Energy Systems Engineering

solar panels and wind turbinesEnergy systems are central to the functioning of our society. Our economy and way of life is built around access to affordable and reliable energy. At the same time, climate change, greenhouse gas reduction, and energy security and equity are increasingly urgent concerns.

Energy systems engineers help address some of the most pressing problems facing humanity today. Whether for transportation, heating, manufacturing, or lighting, energy systems are critical infrastructure. Exciting new technologies continue to increase efficiency and improve energy management, but they have also created very complex and varied systems with their own unique challenges.

In EngSci's Energy Systems Engineering major, students learn to tackle urgent technical issues in energy generation, storage, transmission, and distribution, while gaining an understanding of environmental, public policy, and economic impacts.

The curriculum focuses on developing experts for the energy sector and beyond through fundamental technical training in multidisciplinary courses. Topics covered include clean energy, sustainability, thermodynamics, control systems, and electric drives.

The major provides the breadth, depth and interdisciplinary knowledge required in the highly complex energy sector. Students learn to evaluate trade‐offs between different traditional and alternative technologies, explore technical aspects within a societal context, examine links to conservation and sustainable development, and gain a rigorous foundation relevant to many energy topics.

Courses are taught by renowned faculty members from the Departments of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, and U of T's Institute for Sustainable Energy.  An exciting new development in the Toronto area is the establishment of the new NRC Advanced Materials Research Facility, where energy researchers will be engaged with clean energy research.

The Energy Systems Engineering major meets the need for more experts in this field in Ontario, Canada and around the world. It prepares graduates with for exciting careers in technology development, energy companies, and policy agencies.  Graduates have gone onto specialized technical research careers, systems engineering in energy distribution companies, and have specialized in energy policy with career trajectories in government.


Is this major the only way to study energy systems at U of T Engineering?

While there are other avenues for studying energy at U of T Engineering, EngSci's major provides training that is not otherwise available in the other disciplines.

All engineering undergraduates except those in the EngSci Energy Systems Engineering major can pursue the Sustainable Energy minor.

As an undergraduate student, you can learn about energy distribution and transmission in the Electrical & Computer Engineering Program, energy generation in the Mechanical Engineering Program, and energy storage in the Materials Science & Engineering Program. In contrast, EngSci's major will provide you with tremendous depth and breadth in all of these topics, providing the ultimate training for energy experts of tomorrow.

Can I work in this area without doing a graduate degree?

Yes! Many students are employed right after graduation by energy providers, consulting firms, manufacturers and a host of new energy service firms. While many of our graduates choose this route, others go on to graduate school to become qualified for more specialized responsibilities.

What areas of graduate studies are available to me through this major?

The major prepares motivated and capable students for advanced energy studies and degrees in mechanical, civil, electrical, chemical, and industrial engineering, and even material science. However, students are not limited to these areas and some have pursued degrees in law, medicine, business, and science programs.

Why are there so many electrical and computer engineering (ECE) courses in this major?

This major has a strong emphasis on electrical systems. However, the curriculum also exposes students to many other engineering disciplines.

Courses include some from chemical engineering (CHE374, CHE 469), mechanical engineering (MIE 303), aerospace engineering (AER 372), and Civil Engineering (CIV401).

Our major provides an internationally unique program that prepares students to be energy experts in a highly dynamic energy landscape-able to pivot easily between fields and to grow in any direction within this field.

How would I choose electives in Year 4 to fit my interests?

We provide a broad list of pre-approved "energy systems electives" for Year 4 but students can personalize their curriculum to meet their education and career goals.  Since energy systems is such a broad and multi-faceted domain, we permit and encourage students to map out a strong set of electives beyond our pre-approved list.  Substitutions require approval and must meet certain criteria to create a coherent and complementary curriculum.

Did you know...?

Students can explore energy topics in student clubs like IEEE's U of T Branch and the Sustainable Engineers Association.

Find more
student clubs here.

Sample Courses

MIE 303 - Mechanical and Thermal Energy Conversion Processes

This course examines how a diesel engine works and how to design refrigeration systems.  Topics include engineering applications of thermodynamics in the analysis and design of heat engines and other thermal energy conversion processes within an environmental framework; steam power plants; gas cycles in internal combustion engines, gas turbines and jet engines; fossil fuel and alternative fuel combustion; fusion processes and introduction to advanced systems of fuel cells.

CHE469 - Fuel Cells and Electrochemical Conversion Devices

In this course students learn how fuel cells work and examine electrochemical energy conversion.

Topics proceed from the fundamental thermodynamic in-system electronics and ionic interaction limitations to mass transfer and heat balance effects.  Externalities such as economics and system integration challenges are also covered. Guest lecturers from the fuel cell industry provide an industrial perspective.

CIV401 - Design and Optimization of Hydro and Wind Electric Plants

In this course students examine the engineering behind typical wind and hydroelectric plants, from first principles to the various types of turbo-machines choices.

Topics include fundamental fluid mechanics equations, efficiency coefficients, momentum exchanges, characteristic curves, similarity laws, specific speed, vibration, cavitation of hydraulic turbines, pump/turbines; variable speed machines including transients and hydraulic stability. The course includes an introduction to overall system configuration, component and system optimization, and case studies.

MIE515 - Alternative Energy Systems

In this course, students develop expertise in energy systems and technologies from a broader perspective.  It covers the basic principles, current technologies and applications of selected alternative energy systems, including solar thermal systems, solar photovoltaic systems, wind, wave, and tidal energy, energy storage, and grid connections issues.

Where this major can take you

Graduates have internationally unique training with the depth and breadth required to seamlessly pivot within academia, industry, and government. Meet some of our alumni.

Employers for recent graduates include Boston Consulting Group, Hatch, IESO, Ontario Power Authority, Shoppers Drug Mart, Toronto Hydro, and others.  Some are also working in energy policy in government agencies and consulting groups.

Recent alumni have attended graduate school at Johns Hopkins University, MIT, Stanford University, U of T, UC Berkeley, and more.



Chair of the Energy Systems Engineering major

Professor Aimy Bazylak (MIE)

Professor Bazylak conducts research on materials for fuel cells, water electrolyzers, carbon dioxide reduction, batteries, and regenerative medicine.

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