Germany’s declared goal to transition towards sustainable energy inspires many universities to offer new courses of study specifically geared to fulfill the particular needs that arise in this process. A great number of these academic offers focus on singular aspects of the problem, such as for instance the utilization of biomass.
In contrast, this RWTH Master's course of study is aiming for a much more comprehensive skills profile. It is characterized in particular by two unique factors:
By working together with the faculties of Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering, this course of study offers students the opportunity to chose individual specializations on one hand while at the same time providing them with a sound subject-specific foundation, which all students acquire in compulsory classes.Great importance is attached to understanding the complexity of the energy supply field, which is influenced by many factors, including the extraction of raw materials to be used as energy carriers, their processing and distribution as well as other economic aspects. All of these separate areas are treated in combination in a special compulsory class, the planning seminar. Here, all future engineers have to come together in groups to plan and evaluate an entire energy-generating facility. To do this, they take on the role of staff in an engineering office, who have to deliver results while working against a deadline. What could better prepare these future professionals if not a program held under realistic conditions?
The Master's program "Sustainable Energy Supply" comprises four areas of study: raw materials, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and a non-technical area of study. Students must complete various mandatory and elective courses from all of the four areas, but there are not regulations on when and in what order these areas are to be completed. The final components of the program are the Master's thesis and an industrial internship. It is possible to combine the internship and the Master's thesis, i.e. the internship research and activities form the basis for the Master’s thesis.
Leaving university as well-trained engineers in the field of sustainable energy supply, the graduates will play an important role in achieving a successful transition toward sustainable energy. It doesn't really matter where exactly in this complex system they start their careers. It is the interaction of all the different players together that will lead to success. Due to their multi-disciplinary education and training, the graduates can either function as intermediaries between the different professional groups or they can focus on a distinct subject area.
In addition to the big energy producers and network providers, smaller companies are also looking for qualified staff. More and more it is the interconnections between decentralized facilities that matter; and this is exactly what the well-trained engineers bring to the table with their individualized specializations.
Due to the increasing scarcity of fossil fuels and the rising energy needs of the ever-growing world population, professionals who have received interdisciplinary education and training and therefore have an ability to see the big picture are in high demand.
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