Undergraduate Energy Minor

Energy touches all aspects of the human experience and is central to nearly every global challenge the world faces today, from raising the standards of living around the world to the existential threat of climate change. The scientific basis of energy is inherently multidisciplinary, and social and behavioral sciences are also crucial to understanding the economics and policy driving technology adoption. The Whiting School of Engineering (WSE) and Krieger School of Arts and Sciences (KSAS) offer the Energy Minor program to undergraduate students as a way to address the growing need for trained engineers and scientists in the many sectors that develop, manage, and propagate energy technologies.

The primary objectives of the Energy Minor are to prepare students to be successful after graduation and to position them to become leaders in the energy field, either directly as entering professionals in industry, government laboratories, and other organizations, or as graduate students in the best graduate programs.

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) and the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences (EPS) jointly administer the minor with the intended purpose of building connections and cross-divisional collaboration. The Energy Minor is also affiliated with the Ralph O’Connor Sustainable Energy Institute (ROSEI, pronounced “rosy”) which provides additional support and co-curricular opportunities to students in the program. Core faculty of the minor hold appointments in ECE, EPS, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Environmental Health and Engineering, Civil and Systems Engineering, and Chemistry departments and the School of Advanced International Studies.

The minor requirements consist of 18-20 total credits in three areas: Fundamentals, Science and Policy Context, and Technical Energy Electives. All classes must be passed with a grade of C- or above to count towards the minor:

  • 3 credits of the required fundamental gateway course: 520.370 Introduction to Renewable Energy Engineering
  • 3-5 credits of required fundamental science/engineering class. Students have two options for fulfilling this requirement:
    • Option1: A 4-credit Physics II class (see chart below for options) AND a 1-credit lab.*Note: These classes must be taken at Johns Hopkins; AP credit not accepted.
    • Option 2: A 3-4 credit Thermodynamics class (see chart below for options).
  • At least 6 credits of courses from the approved Science & Policy Context Electives list below.
  • At least 6 credits of courses from the approved Technical Energy Electives list below.

Elective courses that can count toward the Energy Minor are those focused on science and policy issues related to energy and relevant technical skills and knowledge areas. The joint KSAS and WSE Directors of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) distribute a list of approved courses for the minor each semester, and these courses are denoted with the POS tags ENGY-SCIPOL and ENGY-TECH in the Schedule of Classes. Approval for other appropriate courses can be sought by emailing one of the DUS’s.

Note that the pre-approved elective course lists are expected to evolve on a regular basis as new courses are offered, and students who identify suitable courses can petition to have them added to the pre-approved course list.

** There is no guarantee that the classes listed here will be taught every semester.

Fundamental Courses

EN.520.370 – Introduction to Renewable Energy Engineering
Eng/Sci Fundamentals OPTION 1:
Take 1 of the following:

AS.173.112. General Physics Laboratory II

EN.560.112 Electromagnetism & Sensors Lab

Take 1 of the following:

AS.171.102. General Physics: Physical Science Major II

AS.171.104. General Physics/Biology Majors II

AS.171.108. General Physics for Physical Science Majors (AL) AS.171.106. Electricity and Magnetism I

Eng/Sci Fundamentals OPTION 2:
Take 1 of the following:

AS.030.301.  Physical Chemistry I

AS.171.312.  Statistical Physics/Thermodynamics

AS.250.372.  Biophysical Chemistry

EN.510.312.  Thermodynamics/Materials

EN.530.231.  Mechanical Engineering Thermodynamics

EN.540.203.  Engineering Thermodynamics

EN.580.241.  Statistical Physics

Science & Policy Context Electives

Area 2: Science & Policy Context Classes: Minimum 6 credits required
AS.180.246 – Environmental Economics
AS.190.220 – Global Security Politics
AS.190.246 – Climate Solutions: The Global Politics and Technology of Decarbonization
AS.190.381 – Global Environmental Politics
AS.190.431 – Global Climate Governance
AS.190.451 – Geopolitics
AS.190.458 – Climate Geopolitics: New-Zero Industrial Policy and World Order
AS.191.347 – The Political Economy of Climate Change
AS.191.420 – Are We Living In an Age of Collapse?
AS.192.305 – Global Energy and Environment: A Political Economy Approach
AS.230.348 – Climate Change and Society
AS.250.403 – Bioenergetics: Origins, Evolution and Logic of Living Systems
AS.270.224 – Oceans and Atmospheres
AS.270.305 – Energy Resources in the Modern World
AS.270.378 – Present & Future Climate
AS.270.379 – Atmospheric Science
AS.270.303 – Earth History
AS.270.400 – The Carbon Cycle
AS.271.107 – Introduction to Sustainability
AS.271.360 – Climate Change: Science & Policy
AS.271.402 – Water, Energy, and Food
AS.271.403 – Environmental Policy Making and Policy Analysis
AS.271.405 – Climate Change: Energy and Politics
EN.570.320 –  Case Studies in Climate Change – A Field Course
EN.570.367 – Sustainability Science and Policy:  The Threat of Climate Change
EN.570.420 – Air Pollution
EN.570.456 – Environmental Electrochemistry
EN.570.497 – Risk and Decision Analysis
EN.570.607 – Energy Policy and Planning Models
EN.660.408/.608 – Energy Entrepreneurship and Innovation
EN.660.455 – Reimagining the City to Resist Climate Change
AAP Courses of Interest for Area 2 (NOT COMPREHENSIVE):
AS.425.603 – Climate Change Policy Analysis
AS.425.604 – Energy & Climate Finance
AS.425.605 – Introduction to Energy Law & Policy
AS.420.674 – Applied Energy Policy in the 21st Century
AS.420.616 – Environmental Consequences of Conventional Energy Generation

Technical Energy Electives

Area 3: Technical Energy Electives: Minimum 6 credits required
AS.020.335 – Bioenergetics
AS.030.403 – Optoelectronic Materials and Devices: Synthesis, Spectroscopy, and Applications
AS.030.454 – Electrochemistry for Energy Conversion and Storage
EN.510.314 – Electronic Properties of Materials
EN.510.416 – Physical Behavior of Metamaterials
EN.510.405 – Materials Science of Energy Technologies
EN.510.425 – Advanced Materials for Electrochemical Energy Storage
EN.510.427 – Chemistry of Nanomaterials
EN.510.452 – Materials in Extreme Environments
EN.510.466 – Introduction to Computational Materials Modeling
EN.520.220 – Electromagnetic Waves
EN.520.407 – Introduction to the Physics of Electronic Devices
EN.520.486 – Physics of Semiconductor Electronic Devices
EN.510.625 – Materials Science Fundamentals for Batteries
EN.520.627 – Photovoltaics and Energy Devices
EN.520.629 – Networked Dynamical Systems
EN.530.334 – Heat Transfer
EN.530.417/618 – Fabricatology – Advanced Materials Processing
EN.530.464 – Energy Systems Analysis
EN.530.607 – Introduction to Wind Energy
EN.530.629 – Simulation and Analysis of Ocean Wave Energy Systems
EN.540.401 – Projects in Design: Alternative Energy
EN.540.402 – Metabolic Systems Biotechnology
EN.540.407 – Renewable Energy Technologies
EN.540.418-419 – Projects in the Design of a Chemical Car
EN.560.449 – Energy Systems
EN.565.686 –  Sustainable Coastal Engineering
EN.565.734 –  Wind Engineering
EN.570.305 – Environmental Engineering Systems Design
EN.570.607   Energy Planning and Policy Modeling

The directors of the Energy Minor are Susanna Thon, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Jerry Burgess, Associate Teaching Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences. Whiting students with questions about the minor may contact Prof. Thon at [email protected], and Krieger students may contact Prof. Burgess at [email protected].

Students can declare the Energy Minor through SIS and will be assigned a minor advisor. Students are encouraged to meet with their minor advisor periodically, at least once per year. The Energy Minor checklist sheet can be used to track progress on requirements. When all requirements have been completed, send the completed checklist sheet to the minor advisor for review and signature.

The Minor Checklist can be filled out digitally by:

  • Downloading it
  • Selecting “Open” in the top left corner of the hyperlink and choosing “Adobe Account” or “Browser”

Sample curriculum for a WSE undergraduate student:

Fall Semester Spring Semester
Freshman Year AS.110.108: Calculus I EN.530.123: Introduction to Mechanics I AS.110.109: Calculus II AS.171.102: Physics II AS.173.112: Physics II Lab
Sophomore Year EN.520.370: Introduction to Renewable Energy Engineering Major Requirements
Junior Year AS.270.305: Energy Resources in the Modern World AS.271.360: Climate Change: Science & Policy
Senior Year EN.510.405: Materials Science of Energy Technologies EN.530.464: Energy Systems Analysis

Sample curriculum for a KSAS undergraduate:

Fall Semester Spring Semester
Freshman Year AS.110.109: Calculus II Major Requirements
Sophomore Year EN.520.370: Introduction to Renewable Energy Engineering AS.192.305. Global Energy and Environment: A Political Economy Approach EN.510.312: Materials/Thermodynamics
Junior Year EN.570.305. Environmental Health and Engineering Systems Design Major Requirements
Senior Year EN.570.497: Risk and Decision Analysis EN.570.607: Energy Planning and Policy Modeling

The program uses “Energy” as a general term which encompasses all forms of human energy generation and propagation, both historical and future-facing, while connecting specifically to university efforts to build a sustainable energy future through the Ralph O’Connor Sustainable Energy Institute (ROSEI) and the Sustainability Leadership Council (SLC).

Students in the Energy Minor program will benefit from resources and co-curricular opportunities at Hopkins currently being expanded upon by the new interdisciplinary Energy institute, ROSEI. ROSEI’s mission involves integrating efforts across the university to create and implement clean, renewable and sustainable energy technologies; educate future energy leaders; and support implementation of an affordable and equitable green energy future.