BSc Renewable Energy

UCAS codeF802
Duration3 Years
Typical offerAAB-BBB; IB: 34-30
DisciplineEnergy Engineering
LocationTaught in Cornwall Campus Cornwall (Penryn Campus)


Our research strengths in wave power, energy policy and finance allow us to offer this programme with substantial backing from the renewable energy industry. We have extensive industrial support from industry leaders including Bill Dunster Architects, Compact Power, Garrad Hassan, Geoscience, npower renewables, Ocean Power Technologies, Scottish and Southern Energy and Wardell Armstrong International.

These close links with industry, together with a wide range of field trips and a 2-3 month work placement, provide a practical context that complements the taught programme. This is a practical, vocational programme for individuals seeking a professional role in this rapidly expanding and strategically important energy sector.

For me, the best aspect of studying BSc Renewable Energy at the Penryn Campus are the ties with the marine renewable energy sector. Between my 2nd and 3rd year the renewable energy department helped me to secure a 10 week paid summer internship within the wave energy sector.

The element of this I enjoyed most was the fact that everything we did on the device had never been done before. Harnessing the energy from the waves to generate clean, carbon free electricity is very much in its infancy so as a future engineer, I could not think of anything better than tackling an engineering challenge that has never been conquered. The success of the project I worked on could have huge ramifications for wave energy globally.

Daniel Sinclair, BSc Renewable Energy, Penryn Campus.

Programme structure

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

Year 1

First term modules concentrate on developing your core engineering and mathematical skills and they address the diverse range of renewable energy sources, their extents and exploitation methods. In the second term you’ll study the physical and engineering sciences governing both natural processes and power conversion technology.

Year 2

Second year modules as well as training in the physical sciences and technology, introduce elements of management and finance. In the summer vacation you may carry out a minimum six week industrial placement.

Students studying BSc Renewable Energy who can demonstrate a high level of academic performance may be eligible to transfer onto MEng Renewable Energy. This will typically require achievement of a minimum 60 per cent mark at the end of the second year of study.

Year 3

Third year modules are designed to build on the previous two years to enable study of specialist areas in order to gain deep knowledge, understanding and ability. You’ll choose from a range of optional modules which have been arranged so that you can select studies of a more technical nature or from a broader management track, or you can mix-and-match according to your preferences. For technically orientated modules a theme of resource assessment, power conversion design, performance monitoring and economic appraisal recurs. The remaining modules consider the more generic issues that span all the technologies or enhance your knowledge of more policy related elements of the discipline.

Throughout the third year you will work on an individual research project in your area of interest, under the supervision of a member of academic staff. Through your selection of options, choice of dissertation topic and choice of vacation placement, you are in control of the content of over half of your third year programme.

Entry requirements 2017

Typical offer

AAB-BBB; IB: 34-30

Required subjects

GCE AL science subject at grade B; IB science HL5, Maths SL advised if not offered at HL. GCSE Maths grade A
GCE AL/AS science includes: Biology/Human Biology*; Chemistry; Computing; Design and Technology; Electronics; Environmental Studies; Geography; Geology; Maths/Pure Maths/Further Maths*; Physical Education; Physics; Psychology; Science (applied); Statistics.

*If more than one of these is taken they would only count as one 'science' but could count as two A-levels towards our general requirements.

Applicants studying one of the following BTEC Extended Diplomas will be considered without GCE AL requirement(s): Applied Science, Building Services Engineering, Construction and the Built Environment, Electrical Electronic Engineering, Environmental Sustainability, Manufacturing Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Operations Maintenance Engineering, Pharmaceutical Science, Sport, Sport and Exercise Science.

International students

International students should check details of our English language requirements and may be interested in our Foundation programmes.

Further information

Please read the important information about our Typical offer.

For full and up-to-date information on applying to Exeter and entry requirements, including requirements for other types of qualification, please see the Applying section.

Learning and teaching

Formal teaching and learning methods vary between modules but typically include lectures, laboratory classes, practical work, seminars, tutorials, computer-based learning packages, and residential or one-day field-based activities. You will typically have 18-20 hours of formal contact time per week. You’ll be expected to spend roughly the same amount of time in independent learning and some work will be expected during the vacations.

There is an increasing use of interactive computer-based approaches to learning through our virtual learning environment where the details of all modules are stored in an easily navigable website. Students can access detailed information about modules and learning outcomes and interact through activities such as the discussion forums.


The campus is equipped with the latest facilities for teaching and research. Our teaching laboratory contains technology for the study of biomass heating; water flows; hydroelectric turbines; photovoltaics; solar thermal; fuel cells; hydraulic systems; wind power; and electronics and electrical power systems.

The lab is also equipped with industry standard software for the analysis of flows of liquids, gases (Solidworks) and electricity; computer aided design (AutoCAD); wind energy resource assessment (Windfarmer, Wind Farm); and wind turbine design (Bladed). As an undergraduate student, you’ll be able to use all of these programs and facilities in the lab which can be viewed on our website at

A variety of devices producing renewable energy exist around the campus including two solar powered buildings on campus: Daphne du Maurier and the Performance Centre, plus a 3 x 1MW fully condensing gas boiler and a ground source heat pump system. As part of the continuing expansion of the campus, the University has developed the Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI). The ESI opened in late 2012 and employs both solar and wind energy technology as well as benefitting from state-of-the-art energy efficiency. The campus is 500m from the Roskrow Barton commercial wind development that comprises 2 x 850kW, V52-850 Vestas wind turbines.

Research-inspired teaching

We believe that every student benefits from being part of a culture that is inspired by research and taught by experts. We are a lead institution in PRIMaRE (Peninsula Research in Marine Renewable Energy), a multi-centre research organisation specialising in all elements of research concerning marine renewable energy sources including their operation, development of the technology, their environmental and ecological impacts and their socio-economic impacts. Policy research aims to develop methods through which the growth of renewable energy can be enhanced further, as well as methods to ensure that it is properly regulated. We are collaborating with other universities within the UK and overseas, notably to examine the potential and cost of increased use of renewable heat sources. We are committed to a focus on examining the development of industrial capacity related to new clean energy technologies.


Assessment methods vary between modules, but usually combine exams and coursework (which might include practical laboratory work, professional posters, group exercises, essays or verbal presentations). Your first year doesn’t count towards your final degree classification, but you do have to pass it in order to progress. If you study a three-year programme, assessments in the final two years both count towards your classification, and if you study a four-year programme then the final three years all contribute.

Academic support

The Penryn Campus offers a friendly, supportive community, where staff and students get to know each other well. All students have a personal tutor who is a member of academic staff with whom you can discuss personal and academic issues. There are also a number of services on campus where you can get additional advice and information. You can find further information about all these services in the University’s undergraduate prospectus or online at


The Lawrence Scholarship is available to top performing students undertaking a four-year undergraduate degree programme in the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences. For the latest information about our scholarships, please visit


These degrees have been designed to include the knowledge and skills that potential employers in the energy sector have told us they require. A very high proportion of our graduates find employment in the energy sector or are studying for a higher degree.

The BSc in Renewable Energy is accredited by the Energy Institute for progression towards Chartered Engineer status. All students receive free membership of the Energy Institute for their period of study and graduates are encouraged to upgrade their membership of the Energy Institute from Student to Graduate which is the first step in working towards formal recognition of their professional status as a Chartered Engineer (CEng) or Incorporated Engineer (IEng).

Many students from the department take part in the Exeter Award and the Exeter Leaders Award. These schemes encourage you to participate in employability related workshops, skills events, volunteering and employment which will contribute to your career decision-making skills and success in the employment market.

Information about the careers entered by graduates can be found at

Industrial experience

In the summer vacation between your second and third year, you may carry out a minimum six-week industrial placement. The onus is on you to select the area in which you wish to work and to find a placement, although we can help by providing contact details and suggesting companies which suit your interests. Companies with close ties to the department also provide placements for a number of students.

Field work and tours

Throughout the programmes you will experience a range of renewable energy technologies. This will include trips to renewable energy facilities such as Goonhilly wind farm, local solar PV farms, micro hydro and other relevant installations, and may include events like public planning meetings or energy use assessments of public or private buildings as opportunities become available. Our aim is to get out to see real world technology or events whenever we can.

In the second year, the residential field trip will entail a field-based renewable energy technical resource assessment exercise. Working as a project team you will focus on the use of appropriate renewable energy technologies.

Contact us

Cornwall Campus, Near Falmouth

Phone: +44 (0)1326 371801

Website: Visit the Renewable Energy website

How to apply Get a prospectus Visit subject website 2016 degrees

Accredited by the Energy Institute (EI) on behalf of the Engineering Council for the purposes of fully meeting the academic requirement for registration as an Incorporated Engineer and partly meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered Engineer.


Accredited under licence from the UK regulator, the Engineering Council.

View our Engineering brochure

Download PDF