College of Engineering, Informatics, and Applied Sciences2021-2022
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Wind Energy, Graduate Certificate
The Wind Energy Graduate Certificate (WEGC) is a program designed to give students the training necessary for careers in the wind energy industry. Wind energy is now a mainstream power conversion technology, with prospects to grow substantially in the future. Along with this growth will come the need for many new businesses and professionals working in the industry.
The WEGC is a 15-credit program that will be available to both on-campus students and to students that are fully online. Two graduate, wind-energy specific courses concentrating on the fundamental electrical, mechanical and wind flow aspects of wind energy, and are required for all students. These courses provide students with the foundational material necessary to understand wind energy conversion systems. Three additional courses, selected from several possible course topics and disciplines, may be selected by the student to tailor their certificate toward the specialty in which they wish to work. Students enrolled in the program may complete the requirements concurrent with their M.S. or Ph.D. degrees, or as non-degree seeking students that intend only to earn the graduate certificate.
What Can I Do with a Certiificate in Wind Energy?
Students that complete the graduate certificate in wind energy will be prepared for professional practice in the wind industry. This includes the ability to design wind turbines and wind turbine components, as well as understand the salient aspects of wind power plant design, including project economics, interactions with the electrical grid and environmental impacts.
Career opportunities that might be pursued:
- wind energy engineer
- wind power plant designer
- wind energy developer
- utility engineer
- wind energy research and development
- assessment and evaluation of wind energy resource
- engineering economic evaluation of wind energy projects or components
- distributed and residential-scale wind power design and development
Graduate certificate programs require a minimum of 12 credit hours. Many certificate programs require more than 12 credit hours.
No more than one 400-level NAU course (3 or 4 units) may be used on a certificate program.
No more than 25% of the units required for the certificate program may be transferred from another university.
A 400-level course (undergraduate course) completed at another university is not eligible for transfer credit.
A minimum grade point average of 3.0 must be achieved to obtain a graduate certificate. No more than three units of coursework with a grade of "C" may be used in a certificate program.
A graduate student may pursue a graduate certificate concurrently with a graduate degree. Each graduate degree program must decide which, if any, certificate courses can be counted toward the graduate degree.
Students who are admitted to a graduate certificate program will be eligible for the official posting of the graduate certificate to their transcripts when all applicable coursework has been successfully completed and approved by the academic unit and the Graduate College.
- Please be aware that federal financial aid is not available for some certificates, if the certificate is pursued and completed as a stand-alone certificate (i.e., not completed concurrently with a degree program). See the “Details” tab for additional information.
In addition to University Requirements:
- Complete individual plan requirements.
Please note that students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.
|Minimum Units for Completion||15|
|Additional Admission Requirements||Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.|
The purpose of this 15-credit Graduate Certificate in Wind Energy is to prepare students for professional, technical careers in the wind industry and in wind energy research and development. Students will learn in-depth how to analyze and design wind turbine mechanical, electrical, and control systems, including: wind turbine electrical generator topologies; wind turbine aerodynamics and rotor blade design; wind energy resources and wind resource assessment; interconnection and integration of wind power plants to the grid; power converters for wind turbines, fixed- and variable-speed induction generator based wind energy systems, design and control of wind energy conversion systems, transient and steady-state analysis of wind energy systems, including issues specific to on-shore and off-shore applications. Beyond these technical topics, students will also become conversant in the broader societal, environmental, regulatory and economic aspects of wind energy necessary for professional practice. Recipients of a graduate certificate will have depth of knowledge in their discipline applied to wind energy, and a broad understanding of the multi-disciplinary nature of wind energy. Courses are taught by faculty with experience and expertise in wind energy applications and research.
The certificate program is designed for students with undergraduate degrees in an engineering discipline or a closely related field. Students may earn a certificate concurrently with their MS or PhD degrees at NAU, or as non-degree seeking students only intent on earning the graduate certificate. The certificate has two core classes (6-credit hours) that all students take, plus three elective courses (9-credit hours). These electives may be selected from a wide array of approved course that are of direct relevance to wind energy, allowing students the flexibility to tailor the certificate to their specific interests.
Due to its low cost and environmentally desirable characteristics, wind energy is rapidly being adopted around the world and is now a mainstream energy generation technology. Thus, it is a quickly growing field with many professional opportunities for certificate recipients both in the United States and abroad. Though an established technology, wind energy continues to evolve as turbines grow ever larger and more sophisticated for utility applications, and ever more practical and reliable for off-grid and microgrid applications. This program seeks to inspire innovation and creativity in its graduates, grounded in the principles of good engineering practice.
According to the 2018 U.S. Energy and Employment Report, nearly 107,000 workers are employed in the wind energy industry, which is the third highest among electrical energy generation technologies. It is interesting to note that 26% employers in this sector reported extreme difficulty hiring qualified workers. This graduate certificate addressing the design fundamentals will provide students with the necessary theoretical and practical background to enable them to become renewable energy engineers capable of meeting today’s renewable energy industry needs. This graduate certificate will introduce students to the breadth of wind energy systems from the mechanical and electrical engineering perspectives.
Student Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of the certificate program, students will:
- Have an understanding of on-shore and off-shore wind energy conversion systems that is necessary for professional engineering practice, including the energy available in the wind, how wind turbines capture that energy, convert it into useful mechanical and electrical energy, and ultimately deliver it to customers on-grid or off-grid;
- Demonstrate an ability to design a wind energy conversion system or component to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability;
- Possess the ability to use the techniques, skills and modern tools necessary for engineering practice in wind energy, including computer-aided solution methods, demonstrated through development and/or application of computer models of wind turbines, wind generators, controllers for fixed-speed and variable-speed wind turbines, and wind turbine rotor aerodynamics and design;
- Have a working knowledge of wind energy technical challenges such as grid code requirements and wind turbine aerodynamic power regulation methods such as stall, pitch, and active stall control methods with respect to implementation, control complexity, and wind energy conversion efficiency.
- Have an ability to devise wind engineering solutions and evaluate their technical and economic merits, understanding their potential environmental impacts, in order to meet established goals in a global and societal context; and
- Have knowledge of contemporary issues related to wind energy, and an understanding of how those issues impact wind energy conversion system design, application and regulation.
Additional Admission Requirements
- Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.
- NAU Graduate Online application is required for all programs. Details on admission requirements are included in the online application.
- Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution
- Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A"), or the equivalent.
- Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.
- For details on graduate admission policies, please visit the Graduate Admissions Policy
- International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy
Individual program admission requirements include:
- An accredited undergraduate degree in an engineering discipline
- An undergraduate degree in science or mathematics is also a possible path into the program, though some background work in foundational engineering, math or science courses may be required in order to satisfy the prerequisite requirements for the certificate courses.
Take the following 15 units:
In addition to these two courses, students may select from a variety of disciplinary courses where the content is applicable to wind energy.
Select from (9 units):
- ME 520, ME 523, ME 525, ME 530, ME 554, ME 556, ME 560, ME 561, ME 570, ME 575, ME 580,
- ENV 675
- EE 503, EE 599 as Advanced Power Systems, EE 599 as Advanced Power Electronics
- CENE 502, CENE 503, CENE 536, CENE 540, CENE 577
- Additional graduate-level electives beyond this list may be selected in consultation with your advisor, if they are of relevance to wind energy
This certificate may be pursued and completed concurrently with a degree program or as a stand-alone certificate. Federal financial aid cannot be used if the certificate is completed as a stand-alone certificate.
If pursued concurrently with a graduate degree, the graduate degree program must decide which, if any, certificate courses can also count toward the graduate degree.
Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also take. For prerequisite information click on the course or see your advisor.
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