UMass Amherst Wind Energy Center Offers Nation’s First Certificate Program, plus Online Learning

September 9, 2011

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AMHERST, Mass. - This month the Wind Energy Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, one of the most respected academic wind energy programs in the world, is launching the first wind energy graduate certificate program in the nation for students and professionals interested in learning skills in this "green energy" field.

The 15-credit, five-course certificate program is designed for recent graduates of undergraduate engineering programs who wish to pursue a career in the wind energy industry, for professionals already in the field who seek additional education and certifications and professionals in other industries who want to switch to the wind energy sector. Students have the flexibility to specialize in certain aspects of wind energy that are of particular interest in this one-of-a-kind opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge.

The certificate requires students to complete three core courses through the UMass Amherst mechanical and industrial engineering department plus two electives. Prerequisites include college-level calculus, physics and fluid dynamics.

The WEC will offer one of the courses online this fall. "Engineering Wind Power Systems" begins on Sept. 19 and will cover such topics as aerodynamic analysis, mechanical design, support structure design, electrical aspects of wind turbines, controls, environmental issues and economic considerations of wind energy. It is available as a three-credit graduate course or as a non-credit class for professionals.

It draws on the experiences of James Manwell and Jon McGowan, UMass Amherst professors, co-directors of the WEC and authors of the authoritative textbook, "Wind Energy Explained: Theory, Design and Application." Manwell says, "The UMass program has been at the forefront of wind energy technical education since the 1970s. Our textbook is the most popular in the world in this subject area and we’re very pleased to be able to offer this great educational experience to those beyond our campus."

The UMass Amherst WEC, founded in 1972, is the oldest and most widely known academic wind energy program in the U.S. Its faculty are leaders in wind energy research and education. The program boasts over 200 graduates, many of whom now hold senior level positions in industry and national research centers.

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