2022-2023

Wind Energy, Undergraduate Certificate

Department of Mechanical Engineering

College of Engineering, Informatics, and Applied Sciences

The Wind Energy Undergraduate Certificate (WEUC) is a program designed to give students the training necessary to apply their undergraduate degrees to careers in the wind energy industry. Wind energy is now a mainstream power conversion technology that will likely grow substantially in the future.  Along with this growth will come the need for many new businesses and professionals working in the industry. 

The WEUC is a 15-credit program that will be available to undergraduate students in engineering, the physical sciences and math. Two undergraduate, wind-energy focused courses concentrating on the fundamental electrical, mechanical and wind flow aspects of wind energy 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 B.S. degrees.

  • To receive an undergraduate certificate (at least 15 units) at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses from one or more subject matter areas with a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0.

    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
Highest Mathematics Required MAT 239

Purpose Statement

The purpose of this 15-credit Undergraduate Certificate in Wind Energy is to prepare students for professional careers in the wind industry and in wind energy research and development. Students in engineering, the physical sciences, or math will have the opportunity to learn in-depth how to analyze and design wind turbine mechanical, electrical, and control systems. They will also be introduced to wind resource assessment and wind power plant design. Beyond these technical topics, students will become conversant in the broader societal, environmental, regulatory and economic aspects of wind energy necessary for professional practice. Recipients of an undergraduate certificate will have 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 backgrounds appropriate for engineering math or the physical sciences. Students may earn a certificate concurrently with their BS degrees at NAU. The certificate requires two core classes (6-credit hours) that are focused on wind energy, 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. It is a quickly growing field with many professional opportunities for certificate recipients both in the United States and abroad. Though now an established technology, wind energy continues to evolve as turbines grow larger and more sophisticated for utility applications, become more practical and reliable for off-grid and microgrid applications, and are utilized both on-shore and off-shore. This program seeks to inspire innovation and creativity in its graduates, grounded in the principles of good scientific and engineering practice.

Student Learning Outcomes 

Upon completion of the certificate program, students will be able to:

  • Understand and apply basic concepts of wind energy conversion systems  including the amount of energy available in the wind across variables of time, and how wind turbines (a) capture that energy, (b) convert it into useful mechanical and electrical energy, and (c) ultimately deliver it to customers on-grid or off-grid;
  • 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;
  • Use the techniques, skills and modern tools necessary for practice in wind energy, including computer-aided solution methods, demonstrated through application of computer models relevant to wind turbine design or wind power development; 
  • Apply wind energy technology and vernacular correctly in problem solving, and oral and written communication; 
  • 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
  • Examine contemporary issues related to wind energy, particularly how those issues impact wind energy conversion system design, application and regulation.

 

Certificate Requirements