Program Overview

This course details the evolution of humans on the planet, their ever changing energy demands, and subsequent impact on the environment. Students will learn about the physics of energy, relationships of force, work and power, and associated units – Newtons, Joules, and Watts.

Students at the Solar Farm
Students at the Solar Farm

Non-renewable energy versus renewable energy are examined, as well as the need to address greenhouse gases and consequent climate change.

Detailed sessions on Hydro, Solar, Geothermal and Wind systems will be presented.

Lab work includes the chemical reactions, and associated energy, of hydrogen fuel propelled vehicles. Small scale solar panels and wind turbines are similarly examined.

Potential field trips include visiting a Hydrologic power plant, a Solar Photovoltaic Farm, and a Wind farm are planned. Additional trips include visiting the energy exhibit at the Museum of Science & Technology (‘Powering the Future’) and energy research lab at National Grid.

The course begins with basic engineering fundamentals and definition of SI units. Homework problems will confirm comprehension. We assign students to work together on team building with reports on specific readings and design problems.

  I attended the Renewable Alternative Energy-Engineering program at Syracuse University Summer College. The experience taught me a lot and it is definitely one I will not forget. Initially I thought leaving would be easy because it’s just two weeks, however within those two weeks I made very strong bonds. The Renewable Alternative Energy-Engineering course was very hands on. We visited solar farms and were able to experience how the systems operated. We also went to a trash site where the trash was burned to produce energy. Not to mention the teacher assistants went the extra mile assisting me anyway possible. The course gave me a taste of how my college experience would be. The environment at Syracuse is extremely friendly; everyone is kind and always ready to help!   -Lonnel B., Summer College Renewable and Alternative Energy Engineering student, 2018.

Program Objectives

Common lectures include:

  • Fundamental Units of Engineering
  • Intellectual Property
  • Engineering Ethics

Common program components:

  • Selected Readings and presentations by student pairs
  • Teamwork practice

Learn more about Renewable and Alternative Energy Engineering:

Program Dates & Details Eligibility Requirements Program Cost Program Requirements Typical Day Faculty Bios

Program Dates & Details

Session Dates

Session III: July 27 – August 9, 2019
Duration: 2-weeks


Credit: Noncredit
Grading System: Pass/Fail

Engineering Track

Three two-week engineering courses are offered for noncredit with topics on:

Choose to attend one, two or all three sessions!

Eligibility Requirements

Students must be a minimum of 15 years of age by the orientation and move-in date. For full Summer College admission requirements, view the Admissions Overview and Eligibility page.

Apply Now!

Program Cost

Program Costs:

  • Residential: $3,360*
  • Commuter: $2,566*

*Please visit our Program Costs page for more detailed information. Program rates are subject to change and will be approved by the board of trustees in March.

Program Requirements

Materials & Supplies

The following text is required for the program:

  • Drawdown. The most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming; Edited by Paul Hawken. Penguin Books, 2017, 240 pp.

Student Expectations

This is an academically rigorous, college-level program. Students are expected to complete nightly homework assignments and actively participate in group projects. Students are expected to attend all classes every day, arrive on time, and meet all academic obligations. Free time will vary as each program is unique, as is the subsequent workload.

Typical Day

Tentative Schedule

When not on field trips, a typical day involves lectures, demos, and team-building during the morning session, and hands-on work in the lab or field in the afternoon.

When class is over, and on weekends, students can look forward to various Summer College trips and activities. Check out our Campus Activities page for more information!

Students at the Rochester Gas & Electric Hydropower Plant
Students at the Rochester Gas & Electric Hydropower Plant

Field Trips

Potential field trips include: OCRRA plant,  Museum of Science and Technology (MOST), National Grid, and more.

End Event

Our final event on the last day is visiting the Energy Exhibit at the MOST and watching an IMAX film on the Earth. Parents and family are welcome to attend with admission.

Final Academic Obligation

Students are permitted to leave on Friday, August 9, 2019 after 4:30pm upon the completion of the final class. If students have any questions regarding their final academic obligation, we encourage them to reach out to their instructor. Please refer to the Move-Out page for important information regarding the checkout process.

Faculty Bio

Dr. Peter Plumley – Research Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Dr. Peter Plumley is the Chief Program Officer at the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology and Research Associate Professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department at Syracuse University. He is an Earth Scientist with an extensive background in computers and technology. Dr. Plumley’s research has been in the areas of plate tectonics and application of paleomagnetic techniques to regional tectonics. His most recent and active research is focused on educational issues of secondary students related to motivation and the Science of Learning. Dr. Plumley was responsible for development and implementation of K-12 outreach for the College of Engineering and Computer Science. Students impacted by his outreach programs number approximately 2,000 students from middle schools (4th – 8th grade) per year and 2,100 high school students (9th – 12th grade) per year. Dr. Plumley was honored with “2003 College Educator of the Year,” by the Technology Alliance of Central New York and the 2011 Post-Standard Achievement Award for years of working to excite young people in Central New York about learning science and engineering.