Distance-Learning Master's Degree

MSc Solar Energy Engineering

In scientific cooperation with

In scientific cooperation with

MSc Solar Energy Engineering

Join our multinational solar community where world-renowned research advances and combines with your studies. Continue studying. Be inquisitive. And get ready to BE THE CHANGE.

Study without borders

Fully taught in English and online, this duly accredited German Master of Science programme caters to professionals, who want to study online at their own pace without disrupting work or family life. Whether you are looking for a new career or already have a busy professional schedule; our master programme shapes around you. We offer a part-time, flexible and online learning environment which gives you the freedom to study wherever and whenever you want. Examinations do not require travelling abroad since they are also done online with tailored procedures.

Collaboration in excellence

The University of Freiburg partners with one of the world’s top research institutes in solar energy - Fraunhofer ISE - to provide innovative, insightful and tailored training, so you can be assured that our MSc in Solar Energy Engineering will broaden your knowledge, widen your skill set and greatly improve your future career prospects.

Fact Sheet

Start
Mid October
Format
‍‍
Online | Part-time
Language
English
Degree
Duly accredited German Master of Science Degree
Credits (ECTS)
Full Track: 120
Expert Track: 90
Duration
Full Track: 7 Sem.
Expert Track: 5 Sem.
Programme Fee
Full Track: € 25,000*
Expert Track:€18,000*
* plus matriculation fees
Download Handbook

Qualification goals and expertise to be achieved

The program provides subject-relevant skills ranging from:

  • understanding the physical principles of solar cells, solar modules, and solar thermal collectors to
  • developing and designing photovoltaic and solar thermal systems, assembling complex plants, power stations, energy networks, and more.

Students can specialise in one or more topics in solar energy, such as:

  • Solar cell technologies
  • Photovoltaic systems and power plants
  • Solar thermal energy
  • Grid integration
  • Electricity networks

After successful completion of the program and depending on their specialisation, students will be competent to:

  • Achieve a qualitative and global understanding of today's and tomorrow's energy needs.
  • Understand the physic of solar cells, integration of renewable energies into the power grid, and the fundamentals of storage applications.
  • Develop and design solar cells, photovoltaic modules, off-grid and grid-connected photovoltaic systems, solar thermal collectors, and heat storages,
  • Optimise and analyse photovoltaic systems, components, and photovoltaic power plants by taking innovation, efficiency, cost, and durability into account.
  • Evaluate new and emerging solar cell and solar collector technologies.
  • Apply the standards of scientific writing and presentation.
  • Create their scientific work in the form of a master's thesis.
  • Collaborate, engage, exchange and move confidently in an international digital environment.

Career opportunities with gained skills

A career in solar energy could take you to work outdoors on land or at sea, in an office or a laboratory. Besides, many roles provide travel opportunities and work in international environments.

As part of the clean energy economy, Solar Energy Engineers can design large-scale photovoltaic or solar thermal systems; after the design phase, they evaluate effectiveness, cost, reliability, and safety. They can work to integrate solar energy into the power grid safely, effectively, and efficiently. They can also provide technical direction or support to field teams during installation, start-up, testing, system commissioning. They can monitor performance and recommend necessary changes to achieve solar energy objectives. Another possible path for graduates of this master’s program is to engage in the research and development departments in the industry or the academics. Our Masters degree qualifies to enter a PhD program in Europe and beyond.

Many of our SEE students and alumni actively work as engineers and managers in the global solar energy industry. Graduates can start their own solar business or stay in academia to pursue a PhD. Whichever path they choose, they are sure to become essential agents in the ever-growing, international renewable energy arena. Some potential employers including, but not limited to, are equipment manufacturers, consulting companies, energy utility companies, government and non-government organisations, research and development departments.

A short profile of the degree

Ten years of experience in online learning strategies and its applications enable us to offer an exceptional blended learning program that will suits diverse needs and interests.

This master program is divided in to four modules and a master's thesis. Each module consist out of one or several different courses.

    Fundamental Modules
Fundamental Modules contain basic knowledge about solar energy (photovoltaic, thermal, and energy systems), physics, semiconductors, and electrical engineering fields. Fundamentals provide the knowledge needed to understand and apply solar energy engineering expertise and skills in practice. Fundamental Modules are recommended for students who do not have previous essential knowledge in the field of solar energy, as well as for those who would like to review on their existing foundational understanding.

  • Mandatory Modules
Mandatory modules contain advanced knowledge in solar energy (photovoltaics and energy systems), physics, semiconductors, and electrical engineering fields. The courses in these modules are designed to teach in-depth knowledge and specialised applications of solar energy engineering. From cell to the module level, from storage to energy needs, these modules are the backbone of solar energy engineering and this master’s program, therefore they are compulsory.

  • Elective Modules
Elective module courses are attractively diverse, aiming to train graduates who specialise in real-life applications of solar energy topics. Students must choose two tracks to complete the elective modules. This electives will provide in-depth inspection and expertise in chosen topics while creating a clear path for possible research and future employment. The precise and advanced content of these courses, most of the time, lead to a master’s thesis research.

   • Research Module
In this module, students work on three research projects (RP), distributed as one for each semester. During this process, students develop their scientific writing and presentation skills and familiarise themselves with the standards and methods of scientific work. For each project, a scientific report must be written, and each student must give an oral presentation of their RP at the end of the semester.

  • Master's Thesis
The culmination of the program is the master’s thesis.The importance of thesis work is reflected by the prominent role it takes within the whole M.Sc. program. After successful completion of compulsory and elective modules, the master’s thesis offers the challenge to set up and to carry out a scientific research project with a high degree of autonomy and responsibility.

Program Structure
In the following graphic, which is designed from bottom to top, each module can be identified with a different colour. Each course entitles certain amount of credits (ECTS). Each ECTS corresponds to 25 hours of workload. The workload includes live-online meetings, recorded lectures, exercises, work with software, preparing for assignments and self-study.

Each student has to attend to two SEE-Labs, which take place at the exceptional facilities at Fraunhofer ISE. These short, hands-on laboratory workshops can be done during the on-campus weeks in Freiburg which takes place every year in mid-September. Students are free to choose the semester they attend the workshops.

This graphic shows the full track with an off-campus master’s thesis option, however, on-campus thesis options are available, which are described in detail in the Module Handbook. The master’s thesis is not necessarily connected to the semester rhythm. The thesis is individually supervised, and personal time plans will be applied.

Forms of teaching and learning

We offer a flexible and online learning environment that gives students the freedom to study wherever and whenever they want next to their family and a full-time job. The teaching components of the SEE are:  
   • Regular online meetings and tutor-led live sessions
   • Recorded video lectures
   • Engagement in discussions in online forums
   • Reading and exercise material specified for each course
   • Exercise sheets and quizzes
   • Scientific projects that are conducted with close supervision
   • Student presentations
   • Modelling and simulation tasks

Overall, in all courses, students are encouraged to participate actively and work in groups when necessary. Thus, fruitful discussions, engagement, and a productive learning environment are created. Students from all over the world can connect and network, thanks to this interactive and participation-oriented approach. Our module hand book offers detailed learning activities for each course.

ONLINE PHASE (22 weeks)


>    E-LECTURE

>    READING MATERIAL

>    EXERCISES

>    ONLINE MEETINGS

>    DISCUSSION FORUMS

>    SELF-STUDY
CAMPUS PHASE (1 week)


>    VOLUNTARY WORKSHOPS

>    SEMINAR PRESENTATIONS

>    EXAMS

>    LAB-WORKSHOPS

>    OPENINGS LECTURES

>    SOCIAL PROGRAM

Two learning paths to fit your needs

Two study routes are offered according to the prospective student's background and experience. The differences between them two are the duration and the price. The learning and teaching forms, assessment, grading, qualifications and expertise to be gained are the same for both tracks. For detailed information on the individual sections in each track please refer to our Module Handbook.

Full Track
The full track of the SEE has a total work load of 120 ECTS. It is suitable for candidates who hold a previous 3-4 year bachelor's degree with a value of 180 - 239 ECTS in STEM subjects and at least one year of professional experience.

The first year of the full track covers the essential aspects of the solar energy with the fundamental modules. Thanks to the fundamental modules, students gain substantial knowledge in introductory subjects to solar energy, which prepares them for specialised courses in the mandatory modules.




Expert Track
The expert track of the SEE has a workload of 90 ECTS and is the right choice for students who have sound prior knowledge in the solar energy field and hold a master's or a five years bachelor degree in STEM subjects such as physics, electrical engineering, or similar fields with a solid background in the physics of semiconductors.

Students who have sufficient experience and knowledge can skip the fundamental modules and directly start their first semester with the mandatory modules, which is why this track is named expert track.


Program fees

The fees for the full track are 25.000 € (6-7 semesters). For the expert track, the fees are 18.000 € (4-5 semesters). Payments have to be done before each semester at rates of 4000 € and 3500 € for respective tracks. The master's thesis semester is 2.000 € for both tracks. An additional student activity and administrative fee currently of 161 € applies for each semester; this fee is subject to change under the Contribution Regulations of the “Studierendenwerk Freiburg” and the State University Fees Act of Baden-Württemberg.


Funding

We are in a process of finding ways to support our student prospects to get financial support to study with us. Unfortunately, we currently can not offer any scholarships.

However, we encourage those who look for support to o begin their 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 specifically from your country or your field of study. Applicants can check the following links for third party scholarship opportunities:

   • www.daad.de
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.

   • www.mystipendium.de
The page offers a lot of information about scholarship possibilities (available in German).

   • www.uni-freiburg.de
The Student Service Center of the University of Freiburg offers advice concerning 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.

Frequently
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:

www.daad.de

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.

www.mystipendium.de

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

www.uni-freiburg.de

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.

Do I have the right background?

The M.Sc. in Solar Energy Engineering is suitable for highly qualified students who already have an academic background in STEM subjects (physics, chemistry, electronics, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, material sciences, computer engineering, etc.).

Specialists with a production or sales background in solar energy systems or even beginners in the solar energy field can gain in-depth knowledge from this program. This program is also suitable for teachers, researchers, and committed young scientists who want to further specialise in their topics. For prospective students who want to expand their knowledge and skills in the solar energy field, this program is the right choice.

The Certificates in Solar Energy Engineering have less strict background requirements. However, for most of them a reasonable knowledge on STEM subjects is ideal. Our Certificates on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic and Solar Thermal Energy Technology still require some knowledge on Physics, Maths and Engineering but they could be handled by students who do not possess deep knowledge in those areas.

How can I apply for the M.Sc. in Solar Energy Engineering?

The application process for the master’s degree is five steps:

Step 1: Initial Assessment

For an initial assessment, please send a filled-in self-assessment form, the transcript of records and certificates of previous degrees, a short statement of purpose, and your CV to contact@studysolar.uni-freiburg.de.

Download the assessment form here

Step 2: Application

To apply for admission, please send the following documents in PDF format to application@studysolar.uni-freiburg.de

• A filled-in and signed application form;

• Notarized copies of degree transcripts and certificates;

• Proof of work experience;

• Notarized copies of your IELTS result or similar ;

• Notarized university entrance qualification.

Please submit a complete application by August 31st for the October intake.

Download the application form here

Step 3: Admission Committee

About 20 students are admitted to the program each year. A committee of five professors evaluates each application individually. Personal interest, motivation and educational background are considered in selection process.

Step 4: Document Check

Once the Admissions Committee has accepted you, your documents will be checked for validity at the International Admissions and Services Department of the University of Freiburg.

Step 5: Unconditional Offer

With your unconditional study offer, you will receive further information on how to enroll in the program and how to pay your study fees.

How long does it take for the enrolment to be complete? Will I get a notification once I am enrolled?

Each autumn, the Student Service Center processes the enrolment of hundreds of new students, which is a time-consuming bureaucratic operation. Please consider that due to this, it may take several weeks until your matriculation is finished.

Once the enrolment is done, you will receive an email notification. In the second step, you will receive an email with directions to set up your Uni-Account.

Is it compulsory to come to Freiburg for the on-campus events?

Solar Energy Masters students are required to participate the on-campus week at least two times during their studies. They can freely choose which semester they will join.

The on-campus week takes place in Freiburg, each year, in mid-September. Two laboratory workshops are among the highlights of these on-campus events. Each laboratory workshop is 2 ECTS.

Throughout the on-campus week, students can deepen their understanding of solar energy topics thanks to invited speakers from the scientific field and industry. They also connect to the growing global community of solar energy. Besides, they have the chance to explore Europe’s Solar City - Freiburg in Breisgau. There are engaging and social activities each semester in addition to educational and scientific events.

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 admission requirements for the M.Sc. in Solar Energy Engineering?

The admission requirement for the M.Sc. in Solar energy Engineering are:

1. First academic degree in engineering or natural sciences (physics, chemistry, electronics, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, material sciences, computer engineering, etc.).

2. One year of work experience.

3. Proof of English proficiency; minimum equal to B2 according to CEFR.

(You can find the list of accepted English language certificates under the question “What do I need to prove my English proficiency?”)

Note: Admission with an alternative bachelor’s degree will be considered if the necessary mathematical and technical expertise is proved (e.g., relevant industrial experience).

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

Certificates

The cost of each Certificate Program is 2500 € per semester. All certificates last one semester, except for the Solar Thermal Energy Technology which lasts two semesters; it's fees are 2,500 € in total, too.

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.

Exceptions:

- 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 if I do not have previous relevant work experience?

One of the application criteria is one year of professional experience after the first degree. This professional experience is required, but it does not need to be in the field of Photovoltaics (PV).

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.

What is the re-enrolment procedure?

Usually, the re-enrolment is done a couple of days after you pay the semester fees. If the re-enrolment for the upcoming semester is not done within 7-10 days after your payment, please write an email to the corresponding contact person for enrolment at the Student Service Center.

Please search for the responsible clerk at „Student Affairs“ list based on your last name.

What is the university entrance qualification document?

The university entrance qualification document is a school leaving qualification document that is awarded for the completion of high school (the exact name changes depending on the country). This document is usually obtained before Bachelor studies. In Germany, the university entrance qualification is the „Abiturszeugnis“.

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).

Where can I get my enrolment certificate?

You can easily download the enrolment certificate from this website. Please make sure that you have paid your tuition fee to see the enrolment certificate of the current semester. You can also print out certificates of enrolment for all previous semesters in which you were enrolled.