CSU/NREL Joint Graduate Degree Program

Courses and Electives

This program is presented as specializations of the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Systems Engineering. For each of these degree programs, the students will take:

1) an introductory SERES-specific cohort course;

2) the core courses that are required for their departmental degree program;

3) a subset of the technical electives available in the two categories below; and

4) research thesis/dissertation units.

Typical Masters students participating in the SERES Joint Graduate Degree Program will take 4 core Engineering graduate courses from their home department, and 3 courses from the list below.

Typical Doctoral students participating in the SERES Joint Graduate Degree Program will take 3 core Engineering graduate courses from their home department, and 3 courses from the lists of electives below.

SERES-Specific Cohort Elective:

This course seeks to educate incoming students about the sustainability, economic, and social transitions that are underway in the energy sector. This course will be taught by a cohort of NREL staff, CSU faculty, and world-class leaders in the Utility, Energy, and Policy domains.

SERES Technical Electives:

Cybersecurity principles, practices, technologies, design approaches, and terminology. Incorporation of cybersecurity principles into effective systems designs. This course is directed to System Engineers and other technical personnel with a need to understand cybersecurity in order to integrate it into a balanced system design. 3 Modules of this course are taught by NREL staff.

Theoretical and practical applications of secure communications in automotive and industrial systems. Theoretical topics include cybersecurity, message confidentiality, data integrity, message framing, latency, jitter, and communication system availability. Practical applications include protocol analysis and cybersecurity assessments for Ethernet, Controller Area Networks (CAN bus), J1939, LIN, ModBus and other unified diagnostic services (UDS). Detailed descriptions of the lower layers will be provided, including: (i) physical connections, (ii) bit encoding, (iii) message forwarding (iv) media access control and (v) error detection. Practical issues related to cybersecurity controls used in actual systems will be covered.

In this course students develop an understanding of, and appreciation for, the evolution taking place in today’s energy industry with respect to automation, Big Data analytics, digital operations, and the Internet of Things (IoT). In many circles, Big Data, analytics, and IOT are viewed as disruptive technologies; hence the course pushes students to approach energy business from a much broader data- and evidence-driven perspective that can radically alter operational efficiency and corporate performance. This course is taught by NREL/CSU Joint Appointee.

Study of analytical tools used for qualitative and quantitative risk assessment and decision making in energy systems development and deployment. Encompasses various aspects of energy systems, including cybersecurity, economics, asset management, and resource integration. Topics may include Monte Carlo simulation, probabilistic decision trees, linear programming, linear regression, conventional forecasting tools, and an introduction to advanced data analytics, along with a focus on cognitive issues in decision making, risk identification strategies, qualitative risk ranking matrices, and related ideas. This course is taught by NREL/CSU Joint Appointee.

Hybrid Energy & Energy Storage System Electives:

This course will consist of 3 five-week modules. Each module will introduce and analyze one technology for electrochemical energy storage. For the first half of each module, we will provide a detailed introduction to the technology from an electrochemical, thermal, and materials perspective. For the second half of each module, we will provide a systems-level introduction to relevant applications, sustainability impacts, powerplant design, and application level optimization. This course is taught by NREL/CSU Joint Appointee.

This course introduces the knowledge-base, toolkit, and examples that allows for the development of cyber-physical systems through real time simulation, model-based software design, and systems engineering. Applications in this course include both grid/energy systems, vehicle and battery system control, and aviation applications. This course is taught by NREL/CSU Joint Appointee.

This graduate-level course is designed to provide a review of computational and computer tools used in electric power engineering for the purpose of understanding and computing the power flows in the electricity grid. The emphasis of the course is on topics related to power ow algorithms, fault studies, and system planning and design. A popular commercial software package will be used in the course. This course is taught by NREL/CSU Joint Appointee.

Electricity grids are transforming to include more renewable generation sources due to increased need for energy independence and cleaner electricity production. This course is aimed at learning the underlying concepts of grid integration of energy conversion systems via solid theoretical and mathematical bases for wind/PV/storage/thermal energy conversion machines, operation characteristics, interfacing power electronics and controls. This course is taught by NREL/CSU Joint Appointee.

Research Thesis/Dissertation Activities

Both Masters and Doctoral students will be required to perform research activities under a research thesis/dissertation variable credit course, SYSE 699 for MS students, SYSE 799 for PhD students. These courses will be advised by both an NREL member of the technical staff (appointed to CSU via the affiliate appointment process), and CSU faculty affiliated with the Departments of the College of Engineering.

These research units will involve performing research in support of NREL research activities, or on DOE-funded or DOE-affiliated research at Colorado State University. Students performing these research activities can be located either on campus at NREL or on campus at Colorado State University’s Energy Institute. These students will receive stipend and tuition payments from these projects, managed by CSU.