Sustainable Energy Engineering MSc

A highly adaptable programme based on practical and fieldwork experience, this master's programme combines economics, technology, engineering and science into one comprehensive degree. 


UpptLanguage of Instruction: English
Start Date: late July / early August

The MSc in Sustainable Energy Engineering is intended for students with a background in engineering or physical sciences, who want to take a more technical perspective on developing and engineering sustainable energy systems.

This is a highly adaptable programme based on practical and fieldwork experience. Students study sustainable energy from the perspective of business, science and technology, and learn about a wide range of renewable technologies that suit different regions and societies. This includes geothermal energy, hydroelectric power, wind power and energy efficiency. Taking advantage of Iceland's position as a global leader in renewable energy development, our students experience the whole sustainable energy process from the power plant to the development of sustainable energy law at government level. On completing the programme students will be able to apply their skills and knowledge to developing solutions to energy related problems.

Personalised study plan

Students develop a personal study plan, with the aid of an academic advisor, to reflect their interests which can be further developed in the final research project.

Student body and faculty

Iceland School of Energy trains students to become engineers, managers, policy makers and researchers, therefore we draw our students from a wide range of experience and backgrounds.

Collaboration - inside access

Iceland School of Energy is operated in cooperation with two leaders in the field of renewable energy; Reykjavik Energy and Iceland Geosurvey. This collaboration gives our students exceptional access to:

  • Renewable energy systems in Iceland.
  • Professionals at the forefront of developing and operating renewable energy resources.


The MSc in Sustainable Energy requires 24 months of continuous study and the completion of 120 ECTS, but it also provides the option of early graduation after 18 months. A personalised study plan is developed for each student with the assistance of an academic supervisor.

Teaching and learning

Our courses are based at the Reykjavik University campus. The curriculum is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars and visits. Our faculty is made up of professors and leading experts from the industry. 

Programme schedule

Term 1

End of July - beginning of August.
Duration: 3 weeks

  • Introductory Field Trip (6 ECTS)

Term 2

August - December
Recommended ECTS: 24

  • Energy Economics 1 (6 ECTS)
  • Environmental Impact Assessment (6 ECTS)*
  • Renewable Energy Resources (6 ECTS)

Term 3

January - June
Recommended ECTS: 30

  • Overview Sustainable Energy Systems (6 ECTS)
  • Interdisciplinary Project (6 ECTS)*
  • Internship (6 ECTS)
  • Special Topics in Engineering (6 ECTS)*

Term 4

July - December (early graduation) / June (regular graduation)
ECTS: 60

  • MSc Thesis Project (60 ECTS)

* Taught as an intensive course in three week period after the end of the regular courses

Core courses and electives

Core modules:

Energy Economics 1 (6 ECTS)

This course will give students a broad overview of a variety of theoretical and empirical topics related to energy economics. It is a relatively new course and, as a result, it will have an experimental character to it. We will welcome feedback from the students taking the course to help us continue to make it better. Reading material will be provided on a weekly basis and based on official reports and academic research related to energy economics. In addition, slides covering the basic need-to-know economic concepts from Mankiw's Principles of Economics will be provided to students as needed.


Environmental Impact Assessment (6 ECTS)

The purpose of this course is to understand how energy conversion processes impact the environment, common problems and how they can be dealt with. Topics include airborne pollution; groundwater; hazardous waste disposal; ecological disruption; climate change; environmental footprint and economic disruption. Basic scientific principles, such as transport processes, mass balance, reaction rates, toxicity and biodiversity will be discussed in context with examples drawn from the energy industry. These can include topics such as re-injection of geothermal brine and sequestration of non-condensable gases; habitat disruption from hydropower plants; nuclear waste disposal; oil spills; and carbon capture and storage.


Internship (6 ECTS)

As part of their degree, students are encouraged complete an internship project with one of our many industry collaborators. In the past, ISE students have worked on a hydropower station in Greenland, designed a heat exchanger for modular well-head generation plants, modelled wind power potential at Icelandic sites, to name a few. 

Find out more about our internship programme and our collaborators.


Introductory Field Trip (6 ECTS)

The three week, intensive course provides students with an overview of sustainable technologies, the main issues that drive the demand for sustainable energy, and the factors that may impede or promote meeting that demand. The course is delivered through a combination of lectures and site visits, and students have opportunity to see working systems that utilise sustainable energy. The course is taught as a summer school, also open to other participants and offers a unique introduction to the master's programme.


Overview Sustainable Energy Systems (6 ECTS)

The course is intended to give students an understanding of the nature of sustainability and how to implement sustainable use of energy resources. Topics include: Renewability, sustainable use of non-renewable systems, the role of innovation, time-scales and severity of environmental effects, security of supply, chicken-and-egg problems, international and regional agreements, effects of subsidies, etc.


Renewable Energy Resources (6 ECTS)

The course Renewable Energy Resources is aimed at providing students with the best possible understanding of the different forms of naturally occurring/renewable energy carriers and how they interact with their environments. It focuses on five different sides aspects in particular:

  1. The Earth as a system: dynamical interaction between constituents, laws of thermodynamics, physical and chemical cycles, interaction with the sun;
  2. The Earth below: internal structure, tectonics, seismicity, rocks and minerals, volcanism and geothermics, dynamics of the Earth's crust;
  3. Water and ice: hydrological cycle, streams, groundwater, glaciers, sea ice, permafrost, ocean geography, physical and chemical characteristics of the ocean, ocean cycles, tides, currents, waves, coastal regions;
  4. Atmosphere: composition and physical structure of the atmosphere, circulation, weather systems, climate change; Biology: biogeochemical cycles, soil formation and erosion, pollution, living organisms;
  5. Resources: fossil fuels, minerals, nuclear fuels, renewable resources, depletion and degradation


Special Topics in Engineering (6 ECTS)

This course covers thermodynamics, fluid dynamics and turbo-machinery as it applies to the detailed design of an industrial process facility, such as a geothermal power plant or chemical process plant. The overall design project management structure will be discussed and developed. Students will perform conceptual-level and detailed design, such as development of process flow diagrams, piping design, equipment selection and optimisation. Case studies will be used as the foundation of the course. Students will form design subgroups to cooperate in executing conceptual design for facilities. Students should load EES before the start of classes, and some practice using it is advised.

Elective modules:

Students have access to a wide variety of elective module to tailor their curriculum to suit their focus. Elective courses include for example:

  • Geothermal Subsurface Exploration
  • Applied Probability
  • Reservoir Engineering
  • Stability and Control in Electrical Systems
  • Derivatives and Risk Management
  • Oil and Gas Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Well Design and Geothermal Drilling Technology


>> More information on all available courses can be obtained from the course overview page.

>> More information on ISE specific courses can be found in the course prospectus. (Fall 2016 / Spring 2017)


Admission requirements

The degree is open for students with a bachelor's degree in an engineering related field.

To graduate with a master's degree in engineering and become a chartered engineer in Iceland, students must fulfill requirements set forth by the Ministry of Industries and Innovation.

Language requirements

Applicants must provide proof of their proficiency in English if it is not their first language.

  • A minimum TOEFL test score of 550 is required (213 in the computer-based test, 79 in the internet based test)
  • IELTS score of at least 6.0 (both general and academic accepted)

Language requirement waiver

The requirement of an English language certificate is waivered in the following circumstances:

  • The applicant's first language is English.
  • The applicant has studied towards a higher education degree and the language of instruction was English (minimum requirement 3 years full-time). A certificate from the university will be required to confirm this.


Find out more about the tuition and other fees here:


Interested in applying to ISE?

Contact us

Juliet Newson stendur á gangi í HR og horfir í myndavélina

Juliet Newson

Director of ISE

Contact for matters surrounding cooperation and opportunities with ISE.

Randall Morgan Greene

Programme Management and Development

Contact for questions regarding the content, structure of the graduate programme, and other inquires about it.

Verity Louise Sharp

International Admissions Officer

Contact for general questions regarding the application process, visa-related issues and inquires.


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