MSc Sustainable Energy

This flexible, interdisciplinary programme emphasizes industry involvement and fieldwork experience. Upon completion, students will be able to apply their skills and knowledge to develop solutions to energy related problems from a business as well as science perspective.


ON-virkjun211115--1-of-1-Language of Instruction: English
Start Date: late July / early August

The M.Sc. in Sustainable Energy is a broad-based, highly adaptable programme. Students study sustainable energy and learn about a wide range of renewable technologies that suit different regions and societies including: geothermal energy, hydroelectric power, wind power, and energy policy and law. Students may choose to specialize in any of the above fields.

Taking advantage of our position in Iceland, a global leader in renewable energy development, our students are offered the unique opportunity to experience the whole sustainable energy process from power plants to the development of sustainable energy law at a governmental level. 

Personalized Study Plan

Students can choose to focus on the business, law, or technical aspects of renewable energy by developing a personal study plan with the aid of an academic adviser.

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. This interdisciplinary approach is what the ISE experience is centered around, with the student body being made up of geographically and academically diverse individuals who all collaborate and work together. The different approaches to solving problems, and the different experiences being brought to the table, are a hallmark of the students in the Iceland School of Energy.

Collaboration – Inside Access

Collaboration with leaders in the field of renewable energy, Reykjavik Energy and Iceland Geosurvey, gives 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. 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

Summer Year 1

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

  • Energy Field School (6 ECTS)

Fall Year 1

August - December
Recommended ECTS: 24

  • Energy Economics (6 ECTS)**
  • Energy Technology (6 ECTS)**
  • Energy Storage (6 ECTS)
  • Energy Geology (3 ECTS)
  • Environmental Impact Assessment (6 ECTS)*

Spring Year 1

January - June
Recommended ECTS: 30

  • Interdisciplinary Project (6 ECTS)*
  • Independent Project (6 ECTS)
  • Geothermal Science I & II (12 ECTS)
  • Geothermal Reservoir Modelling and Simulation (12 ECTS)
  • Geothermal Drilling and Well Design (1 ECTS)
  • Wind Power (6 ECTS)
  • Hydro Power Management (6 ECTS)
  • Smart Grids in Sustainable Energy Systems (8 ECTS)
  • Economics of Energy Markets (6 ECTS)
  • Energy Financial Assessment (6 ECTS)
  • Power Plant Design (6 ECTS)
  • Special Topics in Engineering - TOUGH 2 Simulation (6 ECTS)
  • Research Methods (4 ECTS)**

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

**mandatory course for completing MSc in Sustainable Energy

Fall/Spring Year 2

August- June
ECTS: 60

  • MSc Thesis Project (60 ECTS)**

**mandatory course for completing MSc in Sustainable Energy

Core Courses and Electives

Energy Field School (6 ECTS)

A three week, intensive course that 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 an 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.

Energy Economics (6 ECTS)

12-week course focusing on the specifics of energy economics, giving students a broad overview of a variety of theoretical and empirical topics related to energy economics.

Main learning objectives: Understanding these topics related to energy economics, applying methods from mathematics and economics science in order to analyze complex systems in energy systems, analyzing economics of an energy project, analyze and communicate data, and developing analytical solutions to a range of practical problems.

Energy Technology (6 ECTS)

12-week introductory course to the basics of energy technology and engineering. Designed for non-engineers to gain the necessary skills to become competent in describing energy systems.

Main learning objective: To give an introduction to and an overview of the field of energy by presenting basic concepts and laws of thermodynamics, fluid mechanics and heat transfer.

Environmental Impact Assessment (6 ECTS)

3-week course on environmental impact assessment (EIA), or the process by which the anticipated effects on the environment of a proposed development or project are measured. In this course, the process of an EIA will be discussed and students will get the opportunity to develop their own EIA on a topic they select.

Main learning objectives: Become familiar with the most common forms of environmental impact due to anthropogenic activities, estimate their severity, and understand possible mitigation techniques.

Energy Geology (3 ECTS)

3-week course designed to introduce geology to engineers and non-engineers alike.

Main learning objectives: Become familiar with reading geological maps and cross-sections, volcanology, sedimentary rocks and sedimentary basin structures, concepts of structural geology and stereonets, permeability and borehole imagery, reservoir rocks, and geotechnical properties of rocks and rock masses,

Research Methods (4 ECTS)

Industry and society needs people who can think critically, who can analyse complex situations and who can communicate their findings effectively. This can involve many tasks, including searching for and evaluating the worth of scientific literature and other forms of documentation. In this course, we concentrate on scientific writing and reporting, survey techniques and presentations. It will prepare students for dealing with the information gathering, analysis and reporting skills that are required for all other courses.

Key topics covered: Literature surveys, search engines and other agencies, scientific writing, academic publishing, thesis writing, reviewing papers, managing a research project.

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 Science I & II
  • Project Management and Strategic Planning
  • Applied Probability
  • Geothermal Reservoir Modeling and Simulation

  • Stability and Control in Electrical Systems

  • Derivatives and Risk Management
  • Oil and Gas Law
  • International and European Energy Law
  • Well Design and Geothermal Drilling Technology
  • Fluid Dynamics (for those intending wind specialization)


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


Admission Requirements

The degree is open for students with a bachelor's degree in various disciplines. Our students come from backgrounds in business, engineering, social sciences, and natural sciences.

A Bachelor's degree in one of the following disciplines is beneficial:

  • Business
  • Public Policy and Social Sciences
  • Economics
  • Geology
  • Geography

A grade point average of 8 out of 10 or equivalent is recommended.

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

English language requirements are waived if:

  • 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?

Things to include in your application:

  • CV / Resume
  • Official University Transcripts (hard copy and digital accepted)
  • 2 Letters of Reference (sent to directly from referee's institutional email)
  • Photocopy of Passport
  • Personal Statement (500 word max)
  • English Language Test Score Certificate (if applicable)

More info:


Contact us

Juliet Newson stendur á gangi í HR og horfir í myndavélina

Juliet A. Newson

Director of ISE

Contact for matters surrounding cooperation and for opportunities with ISE

R. Morgan Greene

Development Director

Contact for questions regarding the content and structure of our graduate programme, and other related inquiries
Laurentiu Anton

Laurentiu L. Anton

Project Manager

Prospective students may reach out for questions regarding any of our graduate programmes

Verity L. Sharp

International Admissions Officer

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

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