The Energy Policy Option aims to produce graduates capable of combining the technical, environmental, economic, and legal and policy aspects of energy use and supply in tackling energy-related problems. Students from a wide range of backgrounds are given a broad understanding of the role of energy in the global and local economy, and the range of human and environmental impacts associated with energy systems.
The course aims to foster a range of skills, incorporating an in depth appreciation of technical subjects and quantitative methods with a balanced approach to policy analysis and communication. The ability to produce clear, critical and authoritative analysis of technical, economic and policy issues is the key aim, making graduates sought-after energy analysts, consultants and campaigners in the private and public sectors.
Energy plays a key role in most of the world’s environmental problems, from the global issue of climate change, through regional damage caused by acid rain, to poor local air quality. Energy markets throughout the world are evolving rapidly, with privatisation, competition, market structure and regulation all prominent issues in the UK, Europe and overseas. Resource depletion of fossil fuels, the role of renewable energy and social inequities such as fuel poverty are central issues for sustainable development. The influence of energy issues on international politics and security has come into sharp focus with conflicts affecting the Middle East and the former Soviet Union. The range of challenges for energy policy is diverse and exciting.
At the conclusion of the course, students should be:
The option is broadly divided into a series of modules: Policy, Assessment & Law; Energy Economics & Markets; Energy Use; Fossil Fuels & Nuclear Power; Renewable Energy; Energy & Development; Transport Energy; Energy Modelling. Some emphasis is placed on the future role of 'clean' and/or low carbon options, such as energy efficiency and renewable energy, but the intention is to equip graduates with a working knowledge of the full extent of the energy sector.
Teaching takes place through a mixture of lectures and seminars, workshops covering professional skills, analytical techniques and modelling methods, and small group project work. Short visits are made to a number of key energy facilities, and a week long fieldtrip is used to visit a wide range of renewable energy facilities. The group projects also foster team working, report writing and oral presentation skills, which are essential for many jobs.
The Option is taught by a wide range of specialists from both within and outside Imperial College: the current year has inputs from 29 people, including 14 external experts. External contributors include well-known figures from government, industry, specialist consultancies and NGOs (for example, British Petroleum, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Intermediate Technology Development Group).
The Option is associated with a highly successful research centre within the Department. The Imperial College Centre for Energy Policy and Technology (ICEPT), brings together energy related research and expertise from the full range of the College's science and technology departments with staff working in technology assessment, economics and policy. The Centre has strong links with industry, and is emerging as the key policy research and advisory group in the clean and low carbon energy field. The Centre's activities have tremendous spin-off benefits for the Option.
The Energy Policy Option has been running for more than 20 years. Graduates can therefore be found throughout all levels of industry, government, international agencies, consultancy and NGOs. In specialist energy/environment consultancies it is not uncommon to find that a majority of the staff are Option graduates, ranging from the Director to the new junior consultant. The network of graduates is fostered through regular reunion dinners, and is used to great success in helping current students in their thesis projects and in finding employment - of benefit to both students and employers alike.
Recent examples of thesis collaborators include:
Nuclear technology plays a crucial role in a wide variety of contexts and sectors in Belgium, including power production, waste management, nuclear fuel production, etc. The Belgian Nuclear Higher Education Network (BNEN) combines the expertise in nuclear education and research of six major Belgian universities (KU Leuven, UGent, VUB, UCL, ULG and ULB) with the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre SCK-CEN.
Nuclear technology plays a crucial role in a wide variety of contexts and sectors in Belgium, including:
The Belgium Nuclear Higher Education Network combines the expertise in nuclear education and research of six major Belgian universities (KU Leuven, UGent, VUB, UCL, ULG and ULB) with the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre.
The current programme can be divided into three core blocks:
The collaboration with SCK*CEN makes it possible to include actual use of facilities in the curriculum, supporting the development of skills and competences in a research environment. All subjects are taught by academics appointed by the partner universities, whereas the practical exercises and laboratory sessions are supervised by the experts of SCK*CEN. The Master’s thesis offers an opportunity for internship in industry or in a research laboratory.
All teaching activities take place on the premises of SCK*CEN. Courses are organised in English and in a modular way; teaching in blocks of one to three weeks for each module allows optimal time management for students and lecturers, facilitates registration for individual modules, and allows easy exchange with international students.
BNEN has served as a role model for the European Nuclear Education Network (ENEN) which now has become an association of over 60 members (universities, industry, regulators, research centres), aiming at facilitating mobility in Europe for students in nuclear engineering.
One particular aspect of the BNEN degree is that it automatically leads to the recognition as Class I Expert by the Federal Agency of Nuclear Control. In order to receive this accreditation the programme must at least offer 24 credits in Nuclear Safety and 12 credits in Radioprotection.
The Master of Science in Nuclear Engineering programme is an internationally oriented, interuniversity programme organised by BNEN in close collaboration with nuclear research centres and industry. The aim of the BNEN programme is to provide students with all the skills and scientific and technical background necessary to carry out duties at a high level of responsibility in order to ensure the safe and economical operation of nuclear power plants, the regulation and control of nuclear installations or to design new nuclear systems.
A major strength of the BNEN programme, as to its sustainability, is that it allows providing high quality academic education by experts from (or appointed by) the main Belgian universities at low individual cost and thus very efficiently harmonised/rationalised. In addition, the participation of the nuclear research centre SCK*CEN in the consortium provides superb realistic experimental facilities in a difficult (radioactive) environment at low cost for the universities.
A further fundamental strength of the programme can be found in the fact that a well-balanced curriculum is offered where the contents and format have been discussed at length with representatives of the major nuclear companies that are the first potential employers of the graduates. Objectives and programme outcomes were defined that encompass in depth disciplinary specific competences as well as, but in a less pronounced way, transferable skills and competences that are needed for an efficient integration of a graduate in a larger engineering team. There is a nearly complete overlap between objectives and realised competences in courses, electives, exercises and Master’s thesis. This can be ascribed to the following contributing factors:
Graduates possess the necessary skills and knowledge to carry out duties at a high level of responsibility in:
In addition, the degree itself is an important part of the legal qualifications necessary to become a safety professional in a major nuclear installation.
The Masters in Sustainable Energy is an interdisciplinary programme that will equip you for employment within the international energy sector. This programme addresses all the key aspects of sustainable energy, from the most advanced technologies through to ethical and economic considerations.
Modes of delivery of the MSc in Sustainable Energy include lectures, seminars and tutorials and allow students the opportunity to take part in lab, project and team work.
You will take a combination of core and optional courses, and a project which you will select from a list of standard projects or you can suggest a project of your own choosing.
The degree is designed to develop future leaders and decision makers in the growing international energy business. Graduates may expect to forge careers in established energy generation and transmission companies (for instance in the UK, National Grid, Scottish and Southern Energy, etc.), energy consultancy businesses, traditional oil, gas and construction companies who are moving rapidly into renewables, or fresh new companies in the wind, marine, solar or biomass sectors. Scotland, in particular, has seen great expansion in sustainable energy businesses in the last decade, with some of the best worldwide potential for wind, wave and tidal generation.
Graduates of this programme have gone on to positions such as:
The MSc Sustainable Energy is accredited by the Institution of Mechanical Engineering. An accredited degree will provide you with some or all of the underpinning knowledge, understanding and skills for eventual registration as an Incorporated (IEng) or Chartered Engineer (CEng).
Some employers recruit preferentially from accredited degrees, and an accredited degree is likely to be recognised by other countries that are signatories to international accords.