5 Universities to Check Out if You Want to Build a More Sustainable World

If you are anything like us, you are passionate about making the world a better place. Whether you want to work on photovoltaics or waste reduction systems, we know you want to ensure you are getting the education you need.

If you are in high school faced with the daunting task of applying to colleges and universities, you might be overwhelmed with options.


That is why we created this list to showcase some of the best schools out there making waves in sustainability. If you want to make the world a better place through your engineering or science chops, you should not miss this list!

Oregon Institute of Technology

Sustainable Village Night at Oregon Tech

Oregon Tech, as it is commonly referred to, introduced the first 4 year undergraduate program in Renewable Energy Engineering in 2005 to focus on power generation, energy systems design and energy conversion applications. They have since added a Master’s degree program, as well as concurrent degree programs  with electrical engineering and environmental science. Their detailed climate action plan and sustainability planlays out their objectives, one of which is to be a Carbon Neutral campus by 2050. Oregon Tech’s dedicated Renewable Energy Center focuses on developing clean energy technologies and works with local and statewide partners to incorporate them.

North Carolina State University

NC State’s green campus

The hallmark of NC State’s sustainability initiative is its Clean Energy Technology Center. Established in 1988, the center has an award-winning continuing education program called the Renewable Energy Technologies Diploma Series. Students need to complete three out of seven week-long, 40-hour workshops for the diploma, with workshops covering  a broad set of topics such as the Certificate in Renewable Energy Management, Fundamentals of Solar Thermal Systems Design and Installation, and Advanced Design and Installation of Photovoltaic Systems.


University of Massachusetts Lowell

The McGauvran Center at UMass Lowell is LEED certified

As one of the large public research universities, UMass Lowell has a broad gamut of programs for sustainability. The Department of Mechanical Engineering offers the PhD track for Renewable Energy Engineering, which was initiated twenty-five years ago to focus on solar energy and now also studies green combustion, fuel cells, and wind turbines. There is also a Master’s Degree program in Energy Engineering with thesis, course and project tracks; a Graduate Certificate in Renewable Engineering and Wind Energy Engineering, and an Energy Engineering Minor for undergraduates.


Colorado State University

Extensive rows of solar panels being laid out at CSU

Nestled at the base of the Rocky Mountains along the western edge of the Great Plains, Colorado State University is one of the most sustainable centers of higher learning in the US, and was the first institute in the world to achieve the Platinum STARS rating. It has a strong focus on sustainability, which is addressed in academic programs at all eight of its colleges, such as in engineering, natural resources, forestry, public policy, environmental ethics, atmospheric science, soil and crop sciences, and many more. A first-of-its-kind Master of Greenhouse Gas Management and Accounting program was introduced in 2014.


University of Connecticut

A reclaimed water facility at the UConn campus

The Office of Environmental Policy at UConn coordinates the numerous initiatives that this institute takes, some of which are the Give & Go Move Out CampaignGreen Game Day, and Green Campus Tours. UConn also offers a 12-credit online graduate certificate in Sustainable Environmental Planning and Management designed particularly for professionals and college graduates looking to enter the field.

Shushman Choudhury is the Content Coordinator for ESW’s Leadership Team. Outside of ESW, he is a PhD student in Computer Science at Stanford University. His research focuses on coordinating autonomous vehicles for energy-efficient routing under uncertainty.