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Sustainable Energy Management Bachelor of Science



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The development, management, and responsible use of sustainable energy resources is a critical national and global issue. The Sustainable Energy Management (SEM) degree program combines management skills with an understanding of responsible energy resources use and the development of sustainable sources of energy (e.g., wind, solar, biomass, hydro, geothermal). The program provides students with an understanding of production and conversion of different forms of energy (e.g., fossil fuels, sustainable resources), their current and future supplies, and the markets and policy mechanisms that regulate their supply. Students learn tools to conduct analyses of the financial and environmental impacts of different sources of energy.

Prospective Students' Interests:

SEM students typically have a strong interest in energy use and associated impacts on our natural resources and environments. Prospective students are usually interested in exploring sustainable uses of energy and resources and want to develop the professional knowledge and skills needed to conserve and manage energy resources and the environment. SEM provides a variety of opportunities through sustainable and renewable energy demonstration projects, research in energy topics, experiential field learning, and analysis of ESF's energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.


The first two years of the SEM program develops professional skills (e.g., written and verbal communication, quantitative and qualitative problem-solving, and critical thinking skills) that employers tell us are the most important traits they look for in new employees. During the last two years of the program, students take courses that allow them to be well-rounded managers in the energy field (see boxes to the right). With 21 credits of Free Electives and 15 credits of Directed Electives, the program provides students entering as both first year and transfer students with the flexibility to pursue minors, internships, and other interests, and still graduate on time.

Capstone Projects:

SEM students integrate the skills and knowledge accumulated from professional and supporting coursework in their senior year capstone experience. Students analyze different options to address an energy related issue and develop recommendations based on that analysis. The results of this work are presented orally and in a written report to demonstrate their abilities as future energy resource managers. Recent capstone project topics have assessed both on-campus and off-campus energy issues:

  • Converting the ESF vehicle fleet to either E85 fuel or electric vehicles
  • Examining alternative energy systems (e.g., solar PV, wood chip CHP, natural gas CHP) for a hotel
  • Developing a renewable energy based microgrid (solar PV or anaerobic digestion) for an industrial campus in Pennsylvania
  • Analyzing the economic and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) of an award-winning "Solar Decathlon" Syracuse Energy Efficient Design of a mixed-use multi-family building in Syracuse, NY
  • Converting home heating systems from high-efficiency natural gas to ground source or air source heat pumps
  • Converting ESF's Ranger School Main Building from heating oil to wood chips, solar thermal, or bio-oil
  • Assessing lighting options for ESF’s Illick Hall (e.g., rooms/fixtures can be delamped, converted to LEDs, or have occupancy sensors added)
  • Assessing the GHG emissions and cost of three different building materials (southern yellow pine, hempcrete, and adobe) for tiny homes with the local nonprofit "A Tiny Home for Good"


The SEM curriculum was designed with enough flexibility so that students can focus on specific interests and supplement their employment credentials with a minor. For example, ESF's Economics minor requires students to take only one additional course to secure the minor and ESF's Management minor requires only two additional courses. SEM students also regularly supplement their degrees with the Sustainable Construction Management minor, which requires four additional courses. The ease with which SEM students can secure a minor is demonstrated by the fact that more than two-thirds of students graduate with at least one minor and more than 20% graduate with three minors.

Internship and Undergraduate Research Experiences:

SEM students have recently completed both paid summer and fall/spring semester-based internships with Biomass Power Association, NY Bioenergy Association, Huron Real Estate, National Grid, US National Renewable Energy Laboratory, NY Independent System Operator, NYS Energy Research Development Agency (NYSERDA), ReEnergy, Syracuse University Sustainability Office, TRC Companies, Inc. Other students have participated in Undergraduate Research Experiences in Arizona and Delaware.

Study Abroad Experiences:

Working with the ESF Office of International Education and their academic advisors, who are the professors named above, SEM students have recently studied abroad in Australia, Belize, Costa Rica, Denmark, Iceland, Ireland, Germany, New Zealand, and Spain.


The SEM program develops professional skills that employers look for in new employees: (1) proficiency in written and oral communication, (2) quantitative and qualitative problem-solving, and (3) critical thinking skills.  As the table below indicates, recent SEM graduates have a variety of entry-level jobs with a wide range of private companies, government agencies, and non-profits.  Class of 2019 SEM alumni had an average starting salary of $46,500.

Examples of positions and organizations that Sustainable Energy Management graduates have started in after graduation
Assistant Project Coordinator Energetics Energy Project Engineer
Power Management CO, LLC
Project Coordinator
OnForce Solar
Associate Account Manager CLEAResult Energy Reporting Analyst
CodeGreen Solutions
PV Designer II
Associate Market Design Specialist
NY Independent System Operator
Environmental Specialist
Triumvirate Environmental
Renewable Development Coordinator: Invenergy LLC
Campus Zero Waste Strategist
Post Landfill Action Network
Field Energy Specialist
Residential Energy Specialist CLEAResult
Commercial Solar Project Manager Halco Energy Home Energy Advisor Apprentice
Halco Energy
Rural Renewable Energy Alliance AmeriCorps Vista
Energy Advisor
SmartWatt, Inc.
Junior Analyst
Resource Energy Systems
Solar Crew Supervisor
Hudson Solar
Energy Analyst
Erda Energy
Marketing Coordinator
National Grid
Solar Consultant
Level Solar
Energy Auditor
Efficiency Matters
Adirondack Home Performance
Solar Performance Analyst
QE Solar
Energy Conservation Specialist
Project Manager
Steam Management Inc.
Solar Project Manager
NextGeneration Solar LLC
Energy Efficiency Analyst
Aldi, Inc.
Program Manager
West MI US Green Building Council
Sustainability Coordinator
Partner Energy
Energy Performance Engineer
NRG Energy
Project Specialist
Lockheed Martin
Utility & Sustainability Specialist
San Mateo Community College

Contact Information:

If you have questions about ESF’s SEM degree, Dr. Robert Malmsheimer (rwmalmsh@esf.edu, 315-470-6909) would be happy to assist you.

for more information on sem courses, please contact Dr. Robert Malmsheimer (rwmalmsh@esf.edu, 315-470-6909)

Learn More


Students interested in more information are encouraged to review the SRM Undergraduate Student Handbook and the Handbook for Effective, Professional Communication (PDF).

Contact Us

Robert Malmsheimer
Professor and Sustainable Energy Management Coordinator
305 Bray Hall
One Forestry Drive
Syracuse, NY 13210-2788
(315) 470-6909