Renewable Energy Education in the UK

In this article, a list of all the institutes offering courses on Renewable energy technology at the undergraduate level has been compiled. Before opting for Renewables, students should understand a few facts about this field that are mentioned in the passages below.

In the last decade, Renewable Energy Technology (RET) has seen growth across the globe. Solar and Wind power installations in many countries have risen exponentially. This is being followed up by the rapid growth in bio-mass energy. Although the growth in wave and tidal power has not witnessed similar success but it holds tremendous potential. Unlike the IT industry that rose on the back of an entirely new technology, Renewable energy has evolved through the amalgamation of existing technologies. These technologies include Mechanical , Electrical and Electronics engineering. Thus graduates from these traditional engineering courses often land into jobs that are related purely to renewable technology. This fact is also reflected in RET education of past and present and is explained below.

Renewable Education

Renewable Energy Education

With the advancement of Renewable energy technology, a need for contextualized education in the field was felt. An emerging skill gap identified certain areas that were exclusive to renewables and were not taught in the mentioned engineering courses. Some of these areas exclusive to RET are Environmental Impact Assessment,  Renewable Resource Estimation, Carbon Emission/Reduction calculations. Wind/Solar Farm Design and Law related to Renewables etc.

Until recently, the approach had been to study these subjects separately i.e. as post-graduate courses after completion of an initial  mechanical or electrical engineering degree.

In fact, 10 years ago there weren’t any renewable energy courses offered by educational institutes in the UK at an undergraduate level. It was seen as a field in which a student can specialize and therefore all courses were offered at a post graduate level.

Many private institutes-  most with a commercial background  – offer certificate courses for various  RET subjects. However, candidates must exercise care when choosing these courses as many of them do not have any accreditation.

As the field of Renewable energy has evolved , so have the employment opportunities. However many universities and colleges are still reluctant to introduce RET as an entirely separate course and are content with contextualizing existing Mechanical/Electrical degree with more focus renewables. Other institutes have ventured further and offer  4 year honours degree.  Some of these courses also offer job placement for an year during the course. In addition to  the universities, colleges have also joined the ranks in offering higher national certificate/diplomas in RET. These certificate/diploma or PDA (professional development awards) can offer students a more flexible way of completing a degree in Renewable, which also turns out to be more cost effective.

Renewable Energy Degree

Renewable Energy Degree

Having said that it has to be pointed out that Renewable energy education is witnessing teething problems. Initially employers in the power industry were reluctant to take onboard students graduating in RET. There was a degree of uncertainty about competence and skillset and therefore preference was given to traditional engineering graduates. These reservations to a large extent have been addressed by the first batches of graduates who have now established themselves in the industry. Furthermore, still  many of the courses offer a bachelors of science .(BSc) degree and not an engineering degree. This is because of accreditation issues with the engineering awarding body.

Below is the list of institutes offering Renewable Energy education in the UK. Students are advised to checked UCAS and degree accreditation information before applying for them. There are far more post -graduate courses which will be covered in another article.

Renewables  Industry offers greater employ-ability compared to conventional power as explained in Jobs and education in Renewables

Renewable Energy education in the UK


Course Duration (years) Qualification Website
Plymouth University    Electrical Engineering & Renewable Energy 4 MEng (Hons)
University of Nottingham   Electrical Engineering and Renewable Energy Systems 3 BEng (Hons)
University of Leeds   Electronics and Renewable Energy Systems 4 MEng (Hons)
Newcastle College    Renewable Energy Technologies 2 HND
University of Greenwich   Electrical Engineering: (Renewable Energy) 3 BEng (Hons)
University of Exeter   Renewable Energy 3 BSc (Hons)
Cornwall College   Energy and Carbon Management 3 BSc (Hons)
Durham University  General Engineering: New and Renewable Energy 4 MEng (Hons)
Brunel University   Electrical Engineering with Renewable Energy Systems 5 MEng (Hons)

N. Ireland

Ulster University  Renewable Energy Engineering 4 BEng (Hons)


University of Edinburgh  1. Electrical Engineering with Renewable Energy 4 BEng (Hons)
2. Mechanical Engineering with Renewable Energy 4 BEng (Hons)
University of Dundee  1.Mechanical Engineering with Renewables 4 BEng (Hons)
2. Physics with Renewable Energy Science 4 BSc (Hons)
Fife College  Renewable Energy (Engineering Systems) 2 HND
University of Highlands and Islands Renewable Energy systems 3  PDA
SRUC Green Technology 4 BSc


University of Swansea   Renewable Energy and the Built Environment 3 BSc (Hons)
UWTSD Swansea Renewable Energy Systems 3 BSc (Hons)
Glyndwr University   Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technologies 3 BEng (Hons)

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