2019-20 Graduate Catalog 
    Jun 22, 2024  
2019-20 Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Sustainable Energy Systems [SES] M.S.

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Moataz Emam, chair and graduate coordinator
Physics Department  
Bowers Hall, Room 342
Fax: 607-753-4973


Discover ways to maximize energy efficiency and how to develop renewable resources to meet today's energy needs and those of future generations by combining sound scientific principles with effective business practices as you study for the M.S. in sustainable energy systems at SUNY Cortland.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this program, students will be able to:

  1. Apply the laws of thermodynamics to evaluate the functioning and efficiency of practical devices commonly encountered in the energy industries.  Such devices include engines, heat pumps, and refrigerators
  2. Demonstrate a familiarity with the environmental and social impacts of our current choices for energy production as well as with the array of ever changing options available to meet society's needs through sustainable technologies and practices
  3. Apply the laws of physics to evaluate the functioning of active and passive circuits as well as their application to the behavior of power electronics with a particular focus on D.C. to A.C. conversion and other elements of renewable energy system design and operation
  4. Design, build, and analyze a variety of active and passive circuits in a laboratory setting as well as simulate the behavior of power electronic circuits using computer programs
  5. Apply the laws of physics to evaluate the functioning of currently commercialized renewable electricity generation and storage technologies with a particular focus on photovoltaic cells and residential and utility scale wind turbines
  6. Apply the laws of thermodynamics to evaluate heat generation, distribution, and retention in residential and commercial buildings with a particular focus on the thermal envelope of buildings, active and passive solar heating strategies, and geothermal and air-source heat pumps
  7. Execute and evaluate energy analyses, and model/investigate energy consumption of real buildings
  8. Apply the laws of physics to conduct structural analysis with a particular focus on those relevant to roof and pole mounted solar electric and solar thermal systems and tower mounted wind turbines
  9. Apply skills and techniques in market, management, accounting, and finance to the types of practical, real-world problems encountered in businesses varying in scale from small, local firms to large national companies with a particular focus on the sale, management, and financing of renewable energy installations
  10. Examine and report the results of independent technical research, as well as, the results of energy system analyses such as building audits or studies of solar potential at a site in a professional manner in both an oral and written forms
  11. Apply the National Electrical Code to appropriately select and site commercially available renewable energy equipment, wiring, and safety equipment
  12. Demonstrate familiarity with a Computer Aided Design software package to communicate design choices in a professional way

Program Highlights

Through advanced study in the physics of sustainable energy systems, you'll explore engineering mechanics, energy and sustainability, fundamentals of thermodynamics and the thermodynamics of building design and technology. You'll also investigate the physics of renewable energy technology, as well as power electronics and circuit elements and devices. Key business topics include accounting, marketing, management and professional writing.

Culminating Experience

In a six-credit-hour culminating experience, you'll successfully complete a professional internship with a renewable energy company, engineering firm, building performance company or a company that designs and installs high-efficiency heating, cooling or lighting systems.

Career Potential

With the M.S. in sustainable energy systems from SUNY Cortland, you'll be well prepared to pursue careers in engineering, manufacturing, construction and building performance, architecture and design, energy security or renewable energy, as well as nanotechnology, biomass gasification, solar thermal power, biorefinery technologies, geothermal energy, ocean energy and other third-generation energy technologies.

Graduate Admissions

Evaluation Policy

At the State University of New York College at Cortland we seek a diverse and academically strong student body. Our admission policy and practice will not discriminate on the basis of age, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disability, national origin or marital status.

Required Materials

  1. Completed online Graduate School Application — Apply Now
  2. Official transcripts from all institutions of higher learning attended to be forwarded directly to SUNY Cortland Graduate Admissions Office.
    Note: Candidates for admission must present evidence of bachelor's degree conferral prior to the start of their academic program.
  3. A resume or curriculum vitae.
  4. A one- to two-page statement of educational and professional goals relating to the M.S. program.
  5. Three letters of recommendation from former professors or professional colleagues who can speak to the candidate's preparation for the M.S. program, submitted online with the application.

Admissions Criteria

Applicants are generally required to have an undergraduate cumulative grade point average of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale. However, circumstances including, but not limited to, endeavors following completion of a bachelor's degree and performance in the last two years of a bachelor's degree program will be considered in reviewing applications from students with lower grade point averages. Students who feel they are qualified in spite of an undergraduate grade point average below a 2.5 are encouraged to contact the department before applying for admission.

Applicants are expected to have a sufficient background in physics and calculus prior to applying. Exceptional applicants who do not meet all of the admission requirements may be considered on an individual basis. If admitted, these students may be required to complete additional requirements for the degree beyond those stated above. These additional requirements will be determined by the graduate coordinator of the degree program and may include specific courses, limited in number, based on the student's prior academic background in physics and mathematics.


Fall semester applications: July 1
Spring semester applications: Dec. 1

Applications submitted after the deadline may be considered on a space availability basis.
Please contact the Graduate Admissions Office at 607-753-4800 to check on availability.

Program Requirements

A minimum of 36 credit hours of approved graduate work as described below is required for the M.S. in Sustainable Energy Systems.

C. Culminating Activity: Six credit hours

M.S. candidates must successfully complete a six credit hour culminating activity in the form of a professional internship in a renewable energy company, engineering firm, building performance company, or a company that designs and installs high efficiency heating, cooling or lighting systems.

Additional Requirements

Other requirements for the award of the M.S. in Sustainable Energy Systems may be determined by the department and must be ascertained by students in consultation with the department graduate advisor.

Total Credit Hours Required: 36

Example of the course sequence for the M.S. in Sustainable Energy Systems over two years

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