Certificate of Advanced Studies

CAS – Solar Thermal Energy Technology

In scientific cooperation with

CAS – Solar Thermal Energy Technology

This Certificate provides a comprehensive overview on solar thermal systems and their main components.

Learning goals:

Target group

This Certificate is an ideal choice for you if you are a working professional with:

In addition, the following skills are particularly helpful to make your study experience a success:

Fact Sheet

Mid October
6 Months
Accredited Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS)
Fully online
Programme Fee
€ 3,750
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Learn from Germany’s leading experts in solar energy

The Certificate “CAS – Solar Thermal Energy Technology” provides a broad overview on solar thermal systems and their main components. Starting with basic issues of physical processes and design options for non-concentrating and concentrating solar thermal collectors, it then addresses these technologies from a systems engineering perspective.

The complex systems for different applications, such as solar water heating to process heat for industry and solar thermal power production will be described.

The Certificate, spanning over 6 months, consists of three consecutive courses with the same lecturer. This track is designed for those who are interested in solar energy and its applications. The certificate is divided into three parts. The first two parts focus on solar thermal energy, providing in-depth knowledge of solar thermal systems and their main components. Fundamental physics, materials, and designs of concentrating and non-concentrating solar thermal collectors are explained in the first part of this elective module. The second part focuses on the system engineering and application of solar thermal energy in buildings, industry, and power plants. In the third part, hybrid solar systems comprising of photovoltaic, solar thermal and or wind energy and specific solar energy applications in agriculture, water purification, refrigeration, and air conditioning are discussed.

3101: Fundamentals of Solar Thermal Collectors (6 ECTS)
Starting point will be the basic physical principles behind this technology. All types of solar collectors will be discussed while particular attention to Linear Fresnel collectors and solar tower heliostat fields will be paid.

3102: Solar Thermal Systems Engineering (6 ECTS)
An important topic in the second course is the energy efficiency and the integration of solar thermal heat in industrial processes. Further, the hybridization of concentrated solar power and photovoltaic, or the impacts of different high-temperature storage options will be addressed.

3103: Solar Energy Applications (3 ECTS)
In the third course, the hybrid solar systems comprising of photovoltaic, solar thermal and or wind energy and specific solar energy applications in agriculture, water purification, refrigeration, and air conditioning are discussed.

Lecturer: Hon.-Prof. Dr. Werner Platzer
Director of the Division “Solar Thermal and Optics” at Fraunhofer ISE

ONLINE PHASE (22 weeks)









>    EXAMS




Study Format:

  • E-learning and online video lectures accompanied by readings, exercises and online meetings with tutors and lecturers
  • Two written exams (75 minutes each) in a study center close to your location
  • Join our voluntary Campus Phase week in Freiburg, Germany

You are closely monitored and supported by tutors and lecturers throughout your entire certificate studies. Various teaching styles and formats allow you to engage with the topic in numerous compelling ways.

Short 20-minute e-lectures combined with a great collection of reading materials provide you the latest theoretical understanding of each topic. Our lecturers have carefully selected the most relevant publications for you. References -  incorporated into the videos - point you to the most relevant sections in the reading material.

Your growing expertise is put into practice through exercise sheets. Regular online meetings and lively forum discussions with fellow students, tutors and lecturers will round off your learning experience.


Participants have the option to select a single course from the range of courses available within this certificate program or from the entire master's program curriculum.

Accredited Certificate Program:

A Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) is a subject-specific advanced training program which is compliant with the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). With a scope of 10 ECTS each, our Certificates correspond to an average study-workload of 250 hours - considering that 1 ECTS is equivalent to 25 hours.

These standards secure the high quality of CAS programs, as well as their comparability and recognition across educational institutions that offer academic continuing education for working professionals.

Thus, it is possible to combine CAS programs from the same or different institutions in Germany and Switzerland to a more extensive degree in modular fashion.

asked questions

Are there any extra costs for the on-campus events?

No, not except for your own travel, accommodation, and personal costs. During the Campus Phase week, students come to Freiburg to meet instructors and fellow students and to get a hands-on experience at our facilities.

Two times during the program, participation is mandatory since you will be attending the SEE Lab Workshops exclusive to the SEE students. So, you just need to consider the expenses for travel, accommodation and personal costs.

Are there scholarships or financial support?

Unfortunately, at the moment, we do not offer any scholarships. So if you need extra help to finance your studies, we encourage you to begin your search for scholarships as early as possible. The international office of the university in your homeland, as well as the German embassy or consulate(s), may have information on scholarships for students who are specifically from your country or in your field of study.

Applicants can check the following links for third party scholarship opportunities:


The DAAD is an important German institution created for academic exchange. They provide a lot of information on their website about everything related to studying in Germany. They also have a database about scholarships; you can find information on various kinds of DAAD funding for international students, graduates, and postdocs, as well as on funding offered by other selected organizations here. They also host www.study-in.de, which is a website for international students in Germany.


The page offers a lot of information about scholarship possibilities. But it is only available in German.


The Student Service Center of the University of Freiburg offers advice about scholarships. You can find the page here.

Unique possibilities:

In some cases, employees may finance a part of the education costs. If you need an official letter for applying for funding from your company, just let us know – we are happy to provide one.

If there is a public organization, either governmental or non-governmental, in your country which might be a potential sponsor – we also can provide you with a letter and try to support your case. But you need to initiate the contact!

Can I pay the tuition fee in instalments?

Partially, yes. The smallest instalments are semesterly payments; this is due to the University’s regulations. So, you don't have to pay for the whole program in advance.

Payments are to be made before each semester at rates of 4000 to 3500€ for Full and Expert tracks. The master’s thesis semester is 2.000 € regardless of the study track.

An additional matriculation fee (currently 161 €) applies for each semester for both Maters and Certificates; the matriculation fee is subject to change according to the Baden-Württemberg state law. For additional semesters exceeding the official study duration, a fee of 500€ per semester will be charged.

Tuition fee payments must be made on time to maintain the student status.

How can I apply for Certificate Programs?

The application process for the Certificate Program has three steps:

Step 1: Complete the application form.

To apply, please send the following documents by e-mail to application@studysolar.uni-freiburg.de

• Application form (must be filled out on a computer and signed with applicant’s original signature.) Download the application form here

• Up-to-date CV in English

• Diplomas and degrees (in English or German - translated by a sworn translator)

• Transcript of records showing attended courses and grades (in English or German - translated by a sworn translator)

Submit all your documents by April 1st (for the April intake) or October 1st (for the October intake).

Step 2: Complete payment

After submitting your documents, you will receive information on how to enrol and pay the fees.

Step 3: Start your journey!

That simple.

Is this program only online? What is the format of the program?

We are purely an online program consisting of asynchronous courses, virtual meetings and more; we do not host any in-presence courses.

The M.Sc. and Certificates programs in Solar Energy Engineering (SEE) are designed to be studied simultaneously parallel to a full-time job, in the student’s desired location, anywhere with a sufficient internet connection. We believe in bringing the latest Solar Energy Engineering knowledge to all corners of the globe as we believe in a global energy transition for a better future.

However, students are required to join the on-campus week at least two times during their studies. Students can freely choose the semester they join. For details, see the question “Is it compulsory to come to Freiburg for the on-campus events?”

What are the Certificates?

Certificates enable you to specialize on a particular topic in solar energy to consolidate your expertise and enhance your career opportunities without disrupting work or private life. With an accredited Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS), you earn a joint degree from two prestigious institutions: The University of Freiburg and the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE.

Each subject-specific certificate provides you with a flexible opportunity to fortify your knowledge within a short period, simultaneous to your job. CAS consists of 6 different accredited certificates with a study duration of 6 months (or 12 months) and a scope of 10 ECTS each. Discover our part-time and online study offers that are tailor-made for professionals like you! You can find the certificate programs here.

What are the admission requirements for the Certificate Programs?

The admission requirements for the Certificate Programs are:

1. Eagerness to study with some of the most experienced solar energy instructors and leaders of the world.

2. English proficiency on an academic level (equals to minimum B2).

What are the benefits of the SEE programs?

Whether you choose the M.Sc. or the Certificate programs, you are in for an exciting journey! Solar energy has been declared the “king of energy” and has a promising future. We are at the beginning of a critical decade; the decade of the energy transition, which will play a crucial part in the future of our planet. By studying with us, you can be a part of this transition and be at the heart of both academy and industry. You can be the change and bring the change, whether in your community or on a global level! Some specific benefits of our programs are:

• Accredited according to German universities' standards. Your degree or certification will be acknowledged in Germany as well as internationally.

• Our scientific cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems allows students to access the world’s leading research facilities in solar energy for hands-on experience.

• During the program, students will be guided by renowned academic instructors. Our instructors are international experts and scientists who are dedicated to our students’ development.

• The online learning environment gives the freedom to study wherever and whenever students want. Students will be able to learn online, at their pace, without disrupting their professional or private life.

• Students will receive comprehensive, interdisciplinary, technical, and scientific training in the solar energy field. They will acquire subject-relevant skills, from developing and designing photovoltaic and solar thermal systems to the assembly of complex plants, power stations, and energy networks.

• Tutors will closely support students in small and individual groups throughout their studies.

• Students will become a part of our international solar community with students and alumni from all over the world.

What are the fees?

M.Sc. in SEE

The fee for the Full Track is 25.000 € (7 semesters). For the Expert Track, the costs are 18.000 € (4-5 semesters). The type of track you can follow depends on your previous background and whether you have relevant knowledge of any of our Fundamental Modules (see the admission requirements for the required background and the Module Handbook for the Fundamental Modules).

Payments are to be made before each new semester (in August and in February) at rates of 4000 to 3500 € for respective tracks. The master’s thesis semester is 2.000 € for both tracks. An additional matriculation fee (currently 161 €) applies for each semester; the matriculation fee is subject to change according to the Baden-Württemberg state law. For additional semesters that exceed the official study time, a fee of 500€ per semester will be charged.

M.Sc. fees per semester


The cost of each Certificate Program ranges from 2750 € to 3750 €.. This changes according to ECTS credits which range from 11 ECTS to 15 ECTS credits. All certificates last one semester, except for the Solar Thermal Energy Technology which lasts two semesters; it's fees are 3,750 € in total.

What do I need to prove my English proficiency?

Due to the admission regulations, students may only be admitted if they have the English language certificate of at least level B2 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. English certificates must be handed in as officially notarized copies. Online versions - like, for example, the TOEFL “Test taker report” will not be accepted. Please carefully read the official requirements of the University for English language certificates here.


- Students from a country with English as an official language;

- Students holding a German or Luxembourgish “Abitur” with at least 7 Years of English;

- Students holding a previous degree (BSc) which was taught entirely in English (must be mentioned in the official transcript).

What does an official certification look like?

An official certification can be provided by any public body or government agency with an official seal or stamp (Dienstsiegel). Examples are registration offices (Bürgerbüros) or the local registration offices of the State Residents’ Registration Office (Einwohnermeldeamt), as well as embassies, consulates and sworn translators if foreign academic records are to be certified. German notaries are also authorized to perform certifications. The institution (school, higher education institution) that originally issued the record in question can also certify a copy of that record.

Certifications issued by attorneys, certified auditors, associations, health insurance companies, and DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) or from AStA (Allgemeiner Studierenden Ausschuss) are not recognized.

Every official certification must include at least:

1. Certification notice (this is a notice stating that the copy is as per the original);

2. Signature of the party certifying the document;

3. Official seal or stamp. (An official seal or stamp generally includes an emblem. A simple inked text stamp is not sufficient).

If the copy consists of several pages, proof must be provided showing that each page comes from the same document. It is sufficient if only one page bears the certification notice and signature if all pages are stacked up, stapled together, and stamped or sealed in such a way that a part of the official seal or stamp appears on each page (see below at the upper left-hand corner of the sample).

A sample certification
What if I do not have an engineering background?

For M.Sc. in SEE, the knowledge of an engineering bachelor’s graduate is assumed and required in most lectures. Our experience over the previous years showed that it is better to have this knowledge for students, so that they don't feel overwhelmed with additionally having to learn the fundamental engineering topics.

For students without a strong engineering background, we recommend checking out the certificate programs, especially: 'Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics' and 'Solar Thermal Energy Technology'. These programs still have a bit of Physics, Mathematics and Engineering content, but could be handled by students without deep knowledge in those areas. The description of these programs can be found here.

What is the language of this program? Do I need to know German?

The courses are taught only in English. Participants may choose to write their master’s thesis in German or French after the University committee’s approval. Please carefully read the official requirements of the University for the English language certificate here.

When do I obtain my Uni-Account?

Once the Student Service Center finalizes your enrolment, you will receive a system-generated email from the University IT department (RZ= Rechenzentrum) with your personal Uni-Account and a single-use password with a link to „myAccount“.

Please change your password on this platform and inform our IT support Daniel Sassiat (daniel.sassiat@rz.uni-freiburg.de) about this. He will then modify your Uni-Account as the last step. Afterwards, the account is fully usable (including VPN).