Accelerating the adoption of a clean energy future requires scholars who have both deep disciplinary expertise and a worldview and skill set that are broader than is typically provided by traditional graduate degrees. The Graduate Certificate in Clean Energy Science, Engineering, & Society is designed to support the next generation of clean energy leaders and innovators by providing them with an interdisciplinary understanding of challenges and opportunities facing clean energy and its adoption in society — from crosscutting interdisciplinary discovery and innovation to technology transfer and public policy. Thus, this 15-credit graduate certificate incorporates both existing courses from multiple departments as well as new courses designed to allow students to practice engaging with the broader impacts of clean energy. Students receive hands-on training in foundational concepts such as energy materials, devices, and systems, infusing them with the knowledge of how innovations from molecules and software to miles of grid systems impact our energy and climate systems. They also gain experience communicating across scientific disciplines in order to advance equitable clean energy solutions in energy generation, storage, grid systems and beyond.
Any University of Washington graduate student who can meet the prerequisites for the required courses (likely studying in one of the relevant departments), and who is in good academic standing, can be admitted to attempt the Certificate.
This certificate requires 15 credits. Credits must be earned in the following 3 areas, which are further outlined below:
- Introduction to Clean Energy Science & Engineering
- Advanced Topics in Clean Energy Science & Engineering
- The Broader Impacts of Clean Energy Research.
I. Introduction to Clean Energy Science & Engineering (3 credits)
Students are required to enroll in the 1-credit CEI Interdisciplinary Seminar for three total quarters for a total of 3 credits.
MOLENG 599: Current Topics in Molecular Engineering* (Autumn, Winter, Spring) – 3 Credits
The CEI Interdisciplinary Seminar Series brings distinguished leaders in the field of clean energy to UW to present their research and meet with our faculty and students from departments across the university. Students gain an understanding of contemporary issues and solutions in the field of clean energy research.
*The CEI Interdisciplinary Seminar currently uses the course number MOLENG 599, but will be changed to a new course prefix and number designated for this Graduate Certificate in Clean Energy Science, Eng. & Society.
II. Advanced Topics in Clean Energy Science & Engineering (6 credits)
Students are required to complete 6 credits to deepen their understanding of clean energy science and technology. The following courses are appropriate for this requirement and any other course with a strong emphasis on the science & engineering of clean energy could apply. Students should review prerequisites for each of the following courses and choose the course that aligns most with their discipline. Non-science Doctoral and Masters Students not meeting the Energy, Materials, Devices, & Systems pre-reqs may petition to enroll in an alternative to the EMDS course. Students should consider if taking the 400- or 500- level best matches with their degree and certificate requirement, students may not repeat the 500-level course and the 400-level course.
- CHEM 566, CHEM E 540, MSE 566, CHEM 466, CHEM E 440, MSE 466: Energy Materials, Devices, and Systems
- CHEM 585 – Electronic Structure and Application of Materials
- CHEM 541 – Data Science and Materials Informatics [MSE 542]
- CHEM 542 – Materials and Device Modeling [MSE 543]
- CHEM 543 – Big Data for Materials Science [MSE 544]
- CHEM 586 – Electronic Dynamics in Organic and Inorganic Materials
- CHEM 545 – Data Science Methods for Clean Energy Research [CHEM E 545/MSE 545]
- CHEM 546 – Software Engineering for Molecular Data Scientists [CHEM E 546/MSE 546]
- CHEM 565 – Organic Electronic and Photonic Materials/Polymers
- CHEM 584 – Electronic and Optoelectronic Polymers
- CHEM E 545 – Data Science Methods for Clean Energy Research [CHEM 545/MSE 545]
- CHEM E 546 – Software Engineering for Molecular Data Scientists [CHEM 545/MSE 545]
- CHEM E 550 – Solar Energy and Photovoltaics
- CHEM E 558 – Surface Analysis [BIOEN 592]
- CHEM E 560 – Reactions at Solid Surfaces
- CHEM E 584 – Electronic and Optoelectronic Polymers
- CHEM E 593 – Advanced Surface Analysis [BIOEN 593]
- M E 515 – Life Cycle Assessment
- M E 529 – Advanced Energy Conservation Systems
- M E 539 – Renewable Energy I Photovoltaics [MSE 539]
- M E 540 – Renewable Energy II
- MSE 476 – Introduction to Optoelectronic Materials [CHEM 547/CHEM E 547]
- MSE 529 – Semiconductor Optoelectronics [E E 529]
- MSE 541 – Data Science and Materials Informatics
- MSE 542 – Materials and Device Modeling [CHEM 541]
- MSE 543 – Materials and Device Modeling [CHEM 542]
- MSE 539 – Renewable Energy I [M E 539]
- MSE 545 – Data Science Methods for Clean Energy Research [CHEM 545/CHEM E 545]
- MSE 546 – Software Engineering for Molecular Data Scientists [CHEM 546/CHEM E 546]
- MSE 560 – Organic Electronic and Photonic Materials/Polymers [CHEM 564/MOLENG 530]
- MSE 565 – Electron theory of Materials
- PHYS 567 – Theory of Solids I
- PHYS 568 – Theory of Solids II
- E E 531 – Semiconductor Devices and Device Simulation
- E E 532 – Power Electronics Design
- E E 533 – Power Electronics Controls
- E E 551 – Wind Energy
- E E 552 – Power Systems Dynamics and Controls
- E E 553 – Power System Economics (4)
- E E 554 – Large Electric Energy Systems Analysis
- E E 558 – Substation and Distribution Automation
- E E 587 – Introduction to Photonics
- ATM S 587 – Fundamentals of Climate Change (3) [ESS 587/OCEAN 587]
- ATM S 588 – The Global Carbon Cycle and Climate (3) [ESS 588/OCEAN 588]
- ATM S 585 – Climate Impacts on the Pacific Northwest (4) [ENVIR 585/ESS 585/SMEA 585]
- ATM S 586 – Current Research in Climate Change (2, max. 20) [ESS 586/OCEAN 586]
- ESRM 490/SEFS 590 – Introduction to Life Cycle Assessment applied to bio-based products
- CENV 500 – Communicating Science to the Public Effectively
III. The Broader Impacts of Clean Energy Research (6 credits)
Students are required to complete a capstone project and earn a total of 6 credits from courses focused on developing hands-on experience engaging in the broader impacts of clean energy research and development, such as entrepreneurship, public policy, public outreach, and science communication. This capstone and these courses provide students with the opportunity to develop the transferable skills necessary for interdisciplinary and collaborative solutions to advancing scalable and equitable clean energy solutions. Students are required to focus their capstone and courses on one of the following tracks related to the broader impacts of clean energy:
- public policy
- public outreach
- science communication
Pre-approved topics are listed below, and other activities may be sent to CEI’s Associate Director of Education & Workforce Engagement for approval.
Broader Impacts of Clean Energy Research Capstone (2 to 4 credits)
This course is the primary way to fulfill the broader impacts of clean energy research requirement. The course is under development and will likely be offered with a course prefix and number that corresponds with this certificate. The course will be first offered in Winter or Spring 2024. Some pre-approved activities include the following:
- Advanced Experience Program: Torrance Technology Due Diligence
- Advanced Experience Program: Torrance Science Policy Analysis Track
- Public Outreach: Products of Lasting Value
Broader Impacts Coursework (2 to 4 credits)
Students will also be required to take 2 to 4 credits of coursework related to the broader impacts of clean energy research. Pre-approved courses are listed below, and students may send requests for additional coursework to CEI’s Associate Director of Education & Workforce Engagement for approval.
- ENTRE 443/543 — Environmental Innovation Practicum (2)
- C ENV 500 — Communicating Science to the Public Effectively (3)
- PUBPOL 593 — Climate Change and Energy Policy
- PUBPOL 596 — Environmental Risks and Values
- PUBPOL 583 — Science, Technology, And Public Policy (4)
- PUBPOL 547 — Water Resource Economics (4)
- PUBPOL 582 — Communicating Climate Change
Admission Process, Student Tracking, and Granting Certificates
While it is expected that students will complete the certificate within 2 years, it is only necessary to complete the required courses and we expect many students will adopt a different timeline to completion.
CEI’s Associate Director of Education & Workforce Engagement, Danica Hendrickson, is the primary liaison between the faculty committee and the students. Aside from professors within their courses, Hendrickson tracks student progress through the entirety of the Certificate, and submits requests to the Graduate School for students who have earned the Certificate. Hendrickson and CEI manage admissions, consulting the Faculty Committee to make ultimate executive decisions if necessary. The admissions process is as follows:
- Graduate students who are currently enrolled in a University of Washington graduate program may apply via this webpage. Applications for the 2023-24 academic year open on August 15, 2023.
- Hendrickson reviews applications, which must include a proposed course map and capstone focus.
- The Faculty Committee is consulted before final admissions decisions.
- Students are notified of admission by Hendrickson.
Students must earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 for Certificate-required courses, and minimum 2.7 GPA for each individual course.
There is one unique expectation for completion of the Certificate: participation in the The Broader Impacts of Clean Energy Research portion of the curriculum. This is an important, experiential learning experience amounting to at least 6 credits that can be satisfied in several ways, but should be focused on one of the following areas:
- public policy
- public outreach
- science communication
At the start and end of the program, students will have the opportunity to evaluate their knowledge and learning in more Clean Energy subjects, and their experience working on an interdisciplinary and diverse team. They will also have the chance to provide feedback on the Certificate program itself, and its efficacy at improving these learning areas for the students. This feedback will be tracked and utilized in order to improve the Certificate in following years. Students will also be able to provide feedback on specific courses at the completion of each course. This feedback will be used to improve on the courses in the future. Students can also, at any time, contact Danica Hendrickson at CEIapps@uw.edu with any concerns about the program, which will be communicated to the faculty director and committee and addressed as necessary. This option will be made clear and available to all participating students from the start of the Certificate.
The goal of this program is directly aligned with the University of Washington’s mission to advance and disseminate knowledge, as well as the mission of the Clean Energy Institute at the University of Washington, to accelerate the adoption of a scalable and equitable clean energy future that will improve the health and economy of our state, nation, and world. To accomplish this, by state mandate, CEI supports the advancement of next-generation solar energy and battery materials and devices, as well as their integration with systems and the grid. The Graduate Certificate in Clean Energy Science, Engineering, & Society has been designed to increase UW graduate student access to CEI’s world-class research, facilities, and energy leaders in order to support students’ ability to actualize clean energy solutions in whatever field they choose. Through both hands-on training and interactions with world-renowned energy leaders, this certificate complements students’ deep disciplinary knowledge with a broader understanding and experience of clean energy solutions.
Student Learning Outcomes
The Graduate Certificate in Clean Energy Science, Engineering, & Society has been designed to increase UW graduate student access to CEI’s world-class research, facilities, and energy leaders in order to support students’ ability to actualize clean energy solutions in whatever field they choose. Through both hands-on training and interactions with world-renowned energy leaders, students who earn this certificate will:
- Increase and broaden their understanding of clean energy solutions
- Develop skills to work across disciplinary boundaries
- Communicate the applications of their research
- Understand the social and economic issues related to a just energy transformation
With these skills, the Graduate Certificate in Clean Energy Science, Engineering, & Society prepares UW graduates with the ability to constructively contribute to this urgent and critical energy transformation.