College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

New graduate program offers advanced engineering degree for those with an interest in the energy industry

Iowa State’s interdisciplinary, coursework-only, online master’s of engineering in energy systems engineering launches this fall

As the world’s population grows, so does a need for sustainable energy sources. With that need comes a demand for knowledge in a variety of energy-related areas and training for professionals working in these areas.

Engineering professors at Iowa State say a new master’s of engineering program will provide that education.

The program in energy systems engineering, which aims to build knowledge, skills, and abilities specific to energy system design, evaluation, construction, and management, is an interdepartmental effort developed to give students and working professionals a chance to move into an emerging field.

“Energy systems engineering involves a lot of new and emerging technologies that are necessary for sustainable energy in the future,” said Ted Heindel, director of graduate education for the new program and Bergles Professor of Thermal Science in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. “Our program offers a chance to focus on one energy area while learning about others at the same time, giving students in-depth knowledge and a broad perspective.”

The program consists of 10 classes and requires that students take ME 531: Advanced Energy Systems and Analysis and ME 510: Energy Engineering Economics and Policy, along with a math or statistics course and a professional development course.

Electives for the program fall within a variety of energy-related areas including: biorenewables, wind, nuclear, power generation and distribution, building energy and energy efficiency, and thermal science. Students take three courses in a single focus area, and the remaining courses can be selected from a long list of options that cut across engineering disciplines.

“We want to offer flexibility in our program and also give students enough education in a specific area of interest,” Heindel said. “A lot of the courses in the electives were already offered to our students, and we’ve packaged them into an opportunity to earn a master’s degree in an important field.”

The coursework-only program is available not only on-campus but also through Iowa State’s Engineering-LAS Online Learning, making it a convenient and accessible option for working professionals and on-campus students alike.

Students who want to get a taste of what the program is like can earn a graduate certificate in energy systems engineering first, which is a four-course program. “All the courses for the certificate can be applied to the master’s degree, making it a great way to see if the program is a good fit,” Heindel said. “They can even start taking classes this fall as a non-degree graduate student, assuming they satisfy all the entrance requirements.”

More information

Applications are being accepted for students interested in the master’s of engineering or graduate certificate program in energy systems engineering. To learn more, check out the admission requirements at You can also contact Ted Heindel ( or 515-294-0057) or Engineering-LAS Online Learning ( or 800-854-1675 or 515-294-7470).