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
Select one of the following:12
Physics of Energy
Earth Science, Energy, and the Environment
Economics Foundations
Select one of the following:9-12
Principles of Microeconomics
Economic Analysis for Business Decisions
Social Science Foundations
Select one of the following:12
Geography of the Global Economy
Urban Energy Systems and Policy 2
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 2
Introduction to Sustainable Energy
Introduction to Energy in Global Development
Applications of Energy in Global Development
Select 24 units from the following: 324
Fundamentals of Ecology
Engineering Sustainability: Analysis and Design 1
Global Change Science 1
Environmental Law, Policy, and Economics: Pollution Prevention and Control
Machine Learning for Sustainable Systems
Thermal-Fluids Engineering I 1
Thermal-Fluids Engineering II 1
Nano-to-Macro Transport Processes 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
Structure of Materials 1
Thermodynamics of Materials 1
Microstructural Evolution in Materials
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 I
Thermodynamics II and Kinetics
United States Energy Policy: Lessons Learned for the Future
Electric Energy Systems 1
Power Electronics Laboratory 1
Introduction to Nanoelectronics 1
Micro/Nano Processing Technology
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
Decarbonizing Urban Mobility
Politics of Energy and the Environment
Harnessing Power from Environmental Microbes and Chemical Gradients
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 and Propulsion 1
Nuclear Systems Design Project
Social Problems of Nuclear Energy
Materials Performance in Extreme Environments 1
Engineering of Nuclear Systems 1
Fusion Energy 1
Analog Electronics and Analog Instrumentation Design
Engineering, Economics and Regulation of the Electric Power Sector
Energy Systems for Climate Change Mitigation
Energy, Environment, and Society
Total Units69-72

Subject has prerequisites that are outside of the program.


Subject can fulfill either the Social Science Foundations requirement or the Energy Technology/Engineering in Context requirement, but not both.


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 Rowan Elowe, Education Program Manager, MIT Energy Initiative Education Office, Room E19-432K, 617-324-1967, or visit the Energy Studies Minor website for more information.