groundbreaking discoveries and prepare for exciting careers in industry, government, and academia.

Core Curriculum
Science Foundations
8.21Physics of Energy12
or 12.021 Earth Science, Energy, and the Environment
Economics Foundations
14.01Principles of Microeconomics9-12
or 15.0111 Economic Analysis for Business Decisions
Social Science Foundations
Select one of the following:12
Geography of the Global Economy
Energy Economics and Policy
Economics of Energy, Innovation, and Sustainability
Global Energy: Politics, Markets, and Policy
Energy Technology/Engineering in Context
Select one of the following:12
Fundamentals of Advanced Energy Conversion 1
Urban Energy Systems and Policy
Introduction to Sustainable Energy
Introduction to Energy in Global Development
Select 24 units from the following: 224
Fundamentals of Ecology
Engineering Sustainability: Analysis and Design 1
Global Change Science 1
Rock-on-a-Chip: Microfluidic Technology for Visualization of Flow in Porous Media 1
Environmental Law, Policy, and Economics: Pollution Prevention and Control
Thermal-Fluids Engineering I 1
Thermal-Fluids Engineering II 1
Nano-to-Macro Transport Processes 1
Fundamentals of Smart and Resilient Grids 1
Marine Power and Propulsion 1
Fundamentals of Photovoltaics
Energy, Materials, and Manufacturing 1
Principles of Engineering Practice
or 3.004
Principles of Engineering Practice
Fundamentals of Materials Science and Engineering
Microstructural Evolution in Materials
Materials Performance in Extreme Environments 1
Materials Science and Engineering of Clean Energy 1
Environmental Technologies in Buildings
Modeling Urban Energy Flows for Sustainable Cities and Neighborhoods
Synthesis of Coordination Compounds and Kinetics 1
Chemistry of Renewable Energy 1
Thermodynamics and Kinetics
Introduction to Electric Power Systems 1
Power Electronics Laboratory 1
Micro/Nano Processing Technology
Introduction to Nanoelectronics 1
A Philosophical History of Energy
Foundational Analyses of Problems in Energy and the Environment
Chemical and Biological Engineering Thermodynamics 1
Energy Engineering Projects Laboratory 1
Chemical-Biological Engineering Laboratory 1
Transport Processes 1
Electrochemical Energy Systems 1
Politics of Energy and the Environment
Alternate Energy Sources
Global Environmental Negotiations
Environmental Policy and Economics
Global Climate Change: Economics, Science, and Policy
Unified Engineering: Materials and Structures 1
Unified Engineering: Signals and Systems 1
Unified Engineering: Fluid Dynamics 1
Unified Engineering: Thermodynamics 1
Ethics of Energy Policy
Nuclear Systems Design Project
Social Problems of Nuclear Energy
Materials Performance in Extreme Environments
Engineering of Nuclear Systems 1
Energy, Environment, and Society
Total Units69-72

Subject has prerequisites that are outside of the program.


See the Energy Studies Minor website for potential elective and core subject substitutions or additions.

Students who take more than the required subjects from any of the core curriculum subject lists may count the additional coursework toward the elective requirement. A minimum of three subjects (or 36 units) taken for the Energy Studies Minor cannot also count toward a student's major or other minor.

Contact Rachel Shulman, academic coordinator, MIT Energy Initiative Education Office, Room E19-306C, 617-324-7236, or visit the Energy Studies Minor website for more information.