Wednesday, February 14, 2018

UNC Charlotte's M.S. Program in Engineering Management with Energy Analytics Concentration

Five years ago, I realized the big gap between academic offerings and industry needs in the energy analytics field. I took a brave step and a big salary cut to join UNC Charlotte, with the mission of "producing the next generation of finest analysts for the industry."

Since then, I have trained hundreds of students and working professionals, through the various courses I taught within and outside UNC Charlotte, and through the research activities at the BigDEAL lab that I founded to incubate the elites. I am pleased to see the growing interest in this emerging field of energy analytics and the enthusiasm from the my audience.

However, the gap did not really shrink despite my effort. In fact, the demand increase for energy analysts, which is now called energy data scientists, is more than the amount of graduates I can produce from my small shop!

To further enrich the teaching materials and serve a greater audience in the industry with diverse academic and professional backgrounds, I designed a 60-hour energy analytics curriculum. Many people who took those courses asked me the following question:
Is there a degree program that I can enroll to further my education in this area (energy analytics/forecasting)?
Previously, I directed them to BigDEAL and showed them the path to PhD. For those who were not ready for a PhD program, I didn't have much to offer, unfortunately.

Today, if you asked me the same question, I have a different and better answer:
We are launching a master program specifically designed for those who want to pursue a data science career in the energy industry. 
Upon graduation, the student receives a M.S. degree in Engineering Management with a concentration in Energy Analytics. All courses are offered both online and on campus. If you are an on campus student, you can come to the classroom, and enjoy the face-to-face interactions with the professors and students. If you are a remote student, you can take the courses at home or in your office, and enjoy the flexibility brought by the modern communication technologies.

The program requires a minimum of 31 credits to graduate. These credits can be split into three segments:

1. Required core courses (10 credits)

Students will take the following four core courses at the beginning of the program:
  • EMGT 6980 - Industrial and Technology Management Seminars (1)
  • EMGT 5201 - Fundamentals of Deterministic System Analysis (3)
  • EMGT 5202 - Fundamentals of Stochastic System Analysis (3)
  • EMGT 5203 - Fundamentals of Engineering Management (3)

2. Elective and concentration courses (15 credits for thesis option, or 18 credits for project option)

To claim the energy analytics concentration, students should complete at least four out of the following six courses:
  • EMGT 5961 - Introduction to Energy Systems (3)
  • EMGT 5962 - Energy Markets (3)
  • EMGT 5963 - Energy Systems Planning (3)
  • EMGT 5964 - Case Studies in the Energy Industry (3)
  • EMGT 6965 - Energy Analytics (3)
  • EMGT 6910 - Technological Forecasting and Decision Making (3)
In addition, I recommend the following elective courses to the energy analytics students:
  • EMGT 6905 - Designed Experimentation (3)
  • EMGT 6952 - Engineering Systems Optimization (3)
  • EMGT 6955 - Systems Reliability Engineering (3)
The on campus students also have the opportunity to take courses from other departments. Up to two of them can be recognized as electives. The remote students may also transfer up to two courses from other universities upon the approval of the graduate director.

3. Capstone (6 credits for thesis option, or 3 credits for project option)

Students interested in conducting research at BigDEAL should choose the 6-credit thesis option. Many real-world problems are good candidate topics for master thesis research. Here are two examples of master thesis research from former BigDEAL graduates (TSG2015; TSG2018). For those who are not interested in research, a 3-credit project option is available too.

We plan to launch the program this fall semester. The university has not updated the catalog yet, so this is a preview of the program. If you are interested, you may start the application HERE. Note that we offer a GRE waiver to the applicants with a bachelor degree in engineering from a U.S. ABET accredited school and two years of relevant industry experience.

Last but not least, Happy Valentine's Day! 

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