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Faculty of Engineering

Sustainable Energy Systems MSc

Wind turbines


Supplying and using energy in a sustainable fashion is essential. Countries across the world face the “trilemma” of combining energy sustainability with supply security and ensuring energy is accessible to everyone. We need to move to more sustainable forms of energy, managing the transition to maintain prosperity in the face of technical, political, economic and environmental challenges.

This programme has interdisciplinary energy science and technology at its core, but gives you an insight into key aspects of business, economics and policy so you can help to meet these challenges. You’ll explore technical, regulatory and financial issues surrounding the transition to an alternative energy supply system, as well as the sustainable use of energy.You’ll gain an understanding of renewable energy technologies as well as entrepreneurship and global policy issues and will be able to specialise in areas that suit your interests and career ambitions.

You’ll benefit from the chance to study in cutting-edge facilities where our researchers are pushing the boundaries of energy engineering and related disciplines. In our Energy Building, you’ll find a state-of-the art sustainable energy teaching laboratory, including solar, wind and wave/tidal power and a fuel cell system.

For project work, MSc students use a wide range of our energy research facilities. These could include our preparative facilities for processing and characterising materials used in energy applications, as well as facilities for advanced fuel characterisation, environmental monitoring and pollution control, stationary engines, test vehicles and combustion laboratories.

Course duration: 12 months (full-time)
Start date: September
Course fees (full-time): UK/EU: £10,000; International: £19,000
Scholarships: Scholarships worth up to £2,000 available.

You may also be interested in the following related programmes:
- MSc Energy and Environment
- MSc Electrical Engineering and Renewable Energy Systems
- MSc Climate Change and Environmental Policy

Course Content

Core modules will give you a good grounding in a range of topics to understand both the technical aspects and broader contexts of sustainable energy. You’ll learn how to analyse energy systems and explore renewable energy technologies such as wind, wave, bio-fuels and geothermal energy, within and outside of the lab.

At the same time, you’ll consider the economic and political landscape as it relates to technology development, and how non-technical issues influence the design, operation and development of energy supply systems. A module taught by Leeds University Business School will also introduce you to key issues in business and the concept of entrepreneurship, and guest speakers from our research community will share their research with you.

These modules will provide the foundation for more specialised studies later in the year. You’ll be able to choose from a range of optional modules focusing on major topics in sustainable energy such as transport, nuclear energy, electrical power systems and energy within built environments.

Towards the end of the programme you’ll undertake an individual research project related to a contemporary energy issue or technology. In keeping with the interdisciplinary nature of the programme, this will typically take a holistic approach and may consider technical, policy, environmental and financial aspects.

Course structure
These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

You’ll take six compulsory modules including your research project, and select two further optional modules.

Compulsory modules
Modules Description Credits
Energy Systems: Analysis and Efficiency A new module designed to convey key skills of analysis in the context of energy systems. These will include thermodynamics of energy systems, life cycle analysis and embedded energy analysis and general system analysis tools such as mixed integer linear programming. 15
Renewable Energy Laboratory You will complete at least four experiments exploring renewable energy technologies such as wind, wave, bio-fuels and geothermal energy. Each experiment will have associated on-line resources and exercises to convey the key technical issues along with short on-line assessments. Further assessment will be via laboratory note keeping and the preparation of a full laboratory report. 30
Policy and Economics for Sustainable Energy Systems This module will convey key issues in economics and policy emphasising how they must be considered closely with technology development. You will consider the key non-technical issues that influence the design, operation and development of energy supply systems in the UK and elsewhere. 15
Enterprise Awareness This module will be taught by Leeds University Business School and derived from their existing Enterprise Awareness & New Venture Creation module. 15
Energy Futures This module will comprise seminars from guest speakers chosen primarily from the universities post doc/research fellow community who will convey the essence of their research and its place in the energy landscape. 15

Research project
You will undertake an individual research project related to a contemporary energy issue/technology. In keeping with the interdisciplinary nature of the programme the projects will typically take a holistic approach and may consider technical, policy, environmental and financial aspects.

Optional modules (30 credits)
A selection of optional modules are available, which have been organised into themes. If you wish to maintain the interdisciplinary nature of this course and you have the appropriate background it will be possible to take modules from more than one theme. The modules available could include, but would not be restricted to, the following:
Theme Module Credits
Nuclear Nuclear Operations 15
Nuclear Futures 15
Electrical Power Systems Micro-Grid Laboratory 15
Grid-Connected Microgeneration Systems 15
Transport Combustion in Engines 15
Energy in the Built Environment Energy in Buildings 15
Bioenergy from Wastes 15

Career options

Upon graduation you’ll be ideally qualified to take up and pursue leading roles in the energy sector. With your business, policy and entrepreneurial skills and a high level of technical/scientific knowledge, you’ll be equipped for senior positions with traditional blue-chip engineering companies or power utilities.

Equally, you’ll be well placed to pursue careers in the financial sector and positions within the legislature and trade organisations. For those with a creative mind and entrepreneurial spirit, you’ll be well prepared for roles in new start-up businesses and will have many of the skills and attributes required to start one of your own.

Careers support
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.

Entry requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in engineering or a physical science subject. Relevant professional qualifications and experience may also be considered.

All applicants will need to have GCSE English Language at grade C or above, or an appropriate English language qualification.

We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications.

English Language Requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English
If English is not your first language, you may be able to take a pre-sessional course before you begin your studies. This can help if you:

-  don't meet the English language requirements for your course
-  want to improve your understanding of academic language and practices in your area of study.

Our pre-sessional courses are designed with a progression route to the degree programme and are tailored to the subject area. For information and entry requirements, read Language for Science and Engineering B (6 weeks) and Language for Science and Engineering A (10 weeks).

How to apply

You can apply for our postgraduate courses online. This will allow you to track your application at each stage of the process. For assistance please view our postgraduate taught guidelines.

If you are an International (non-EU/EEA or Swiss citizen) applicant who has applied for, or intends to apply for, this course within the Faculty of Engineering and require a student visa to study in the UK then you will require an ATAS certificate.

If you require any further information please contact our admissions team,
e:, t: +44 (0)113 343 2343.

Admissions for this programme are handled by our School of Chemical and Process Engineering.