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Program Requirements (ESE)

Course Requirements

The course requirements include a minimum of 36 hours of coursework beyond the BS degree. Of these, the following 30 hours of coursework or their equivalent must be completed at a minimum, including the Core Curriculum, a Knowledge Breadth Curriculum, a Knowledge Specialization Curriculum, and Seminar Series.

Core Curriculum (6 credits)

ESE 511 and ESE 512 Introduction to Energy Science and Technology. Topics include: energy basics; history of energy and society; current and future supply and demand; political and environmental aspects of energy production; energy technologies (fossil fuels, biomass, nuclear fission, nuclear fusion, solar, wind, geothermal); energy conversion, storage, transportation, and distribution; energy efficiency; and innovation.

Knowledge Breadth Curriculum (6 credits)

Select courses from the following areas:

  1. Political, social, legal, ethical, and security issues related to energy
  2. Entrepreneurship, leadership, and management

Knowledge Specialization Curriculum (15 credits)

Choose courses in a given specialty area:

  1. Nuclear Energy
  2. Bioenergy and Biofuels
  3. Renewable Energy
  4. Energy Conversion and Storage
  5. Distributed Energy and Grid Management
  6. Environmental and Climate Sciences
  7. Cross-Cutting Energy Sciences

ESE 599 Seminar (3 credits)

Topical seminars in the focus areas of the Bredesen Center.

Graduate Student Examinations

Examination requirements for students who are pursuing a concentration in Energy Sciences and Engineering are required to follow the examination procedures of their respective degree programs (i.e. Mechanical Engineering, Physics, etc.). For the Energy Science and Engineering doctoral program, three examinations are required as part of the doctoral program: a qualifying examination, a comprehensive examination, and a defense of dissertation examination.

Qualifying Examination

The qualifying examination is developed, administered, and graded by the faculty (or designated subset of the faculty) of the PhD program under the coordination of the Bredesen Center director and tests the student’s abilities as a researcher. In case of failure, the candidate may appeal to retake the examination through the Bredesen Center Graduate Education Committee within 30 days of notification of the result. If the appeal is granted, the student must retake the examination at the next offering. The result of the second examination is final.

Comprehensive Examination

Timing: The comprehensive examination should be taken no later than the end of the second year following entrance into the PhD program and prior to admission to candidacy. The timing is late enough in a student’s academic program to permit most of his or her graduate course work to be covered on the examination, and early enough to permit modification of the student’s program based on the results of the exam.

Prerequisites for the Exam: Two requirements must be satisfied before a student takes the comprehensive examination:

  1. A written dissertation proposal, approved by the major professor, must be submitted to each of the members of the student’s doctoral committee two weeks prior to the exam.
  2. Each member of the student’s doctoral committee must agree that the student is ready to take the comprehensive exam. In order to satisfy each member of the committee that he or she is ready for the exam, the student may be required to perform satisfactorily on either written or oral tests as prescribed by the committee member. The committee member will communicate to the major professor when he or she is satisfied that the student is ready to take the comprehensive exam.

Once the comprehensive examination is passed, the student should file for and be admitted to candidacy. At the discretion of the doctoral committee, supplemental reexaminations for the comprehensive examination and/or proposed dissertation research may be required. In case of failure, the candidate may not apply for reexamination until the following semester. The result of the second examination is final.

Defense of Dissertation Examination

A doctoral candidate must pass an oral examination on the dissertation. The dissertation, in the form approved by the major professor, must be distributed to the committee at least two weeks before the examination. The examination must be scheduled through the Office of the University Registrar at least one week prior to the examination and must be conducted in university-approved facilities. The examination is announced publicly and is open to all students and faculty members. The defense of the dissertation will be administered by all members of the doctoral committee after completion of the dissertation and all course requirements. This examination must be passed at least two weeks before the date of submission and acceptance of the dissertation by Graduate Student Services. The major professor must submit the results of the defense by the dissertation deadline.