Energy Engineering Minor

Explore the Greatest Challenges of Our Time

Our unquenchable thirst for energy poses some of the greatest challenges of humanity. As you work toward a minor in energy engineering, you’ll explore the technical side of energy, from the basics of modern power systems to the details of solar cells and other renewable technologies.

Become well-prepared for a career in engineering solutions to these challenges. All Pratt School of Engineering undergraduates are eligible. Completion of the energy engineering minor is noted on your Duke transcript.

Sustainable mindset engineer plans a city project Eco friendly urban design, carbon neutral buildings, renewable energy, ESG principles, and climate resilience for a sustainable vision. Generative AI
Josiah Knight

Because energy choices have far-reaching consequences, our courses equip students to understand a range of technologies and the ramifications for society and the environment.

Josiah Knight Director, Energy Engineering Education


Five challenging and engaging courses and a capstone design course.

Core Course

Choose one (1):

  • ENRGYEGR 310: Introduction to Energy Generation, Delivery, Conversion and Efficiency
  • ME 461: Energy Engineering and the Environment

Capstone Design

  • EGR 424L: Energy & Environment Design or, with prior approval, a departmental capstone if the project is related to energy

Energy Engineering Areas

Complete four (4), with at least one in each of two energy engineering areas. Up to two courses may be taken through interinstitutional registration at participating universities.

    • ENRGYEGR 490: Special Topics – Bioenergy
    • ENRGYEGR/ME 490: Special Topics – Renewable Energy Technologies
    • ENRGYEGR/ME 490: Special Topics – Modern Power Systems
    • ENRGYEGR/ME 490: Special Topics – Wind Turbine Design & Analysis
    • ECE 341L: Solar Cells
    • ME 516: Thin-Film Photovoltaics
    • Another relevant course or applied learning experience, with prior approval—such as a Bass Connections project
    • ENRGYEGR/ME 490: Special Topics – Energy for the Built Environment
    • ECE 431: Power Electronic Circuits for Energy Conversion
    • ENRGYEGR/ME 490: Special Topics – Transportation Energy
    • ME 490: Special Topics - Power for Mechanical Systems
    • Another relevant course or applied learning experience, with prior approval—such as a Bass Connections project
Adrienne Stiff-Roberts


Energy solutions go far beyond the engineering curriculum. More than 100 faculty and staff at Duke are engaged in energy-related research and instruction.


  • Josiah Knight
  • Marc Deshusses
  • Nico Hotz
  • Nan Jokerst
  • Angel Peterchev
  • Neal Simmons
  • Adrienne Stiff-Roberts
Explore the Faculty

Course Descriptions

NOTE: For scheduling details, students should consult DukeHub. Permission may be required to enroll in Special Topics 490.0X courses. To obtain permission numbers, contact

  • An overall introduction to energy issues as they relate to generation, delivery, conversion and efficiency. Topics include efficiencies of both new and established energy generation and conversion methods; electricity generation by fossil fuels, nuclear, solar, wind and hydropower; and alternative energy technologies. Other topics include space heating and cooling by traditional methods and by solar, transportation energy in automobiles, mass transit and freight. Topics are evaluated quantitatively by modeling and using principles of fluid mechanics, thermodynamics and heat transfer. The environmental consequences of energy choices on local, national and global scales, including toxic emissions, greenhouse gases and resource depletion are also discussed and integrated throughout the course. Prerequisite: ME 331L, or ME 512, or PHY 311, or similar thermodynamics, or consent of instructor.  Instructor: Knight. One course. C-L: ENERGY 310. The course is not open to students who have taken ME 461.

  • Broad overview of fundamental and applied concepts of energy in the overall context of the modern and built environment. Includes mechanical and electrical fundamentals to analyze the built environment, energy flows and balances, demand and supply solutions, tools such as life cycle analysis for assessment/evaluation, and emerging issues in the built environment. Course includes design problems and case studies. Prerequisites: ENRGYEGR 310 or ME 461 or consent of instructor. Instructor: Simmons. One course.

  • An overview of technologies and processes for renewable energy generation (excluding biological processes covered in ENRGYEGR 490.01 Bioenergy). Includes fundamental principles, review of the state of the art, design and economics, and future perspectives of the main non-biological renewable energy processes. This includes thermochemical processes, wind and geothermal energy, passive solar power and photovoltaics, hydropower, tidal and wave power, and selected renewable emerging energy technologies. Instructor: Simmons

  • Broad overview of fundamental and applied concepts of power generation, transmission and distribution from a systems point of view. Topics covered include but are not limited to components of power grids, their functionality, and interdependence; load modeling and forecasting; power system behavior and performance; smart grids and integration of renewable energy. Prerequisites: ENRGYEGR 310 or ME 461 or consent of instructor. Instructor: Simmons or staff. One course.

  • Introduces the planning, design and operations of transportation systems. Topics include design, operation, energy and yields, management, and maintenance of transportation systems and infrastructure. Evaluation of design, economical and environment impact, modeling, costing and lifecycle are introduced. Structural characteristics, loading conditions, design, specification are discussed. The course includes a team project. Instructor: Knight. One course. Prerequisites: ENRGYEGR 310

  • Deals with integration of prime movers into systems for power generation, industrial applications and transportation. It focuses on the torque and power characteristics of piston engines, gas turbines and electric drives, and on the physical principles that are used to model their characteristics. Instructors: Knight. Prerequisites: Thermodynamics and instructor permission.

  • A broad overview of solar cells, including solar radiation, device theory, materials options, device fabrication and characterization, and system-level issues. Students participate in hands-on laboratory exercises related to the fabrication and characterization of organic, photovoltaic solar cells. Instructor: Stiff-Roberts. One course.

  • An introduction to switched-mode power converters for graduate and advanced undergraduate students. Basic circuit operation, including steady-state converter modeling and analysis, switch realization, and transformer-isolated converters, and converter control systems are covered. Course includes A/C modeling of converters using averaged methods, small-signal transfer functions, and feedforward and feedback control design. Magnetics design for switched-mode applications, including basic magnetics, the skin and proximity effects, inductor design, and transformer design are covered. Prerequisites: Basic circuit analysis and microelectronic courses, or consent of instructor. Instructor: Peterchev

  • Study arranged on a special topic in which the instructor has particular interest and competence. Consent of instructor and director of energy engineering program required. Half course or one course each. Topics vary by section and year to year. Course may be repeated if the subtitles of the courses are different. Variable credit.

  • An integrative design course addressing both creative and practical aspects of the design of systems related to energy and the environment. Development of the creative design process, including problem formulation and needs analysis, feasibility, legal, economic and human factors, environmental impacts, energy efficiency, aesthetics, safety, and design optimization. Application of design methods through a collaborative design project.

How to Apply

Enroll in this minor by adding it to your personal Duke Academic Plan:

  • Consult with your academic dean
  • Add a minor to your plan