Clean Energy 4 Africa

UniversityThe Starting University Degree

Renewable energy is a multidisciplinary field and can be studied or explored through several disciplines such as engineering, business and economics, and applied sciences.

Building a career in renewable energy usually requires an appropriate university degree. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, renewable energy is a multidisciplinary field and can be studied or explored through several disciplines such as engineering, business and economics, and applied sciences. However, if you already have a university degree in a non-related field, you can always equip yourself with professional courses (and online courses) and start gaining experience. I personally know a lot of renewable energy professionals whose university degrees have nothing to do with energy!

What degree should I go for?

It is a really hard decision to select your university degree! (especially if you really don’t know what you want to do after college or what field is most interesting to you). Hence, as a start, try to figure out what is the best university program for you. This 7-min Youtube video by Brian Yam offers some great tips!

Assuming you have already made up your mind that you want to study a program relevant to renewable energy, then I suggest three areas of study: engineering, business and economics, and sciences. Remember however, these areas of study might not have an explicit module on renewable energy (or even energy in general), except maybe in your final year (where you make take some specialized elective courses), because they are undergraduate programs that are meant to be generic. They will, however, equip with several tools and a learning mindset which will help you specialize in renewable energy after graduation.

  • Engineering: All types of engineering (mechanical, electrical, civil, chemical, computer etc) are great starting paths for a career in renewable energy. An engineering degree will equip you with a solid foundation in several disciplines like mathematics, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, structures, materials, processes, and computer modelling (to name a few), which will help you understand the technical side of renewable energy.
  • Business and Economics: This is another great area of study that can help you understand markets, business fundamentals, investments, and develop strong analytical skills. Graduates of business and economics programs can pretty much work in any industry! Read more about studying business and economics here.
  • Sciences: Here I mean basic sciences such as mathematics, physics, and chemistry. These study areas will equip you with strong analytical skills, attention to details, experimentation knowledge, and overall will prepare you to go into scientific research (among other career options).

Specialized Bachelors Programs in Renewable Energy

You can start a career in renewable energy by taking a specialized university program at the undergraduate level. Several universities globally now offer renewable energy as a specialization from the bachelors level (either as a program on its own, as a major, or as a minor).

Below, you will find my top picks for specialized renewable energy undergraduate programs/majors/minors. This list contains 43 programs offered by academic institutions from all over the world.