Photo looking upward at wind turbine, with Sun in the background.

Photo courtesy of Changhua Coast Conservation Action on Flickr.

Prosperity for a growing global population takes energy…lots of it. Indeed, scholars have linked the progress of modern civilization to a 10,000 year sequence of energy innovations.

But now with mounting risks from human-caused climate change and other environmental degradations, the world faces an urgent need to transform its energy systems. And this rapid shift must happen while giving billions more people around the world fair access to their share of energy-based prosperity.

Seeking to understand and transform the world’s energy systems, MIT researchers and students investigate all aspects of energy. They discover new ways of generating and storing energy, as in creating biofuels from plant waste and in holding electricity from renewable sources in cost-effective, high-capacity batteries.

They create models and design experiments to determine how we can improve energy efficiency at all scales, from nanostructures and photovoltaic cells to large power plants and smart electrical grids. They analyze how people make decisions about energy, whether as individual consumers or whole nations, and they forecast what the social and environmental consequences of these decisions might be.

OCW’s Energy Courses list demonstrates how the study of energy is so important and so pervasive at MIT. It’s built on the MIT Energy Initiative’s undergraduate Energy Studies Minor, with a core of foundational subjects in energy science, technology, and social science, complemented by a program of electives which allow students to tailor their Energy Minor to particular interests. The OCW course list also includes some related courses which are not officially part of the Energy Minor program.

Explore the range and depth of OCW’s energy courses beginning with these four highlights.

Energy Decisions, Markets, and Policies
This Energy Minor core subject, featuring a complete set of lecture videos, examines the choices and constraints regarding sources and uses of energy by households, firms, and governments.


D-Lab: Energy
This Energy Minor elective provides project-based learning about sustainable energy technology in developing countries, where compact, robust, low-cost solutions are required. The OCW version features many videos and student project presentations.

Nuclear Systems Design Project
This Energy Minor elective is a capstone project synthesis of practical problems of current interest in nuclear applications design.  This version’s students designed a nuclear power plant to provide emission-free electricity along with carbon sequestration.

Climate Action Hands-On: Harnessing Science with Communities to Cut Carbon
This non-credit seminar co-sponsored by MIT ClimateX features citizen science responses to the problem of leaking natural gas infrastructure, and helped develop a new leak measurement method now being trialed by MA utilities.