Graduate Renewable Energy Certificate

Receive additional information about the graduate certificate in renewable energy

Designed for professionals in the energy industry, including administrators, engineers, business entrepreneurs, and others impacted by new policies and practices relating to renewable energy, the online Graduate Certificate in Renewable Energy (GREC) covers energy technologies, energy markets and business, and energy policy.

The reasons that you might choose the GREC Program include the following:

  • Excellent faculty with expertise in their teaching field and in online teaching
  • Flexible online format, particularly convenient for the working professional
  • Broad range of energy-related courses with a focus on policy, business management, and the science of renewable energies
  • Opportunity to interact in online discussions with people from all over the world

Certificate requirements

The four course (12-credit) certificate program allows you flexibility in your specific coursework while providing a breadth of understanding in different aspects of renewable energy. To complete the certificate, students must successfully complete four three-credit courses. Recommended preparation (or co-requisite) for all GREC courses is ENGR 600 Alternative Energy Fundamentals.

Students may select four classes out of the nine graduate course offerings that best suit their interest and educational goals. All courses and exams are delivered in an online format with course offerings available in the fall, spring and summer semesters.

The courses are designed and taught by top faculty from the University of Nevada, Reno and other research institutions. Courses are designed to facilitate participation in online discussions, case-study analysis, and problem-based learning. The online format accommodates the schedule of working professionals and also allows you to benefit from diverse geographic perspectives of your classmates.

This program is approved for VA Education Benefits. Benefits need to be set up through the Veteran Services Office

Courses may qualify as professional development hours for Professional Engineers (PE) licensed by the State of Nevada and as professional development education for teachers.

Admissions requirements

The program is open for application to all students who hold an undergraduate degree in engineering, business management, liberal arts or a related field. If you are not currently enrolled in a graduate degree program, you must complete a graduate certificate application in addition to your application to the Graduate Renewable Energy Certificate Program.

The program is funded in part by Nevada Renewable Energy Consortium / DOE (DE-EE0000272), NV Energy, and Extended Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Please note: Due to federal regulations and state authorization requirements, the online certificate may not be eligible to residents of certain states. Contact program director Victor Vasquez if you reside outside of Nevada.

Application and Admission Process

Application to the University of Nevada's Graduate School as a graduate certificate student in the GREC Program requires that you submit an application, a personal statement, a resume, and official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions you have attended. To begin the application process, go to UNR's Online Application webpage to "sign up" for an application account. If you have any questions or need assistance with the application process, please contact program director Victor Vasquez.

If you are currently in a graduate program at the University of Nevada, Reno and want to add the renewable energy certificate to your degree program, contact program director Victor Vasquez for a GREC application.

Important note for distance (off-campus) students: If you plan to take on-campus courses or use any on-campus UNR facilities (for example: Knowledge Center, Lombardi Recreation, etc.),you must submit immunization records to the university. Students who are not registered for an on-campus course and who do not plan to use any UNR on-campus campus facilities may submit a Distance Education Immunization Exemption Request form to program director Victor Vasquez, in lieu of immunization records. This immunization exemption form will also be used to register you for your online classes.

Because all of the courses in the GREC program are entirely online courses, this same application process applies to international students who reside outside the U.S. or inside the U.S. on an F-1 visa.

Contact Us

For more information please contact program director Victor Vasquez.

Tuition and Fees

A fully detailed and up-to-date listing of all current tuition and fees is available on the Tuition and Fees website maintained by the Cashier's Office.

MBA Renewable Energy Emphasis

Students enrolled in the on-campus MBA program may add an emphasis in renewable energy to their program by completing three of the following ENGR courses. By taking a fourth ENGR course, MBA students satisfy the requirements for both the renewable energy emphasis and certificate.

Semester dates for ENGR courses

  • Fall: Aug. 23 - Dec. 15
  • Spring: Jan. 18 - May 11
  • Summer: May 17- Aug. 12

Course Schedule

Please note that eight of the following courses also have an 400-level undergraduate section. Junior and senior students are eligible to take these courses for elective credit.

Please please contact program director Victor Vasquez to request PDF copies of course syllabi.

GREC Classes By Semester
Courses Summer Fall Spring
ENGR 400/600 Alternative Energy Fundamentals X X X
ENGR 410/610 Renewable Energy Policy X
ENGR 420/620 Renewable Energy in the Community & Home X
ENGR 430/630 Wind Energy X
ENGR 440/640 Principles of Sustainability for Business Applications X
ENGR 450/650 Solar Energy: Fundamentals, Processes, and Applications X
ENGR 460/660 Fundamentals of Biofuels X
ENGR 470/670 Geologic Fundamentals of Geothermal Energy X
ENGR 680/ JOUR 680 Communicating Innovation X

Textbooks and Required Materials

Required textbooks and corresponding ISBN numbers are listed at the Nevada Wolf Shop. Textbooks may be purchased from the Wolf Shop or an off-campus vendor.

Course exams are administered online via an online university proctoring service and specific hardware is required (i.e., a webcam, microphone, speakers).


William Patrick Arnott, Ph.D.

Dr. Arnott holds a B.S. in physics from the University of Southern Colorado, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in physics from Washington State University. His current research involves development and use of novel instruments for particulate air pollution measurements in the atmosphere, and he holds two patents associated with various instrument designs. These patents have been licensed by Droplet Measurement Technology.

Dr Arnott has 23 years of experience teaching physics and atmospheric science courses at both the undergraduate and graduate level, and he is currently the director of the undergraduate Atmospheric Science Program at the University. He is also a member of the graduate faculty in both physics and atmospheric science.

Dr. Arnott's postdoctoral research involved numerical simulation and experiments for novel thermoacoustic refrigerators that use simple climate-benign gases like Helium and Helium/Xenon mixtures. These gases do not destroy the ozone layer or contribute to global warming as do common refrigerants like chlorofluorocarbons.

David R. Boden, Ph.D.

Dave Boden is currently Professor of Geoscience at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, Nevada. Since 2007, he has taught a course on the geology of geothermal resources as part of the college's certificate and applied associate of science degree programs in renewable energy (geothermal emphasis). Prior to coming to Truckee Meadows Community College in 2004, Dr. Boden worked in the minerals industry for about 20 years looking for base and precious metal deposits-the fossil analogs of today's geothermal systems.

Dr. Boden has earned degrees in geology and geological engineering from UC Davis, Colorado School of Mines, and Stanford University and is currently involved in writing an introductory textbook on the geology of geothermal resources. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking and skiing to backcountry hot springs with family and friends.

Mariana Eneva, Ph.D.

Dr. Eneva has been a CEO of Imageair Inc. since 2004. She has received funding from the California Energy Commission (CEC), NASA, Department of Energy, and U.S. Geological Survey. Her experience is in the fields of geothermal energy, geophysics, remote sensing, earthquake seismology, and hydroacoustics. Recent projects have featured InSAR (interferometric synthetic aperture radar) applied to satellite radar data and TIR (thermal infrared) satellite imagery collected over geothermal areas of California.   

Dr. Eneva has also worked as a Sr. Staff Scientist (1998-2003) at Science Applications International Corporation, where she was involved in the seismic and hydroacoustic verification of the CTBT (Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty). Her international experience includes working as a Research Seismologist in Canada, South Africa, and her native Bulgaria. She has a M.Sc. from the Physics Department of Sofia University and a Ph.D. from the Geophysical Institute of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (Sofia, Bulgaria), both in Physics, with specialization in Geophysics. Since 2015 Dr. Eneva has also engaged in projects benefiting low-income community members, particularly American Indians. The Alliance for Victims' Rights (AVR) in northern Nevada has awarded her with the 2017 Helping Hands/Phenomenal Community Member Award.

Todd Felts, Ph.D.

Todd Felts began as an assistant professor of strategic communications in 2008 after 20 years working in strategic communications at organizations along the East coast, including serving as speechwriter and press secretary for Gov. Jim Hunt of North Carolina.

At Nevada, Felts received the Honors Program Distinguished Faculty Award and the Semenza Christian Award for Excellence in Teaching. He also spent three years serving as the director of the graduate program in interactive journalism. Through grants through the U.S. Department of State, he has been involved in several international visitor programs to Nevada, including serving as the academic director for the Algerian Youth Leadership Program since 2009. In 2010, he was the co-recipient of a National Science Foundation Grant to create a community engagement campaign to increase the number of students who major in science.

Felts earned a doctorate in education management from Drexel University, a master of arts in international communications from Georgetown University, and a bachelor's in broadcast journalism and political science from Lenoir-Rhyne University. Felts is a fellow in the Scripps-Howard Leadership Academy, and earned a graduate certificate in education entrepreneurship at the University of Pennsylvania.

Derek Kauneckis, Ph.D.

Derek Kauneckis is an associate professor at Ohio University's Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, where he teaches in the Environmental Studies program, and affiliated associate research professor at the Desert Research Institute, Division of Earth & Ecosystem Sciences. He received a Ph.D. in Public Policy from Indiana University at Bloomington.

Dr. Kauneckis' research focuses on governance and institutional design as applied to environmental and science/technology policy. His current work focuses on climate change adaptation and local governance, the resilience of socio-ecological systems, and policy innovation and the science/policy interface. He is the co-author of "Evaluating transferable development rights at Lake Tahoe and Tahoe Regional Planning Agency: The evolution of collaboration."  Dr. Kauneckis has received teaching and mentoring awards from Indiana University and the University of Nevada. His work has been supported by the Fulbright Scholar Program; the National Science Foundation (NSF); the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL); and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Anthony (Tony) Maragakis

Tony Maragakis is currently a project management expert delivering mega projects internationally. He has worked on projects in four different continents and has managed a project portfolio greater than $2B for the last five years. In addition to being a project management expert, Tony has a specialization in sustainable systems.  He was the Greek representative for the European Network of Resilient Cities and was successful in gaining the first EU FP7 funded programs in Cyprus for sustainable research.

Tony received his BS in Civil Engineering and BA in Economics from the University of Nevada, Reno, his MSc in International Construction Management for the University of Bath in the UK and is currently finishing his PhD in Architecture and the Built Environment from TU Delft in the Netherlands.

Curtis Robbins

Curtis Robbins is a Mechanical Engineer at ADM Associates, Inc. which specializes in energy engineering consulting. He evaluates energy efficiency and renewable energy programs for utilities and other clients across North America. His main focus is on the assessment of energy impacts for Commercial and Industrial businesses. Prior to joining ADM Associates, Curtis researched and developed renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency measures at the Desert Research Institute.

Michael Moltz, M.Ed.

Mike Moltz lectures for the Graduate Renewable Energy Certificate (GREC) program within the College of Engineering and teaches at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville where he is finishing his Ph.D. in Political Science. Mike received his M.ED. and B.A. in Political Science from the University of Nevada, Reno. He was one of the first graduates of the university's undergraduate renewable energy program and is an NSF research award recipient for research into climate change and alternative energy policy. Prior to joining UNR he was an IT consultant, in which capacity he trained public service employees in the adoption of information technology solutions. His teaching and research interests concern alternative/renewable energy policy, interdisciplinary education, public personnel administration, and public budgeting.  

Guadalupe Paredes-Miranda, Ph.D.

Lupita Paredes-Miranda received her M.S. and Ph.D. in atmospheric science from the University of Nevada, Reno and a bachelor's degree in physics from the University National Autonomous of Mexico (UNAM).

She has taught Introduction to Atmospheric Meteorology at the University, and made extensive use of WebCampus for delivering portions of her course. Her research is associated with the role of atmospheric aerosol in air pollution, atmospheric radiation transfer, and cloud properties.

Ravi Subramanian, Ph.D.

Ravi Subramanian is an associate professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering. He received his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Notre Dame in 2004.

His research is the field of alternate energy with emphasis in materials. He has more than 10 years of experience in solar energy materials synthesis, characterization, and application. He mentors students in master's and Ph.D. programs and has several publications to his credit. He has also spearheaded the teaching of alternate energy courses at the University of Nevada, Reno for several year


Take a look at what students who graduate with a renewable energy certificate are saying about this unique program!

I was very pleased that EVERY instructor seems to love teaching their respective classes and the fields in which they practice. The classes were sized in a manner which allowed classmates the ability to get to know each other well through the discussion boards.

The whole program was great. To point out a single aspect would not do the program justice. It was a well thought out and prepared program. The classes and instructors were amazing. There is nothing I would change and will not hesitate advocating for this program.

As a professional working in the utility industry, I was able to take graduate level courses that were related to my experiences. Each course's material was up to date and I was glad to see that none of it was outdated. I was impressed with the knowledge and the professionalism of the professors teaching the class. The courses' content was perfect and applicable to what is going on in private industry.

The instructors clearly take a lot of pride is creating their online lectures. They were clear, concise, and included videos. This type of format helped me understand the lessons even though much of the content was completely new and outside my past areas of studies -- a lot of fun too.

I have had a great time with the program and learned so much!  I highly recommend the curriculum; it was a positive outlet for me during deployment.  I wish that more of my Nevada Soldiers would have taken advantage of this opportunity during deployment, but I plan on spreading the word about this awesome program!

I have really enjoyed this program and have learned so much about renewable energy that I feel confident in taking these new skills and knowledge with me in my career.  Surprisingly for an online setting, the courses are still very "hands-on" and I think I learned more this way than I would have in a traditional lecture setting.

The program is a great resource for any professional. As renewable energy becomes a greater part of our life personally and professionally, understanding the impacts of how the energy is generated and the creation of policies dictating its use are invaluable.

The thing I really appreciated about the GREC courses was the focus on creating meaningful deliverables similar to what is required in the real-world renewable energy industry. Through the program, I had to create a full renewable energy based business plan, a residential renewable energy proposal, and a strategic communications plan for a new renewable energy business. I have been able to apply the knowledge I gained in the GREC program towards my career and feel much more prepared to enter the renewable energy industry than when I started.

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