Education and Workforce Development

The Center for Energy continues to lead Pitt’s development and delivery of energy-related educational programs specifically tailored to the needs of our regional energy economy.   The development of programs in several areas – including electric power, mining, and nuclear engineering – have become some of the best in the country.  A summary follows of the programs, course offerings, and future plans for energy-related education.   

Energy-related Concentrations and Certificates  

  • Electric Power Engineering – undergraduate (BS) and graduate (MS and PhD) concentrations within the ECE department. Undergraduate concentrations represent 1/3 of all graduatin BS EE’s; a new online learning post-baccalaureate/graduate certificate program introduced in fall 2013 is exceeding enrollment targets. New course developments at all levels of the program.
  • Nuclear Engineering– Undergraduate (BS) and graduate (MS) certificates and the Master of Science in Nuclear Engineering (MSNE) continue to remain steady with stable enrollments
  • Mining Engineering – steady enrollments in the undergraduate and graduate certificate programs (despite recent/current downturn in industry)
  • Advanced Manufacturing – New M.S. program is under development       
  • Safety Engineering Certificate - The graduate safety engineering certificate program targets engineers in the energy industry who find they need or want a background in safety engineering.   The curriculum targets general industry injury prevention, catastrophic loss of containment prevention, mitigation and management as well as work environment design and focuses on the continuous process oil and gas industry, nuclear power and conventional coal and natural gas power industries. 

Energy Policy & Law Institute Launched in 2015  

The Pitt Law School established the Energy Law and Policy Institute in 2015. The Institute will develop new courses in the field of energy law, with a particular focus on helping students develop practice-ready skills. The Institute will host major annual conferences that bring together law firms, corporations, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations to address evolving issues in energy law and policy. The Institute aims to advance collaborative research and teaching initiatives in the field of energy law in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh Center for Energy, Swanson School of Engineering, Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, Graduate School of Public Health, and Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, among others.

Electric Power Engineering  

The Swanson School of Engineering established expanded educational programs in Electric Power Engineering beginning in 2007 through an undergraduate concentration within the Electrical & Computer Engineering Department.  Graduate level EE degrees (MS and PhD) with concentrations in Electric Power followed shortly thereafter.  Courses have been developed and added at all levels over the past several years.  Pitt’s electric power engineering curriculum has now become one of the most robust and diverse set of offerings in the country today. 

Most recently, an Electric Power Engineering Post-Baccalaureate/Graduate Certificate Program was established, in 2013, which rises to the challenge of meeting the nation's critical development needs for electrical energy professionals.  Offered both in an online and on-campus format, our online teaching capabilities allow students to attend classroom lectures in real time, and also allows synchronous participation remotely via the Internet. 

All of these programs are deeply rooted in core electric power engineering principles and focus on the design, operation, analysis, expansion, reliability and efficiency of total electric power systems and grid infrastructure through applications of advanced technologies and systems. 

Undergraduate Power Courses

•          1673 – Linear Control Systems

•          1700 – Cost and Construction of Industrial Power Systems

•          1710 – Power Distribution Engineering and Smart Grids

•          1769 – Power Systems Analysis 1

•          1771 – Electric Machines

•          1773 – Power Generation, Operation, and Control

•          17xx – Power Electronics Conversion Theory **

•          1071 – Electrical Power Transmission and Distribution Grid Technologies  

Graduate (MS and PhD) Power Courses

•          2250 – Power Electronics Circuits and Applications * 

•          2646 – Linear System Theory * 

•          2774 – Power Systems Analysis 2 * 

•          2777 – Transients 1 * 

•          2778 – Advanced Power Electronics – FACTS and HVDC * 

•          2780 – Renewable and Alternative Energy Systems * 

•          2781 – Smart Grid Technologies and Applications * 

•          2795 – Spec: Sustainable Systems Modeling * 

•          2795 – Spec: Microgrids and Distributed Energy Resources * 

•          2795 – Spec: Protective Relaying and Automation * 

•          2795 – Spec: Electric Distribution System Engineering II ** 

•          2795 – Spec: Power and Energy Industry Practices ** 

•          3775 – Power System Steady State Control 

•          3776 – Power Systems Control and Stability 

•          3778 – Transients 2 

•          3795 – Spec: Cyber-physical Power Systems ** 

•          3795 – Spec: Power Electronics Conversion 2 **  

*  Offered online and part of the post-baccalaureate/graduate certificate program offerings 

** In planning stages 

Nuclear Engineering

As global demands for renewable, efficient energy continue to expand, nuclear power industry has a need for qualified engineering professionals.  Companies invested in the exploration and application of nuclear energy report significant employment demand due to a gap created by retiring workers and a shortfall in new talent to replace them.  In response to these demands, the Swanson School of Engineering offers a series of options in nuclear engineering education that draw from the wealth of real-world, nuclear experience concentrated in Southwestern Pennsylvania. As the birthplace of nuclear power, this region is among the few U.S. locations to combine so much expertise in both nuclear power companies and universities.

Students pursuing undergraduate and graduate-level studies in nuclear engineering will benefit from what few other U.S. institutions can offer: faculty whose careers were built on the successful operation of licensed power reactors, and bring many decades of experience into the classroom.  From industry fundamentals to simulated operation of a plant, students will learn precisely what awaits them when they enter the nuclear power workforce. 

The Master of Science in Nuclear Engineering (MSNE) Program offers both a non-thesis (professional) and a thesis (research) option.  To qualify for a Professional MSNE the candidate completes 10 courses (30 credit hours).  To earn a Research MSNE the candidate completes 30 credits that include 9 credits of thesis research and 7 courses (21 credit hours).  Graduate students may also choose from a stand-alone post-baccalaureate Certificate in Nuclear Engineering or a Graduate Certificate in Nuclear Engineering attached to a Master of Science in another discipline: bioengineering, chemical and petroleum engineering, civil and environmental engineering, electrical and computer engineering, industrial engineering, mechanical engineering, or materials science. To qualify for the certificate, the student completes five nuclear engineering courses from the Program's portfolio of offerings. 

Undergraduate students, can choose to major in Engineering Science with a concentration in Nuclear Energy or pursue an Undergraduate Certificate in Nuclear Engineering. The Engineering Science Nuclear Energy concentration provides the undergraduate student with the opportunity for a concentration in nuclear energy with an increase course emphasis in mathematics and physics. The Undergraduate Certificate in Nuclear Engineering can be earned in conjunction with any undergraduate engineering degree offered by the Swanson School of Engineering or students majoring in mathematics or physics.  

Undergraduate Nuclear Courses

•          1700 – Introduction to Nuclear Engineering 

•          1701 – Fundamentals of Nuclear Reactors 

•          1702 – Nuclear Plant Technology   

Graduate (MS) Nuclear Courses

•          2100 – Fundamentals of Nuclear Engineering * 

•          2101 – Nuclear Core Dynamics * 

•          2102 – Nuclear Plant Dynamics and Control * 

•          2103 – Integration of Nuclear Plant Systems with the Reactor Core * 

•          2104 – Nuclear Operations Safety * 

•          2105 – Integrated Nuclear Power Plant Operations 

•          2106 – Nuclear Quality Assurance Management * 

•          2107 – High-Performance Computing Algorithms and Methods 

•          2110 – Nuclear Materials * 

•          2112 – Nuclear Chemistry and Radiochemistry * 

•          2113 – Radiation Detection and Measurement * 

•          2115 – Heat Transfer and Fluid Flow in Nuclear Plants * 

•          2116 – Boiling Water Reactor Thermal-Hydraulics and Safety * 

•          2118 – Computational Radiation Transport * 

•          2120 – Mathematical Modeling of Nuclear Plants * 

•          2122 – Management Principles in Nuclear Power * 

•          2125 – Case Studies in Nuclear Codes and Standards * 

•          2130 – Environmental Issues and Solutions for Nuclear Power *

* Offered online

Mining Engineering

Mining is an important industry that uses advanced technologies, providing the raw materials and energy resources needed to sustain our standard of living.  Currently, the minerals industry is experiencing difficulty due to slow economic growth around the world.  Even so, there is still a demand to replace significant numbers of professional retirements in the minerals industry.  There is continuing need for engineering professionals who are committed to high standards and are prepared to handle the important health, safety, and environmental issues facing this critical industry.  Mineral industry professionals use their knowledge of engineering, geology, and mining to solve complex problems associated with the safe extraction of resources from the earth.  Engineers and scientists explore for valuable resources, design surface and underground mining operations, and reclaim sites when operations cease. They help to enhance the health and safety of these operations and diminish potential environmental impacts.  Pennsylvania is home to large, state-of-the-art mines; government research laboratories; and suppliers where new mining technologies and work practices are continually being developed and refined.  While these companies and laboratories offer exciting, high-paying jobs for talented professionals, they have had difficulty finding professionals with a background in mining engineering.

To address this issue, the Swanson School of Engineering has created a Certificate in Mining Engineering for undergraduates and graduates.  These programs are designed for current engineering and science students within the Swanson School of Engineering and for professionals with science and engineering degrees already working in the mining industry.  Developed in consultation with mining industry stakeholders, these programs prepare engineering and science graduates to excel in a field critical for meeting societal needs. 

Approximately eight certificates are granted on an annual basis with over eighty students participating in four courses a year.  Annually, this program is responsible for numerous featured speakers, interesting field trips to mineral industry sites, and a collection of important publications and presentations.  

Undergraduate Mining Courses

  • 1631 – Introduction to Mining Engineering 
  • 1632 – Sustainable Development and the Mineral Industry 
  • 1634 – Environmental Controls in Mining 
  • 1635 – Mine Ventilation Engineering 
  • 1637 – Strata Control Engineering 
  • 1638 – Mining Health and Safety 

Graduate Mining Courses

  • 2631 – Introduction to Mining Engineering 
  • 2632 – Sustainable Development and the Mineral Industry 
  • 2634 – Environmental Controls in Mining 
  • 2635 – Mine Ventilation Engineering 
  • 2637 – Strata Control Engineering 
  • 2638 – Mining Health and Safety 

Safety Engineering Graduate Certificate Program

 The Swanson School of Engineering established in 2014, a graduate certificate in Safety Engineering. It is one of a very few online programs in safety engineering in the U.S. that allows students to attend classroom lectures in real time, and also allows synchronous participation remotely via the Internet or to view archived lectures if work responsibilities dictate. 

The increasing foot print of the oil and gas industry, greater emphasis on meeting the demand for energy, and ever increasing regulatory mandates in a variety of fields have prompted the need for more engineers that have training in safety engineering.  This unique program was developed for engineers with new or additional safety related responsibilities or who find that they are now charged with managing large projects with incumbent safety-related responsibilities. 

The Safety Engineering Program specifies three required courses and allows two elective courses in the interest area of each student. The list of electives is flexible and while there is a list from which students can select the courses (see below), with approval, students can take many other courses to meet this requirement.   The program is designed to prepare engineers of any discipline to meet the challenges that an increased need for safe design and operations in an increasingly complex world presents by training them in “the application and implementation of safety engineering concepts, principles and practices”. While the certificate is intended to provide training in safety engineering for engineers, it can also be of benefit to those in non-engineering based safety professions.

Certificate program objectives:

  • Equip engineering professionals with increased capabilities in safety engineering-related analytical skills, problem solving and solutions design
  • Enable engineers to acquire a more thorough understanding of critical operational safety-related hazards
  • Enable engineers to gain an understanding of, and an ability to analyze, dynamic hazard scenarios, and to design protective systems to prevent these hazards from resulting in injuries, fires, explosions and release
  • Enable engineers to acquire the skills necessary to analyze and quantify risks, and to be able to apply risk-based safety and business decision making
  • Enable engineers to gain an understanding of human performance and human-based systems

Required Courses

  • IE-2031 Introduction to Safety Engineering
  • IE-2302 Engineering for Process Safety
  • IE-2303 Work Design

Elective Courses (and any course proposed by the student and accepted by the director)

  • IE-2275/BioE 2275 Design for Injury Prevention
  • ENGR-2100 Fundamentals of Nuclear Engineering
  • ENGR-2102 Nuclear Plant Dynamics and Control
  • ENGR-2125 Case Studies in Nuclear Codes and Standards
  • ENGR2130 Environmental Issues and Solutions for Nuclear Power
  • ECE-2250 Power Systems Engineering and Analysis
    • ECE-2774 Power Systems Analysis 2
    • ECE-2780 Renewable and Alternative Energy Systems
    • ECE-2781 Smart Grid Technologies and Applications
    • ECE-2795 Spec: Sustainable Systems Modeling
    • ECE-2795 Spec: Microgrids and Distributed Energy Resources
    • ECE-2795 Spec: Protective Relaying and Automation
    • ECE-3775 Power System Steady State Control (Power Generation, Operation & Control 2)
    • ECE-3776 Power Systems Control and Stability
    • CEE-2204 Construction Law and Risk Management
    • CEE-2230 Building Information Modeling
    • CEE2347 Bridge Engineering
    • CEE-2730 Highway Engineering
    • ENGR-2633 Minerals Industry Risk Management
    • ENGR-2638 Mining Health and Safety
    • ENGR-2639 Mine Evaluation and Management


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