Graduates of the Mines/NREL Advanced Energy Systems (AES) degree program will be uniquely positioned to enter the workforce in roles supporting advanced energy innovation and energy systems integration in government, academia, nonprofits, and the private sector.

With a focus on emerging energy technologies, the Mines/NREL Advanced Energy Systems (AES) degree program is designed to train future thought leaders and to tackle the complex challenges of a dynamic energy world, including:

  • Integrating a wide range of energy sources into a flexible, secure grid as power derived from renewables approaches cost parity
  • Implementing digitized and optimized energy control and management through artificial intelligence that maintains robust security and resilience
  • Addressing economic and policy barriers the development of advanced energy markets and high-efficiency technologies for energy conversion and storage
  • Advancing transportation technologies and infrastructure.

The Mines/NREL Ph.D. and MS programs are structured around three key courses and two rotational assignments at NREL in year 1. The first year provides researchers with a broad, rigorous background in the energy sector. Year 2 focuses on elective courses required to develop deep expertise in the selected area of focus. Ph.D. candidates will continue with two additional years of dedicated research under the guidance of Mines and NREL advisors. Learn about NREL’s research and research collaborations.

Beyond the core curriculum and rotation, the program design also allows for flexibility to encourage individual student strengths across both campuses.

To learn more about the AES degree program, follow @CSMenergy on Twitter.

More Information

Apply for Fall 2019
*Priority Deadline: December 15
International Applications: March 1
Domestic Applications: July 1

Mines and NREL Join Forces To Shape the Future of Energy

Program Information

Master's Non-Thesis Requirements

The Master of Science degree requires a minimum of 30 semester hours of energy related course work. This includes nine credit hours of core coursework and 21 credit hours of elective coursework.

Core Courses 9
Electives 21
Total semester Hrs: 30
PhD Requirements
Semester Activities
Year One
Fall 2019 Course Work
Energy Resources and Electric Power Systems Energy for Transportation
Spring 2020 Course Work
Energy Systems Integration and Efficiency NREL Rotation I : Analysis of Integrated Energy Systems
Summer 2020 Course Work
NREL Rotation II: Energy Science and Technologies
Research – Identifying research topic and NREL & Mines group
Year Two
Fall 2020 Course Work
Track elective 1 out of 4
Research – Research Performance Exam
Spring 2021 Course Work
Track elective 2 out of 4 Track elective 3 out of 4
Research – Research Performance Exam
Summer 2021 Research
Thesis research under the direction of joint CSM/NREL committee
Year Three
Fall 2021 Course Work
Track elective 4 out of 4  
Research -Thesis research will be combined with internship at NREL, to include Thesis Committee formation and evaluation of progress
Spring 2022 Research – Thesis research will be combined with internship at NREL and will include thesis research proposal and admission to candidacy
Summer 2022 Research – Thesis research will be combined with internship at NREL
Year Four
Fall 2022 Research – Thesis research will be combined with internship at NREL
Spring 2023 Research – Thesis research and Ph.D. defense


NREL Rotations

The AES degree program includes two rotations at NREL that provide students with the distinctive professional development experience of working alongside industry thought leaders and innovators in a world-class laboratory setting. NREL rotations are limited to PhD students.

Rotation I: Analysis of Integrated Energy Systems

Host NREL Directorates

  • Energy Systems Integration
  • Scientific Computing and Energy Analysis

Rotation II:  Energy Science and Technologies

Host NREL Directorates

  • Bioenergy Science and Technology
  • Mechanical and Thermal Energy Sciences
  • Materials & Chemical Science and Technology

Requirements and Outcomes: Rotations I and II

  • Participate in a weekly seminar series covering the breadth of ongoing research at NREL
  • Prepare a project plan with quantitative objectives
  • Demonstrate appropriate documentation of research progress in laboratory notebooks
  • Prepare a technical report in support of a multi-investigator research program
Core Courses

Core Course 1: Energy Resources and Electric Power Systems  3.0 Credit Hours

This course introduces how fossil, renewable and nuclear energy resources are extracted and converted to electric power.  This course surveys power-plant and energy-conversion technologies for the electrical grid.  Students will perform analysis of electricity generation, transmission, and grid-scale storage systems. The course will explore energy resource and electricity markets in depth with a focus on U.S. markets as a backdrop for analyzing other developed and developing markets. The course will introduce resiliency and security challenges facing the current electricity grid.

Core Course 2: Energy for Transportation  3.0 Credit Hours

This course will explore the distribution of fossil and alternative fuels and of electricity to enable vehicle transportation and distributed power generation. Students will assess the cost and environmental impacts of various technologies. Students will also get an insight into the national and global network of pipelines and/or shipping routes for natural gas and oil distribution, and the limitations in current systems. In addition to providing an introduction to alternative energy carriers, including hydrogen, natural gas, and electrified transportation, the course will include a review of engines, transportation infrastructure, and supply chains as well as in-depth discussion of policies and technology innovations influencing the development of the transportation sector with a focus on efficiency, emissions, and expanded capabilities.

Core Course 3: Energy Systems Integration and Efficiency  3.0 Credit Hours

This course will introduce efforts to increase energy efficiency in buildings, the commercial sector, and heavy industries with an emphasis on energy-intensive manufacturing. Students will explore how advances in energy systems, such as demand response technologies and intelligent loads, are providing grid services and balancing power demands for buildings, commercial operations, and manufacturing processes. The course will also address the integrated nature of energy systems with an emphasis on their connections to water, food, land, and mobility.  A key focus area of study will be challenges and risks arising due to cybersecurity and resiliency threats facing highly integrated energy systems.

Elective Courses

CEEN 477 – Sustainable Engineering Design 3

CEEN 479 – Air Pollution 3

CEEN 501 –  Life Cycle Analysis 3

CEEN592. Environmental Law 3

CEEN594. Risk Assessment 3

CEEN611. Multiphase Contaminant Transport 3

EENG570. Advanced High Power Electronics 3

EENG571. Modern Adjustable Speed Electric Drives 3

EENG572. Renewable Energy and Distributed Generation 3

EENG573. Electric Power Quality 3

EENG580. Power Distributions System Engineering 3

EENG581. Power System Operation and Management 3

EENG582. High Voltage AC and DC Power Transmission 3

EENG583. Advanced Electrical Machine Dynamics 3

EENG584. Power System Stability 3

EENG586. Communication Networks for Power Systems 3

EENG587. Power Systems Protection and Relaying 3

EENG588. Energy Policy, Restructuring and Deregulation of Electricity Market 3

MEGN560. Design and Simulation of Thermal Systems 3

MEGN566. Combustion 3

MEGN569. Fuel Cell Science and Technology 3

MEGN571. Advanced Heat Transfer 3

EBGN521. Microeconomics of Mineral and Energy Markets 3

EBGN523. Mineral and Energy Policy 3

EBGN528. Industrial Systems Simulation 3

EBGN530. Economics of International Energy Markets 3

EBGN570. Environmental Economics 3

EBGN575. Advanced Mining and Energy Asset Valuation 3

EBGN580. Exploration Economics

EBGN610. Advanced Natural Resource Economics 3

EBGN611. Primary Fuels 3

GEOL550. Integrated Basin Modeling 3

GEOL551. Applied Petroleum Geology 3

GEOL552. Unconventional Petroleum Systems 3

GEOL553. Geology and Seismic Signatures of Reservoir Systems 3

GEOL609. Advanced Petroleum Geology 3

GEOL613. Geologic Reservoir Characterization 3

LAIS558. Natural Resources and Development

LAIS589 Nuclear Power and Public Policy 3

LAIS590 Energy and Society 3

Any Sets of Courses in Petroleum Engineering, PEGN

CBEN569. Fuel Cell Science and Technology 3

CBEN580. Natural Gas Hydrates 3

CHGN584. Fundamentals of Catalysis 3

MTGN569 Fuel Cell Science and Technology 3

MTGN593 Nuclear Materials Science and Engineering 3

PHGN542. Solid State Devices and Photovoltaic 3

PHGN590. Nuclear Reactor Physics 3

Courses Related to Cyber Security (from the cyber security and privacy curriculum at the Colorado School of Mines is mapped to the four-year core Knowledge Units (KUs),

CSCI-403           Database Management

CSCI-406           Algorithms

CSCI-442           Operating Systems

CSCI-471           Computer Networks I

CSCI-474/598    Introduction to Cryptography

CSCI-475/598    Information Security & Privacy