Master of Energy study tracks

Possible specialisation tracks and electives for candidates pursuing a Master of Energy programme.

Energy as a field of study can be approached from many academic disciplines and angles, and the Master of Energy is therefore open to students with many different undergraduate backgrounds, with the opportunity to choose from a variety of elective courses.

The following recommended MEnergy specialisation tracks detail selections of commonly chosen courses that fit the backgrounds of most students. 

Choosing your electives/specialisation tracks

You are strongly recommended to choose their electives within specialisation tracks that fit your previous study background and preferred future direction. You may also want to align your choice of MEnergy research project in line with your chosen electives. If you are pursuing:

  • A 120 point MEnergy, you will generally complete one track (three electives) alongside a 45 point research project
  • A 180 point MEnergy, you will generally choose seven electives and a 45 point research project. This allows the selection from a wider range of electives, or two specialised study tracks

Most postgraduate (700-level) courses may be eligible to count towards the MEnergy programme, though in some cases you may have to apply for enrolment concessions. Your request will then be evaluated against course prerequisites and suitability.

In all cases, we recommend making yourself aware of the most up-to-date information on specific prerequisites and timing on Student Services Online. Not all courses will be scheduled every semester. Please note that for all except the Geothermal track, you will usually be required to start your programme in Semester One.

Track 1: Optimal Energy and Transport Decision-Making

This track focuses on modern mathematical decision-making algorithms and tools for complex decision-making in uncertain environments, especially the energy and transport sectors. Students generally require a solid foundation in mathematics and statistics. The following pages may be useful for those interested in courses in:

Suggested electives

ENGSCI 760 Algorithms for Optimisation (Semester One) 
Meta-heuristics and local search techniques such as Genetic Algorithms, Simulated Annealing, Tabu Search and Ant Colony Optimisation for practical optimisation. Introduction to optimisation under uncertainty, including discrete event simulation, decision analysis, Markov chains and Markov decision processes and dynamic programming.
Prerequisite: COMPSCI 101 or ENGGEN 131

STATS 762 Regression for Data Science (Semester One)
Application of the generalised linear model to fit data arising from a wide range of sources, including multiple linear regression models, Poisson regression, and logistic regression models. The graphical exploration of data. Model building for prediction and for causal inference. Other regression models such as quantile regression. A basic understanding of vector spaces, matrix algebra and calculus will be assumed.
Prerequisite: STATS 707 or 210 or 225, and 15 points from STATS 201, 207, 208 or a B+ or higher in BIOSCI 209 Restriction: STATS 330STATS 

ENGSCI 755 Decision Making in Engineering (Semester Two)
Introduction to techniques for decision making in engineering systems including decision heuristics, simple prioritisation, outranking approaches, analytic hierarchy process, application to group decision making.
Prerequisite: Departmental approval required

STATS 726 Time Series (Semester Two)
Stationary processes, modelling and estimation in the time domain, forecasting and spectral analysis.
Prerequisite: STATS 210, and 320 or 325

ENGSCI 763 Advanced Simulation and Stochastic Optimisation (Semester Two)
Advanced simulation topics with an emphasis on optimisation under uncertainty. Uniform and non-uniform random variate generation, input distribution selection, output analysis, variance reduction. Simulation-based optimisation and stochastic programming. Two-stage and multi-stage programs with recourse. Modelling risk. Decomposition algorithms. Scenario construction and solution validation.
Prerequisite: ENGSCI 391 or ENGSCI 765

ENGSCI 768 Advanced Operations Research and Analytics (Semester Two)
Advanced Operations Research and Analytics topics including selected theory, algorithms and applications for non-linear programming, smooth and non-smooth optimisation, equilibrium programming and game theory.
Prerequisite: ENGSCI 391 or ENGSCI 765

Track 2: Economics

Learn more about how energy technologies and projects are impacted by economic and regulatory decisions, and vice versa. Students generally require some foundation in economics, although most courses don't contain pre-requisites. 

If you have a sufficient background in economics, you may consider postgraduate courses in micro- and macro-economics, or econometrics that can complement economic analysis and/or modelling of energy, electricity, climate change, and other energy-related policies. For more information, visit the Department of Economics website

Suggested electives

ECON 783 Energy Economics (Semester Two)
Discusses issues related to the economics of climate change including peak oil as well as regulation and market design issues for energy and carbon markets. Natural resource economics and electricity markets are covered in depth.

ECON 702 Industrial Organisation (Semester Two)
Concerned with interdependence of firm behaviour, market structures and implications for consumers and society. Concepts from game theory are introduced and applied to study strategic firm behaviour in a variety of general and more specific market settings; Coverage includes the potential role for public policy with instruments like competition policy, patent policy and the regulation of public utilities such as telecommunication, electricity, water and gas.

ECON 771 Economics of Development (Semester One)
Contemporary issues in development economics. Topics include: the way economists' approaches to leading development issues have evolved to the present; and leading development issues, including sources of economic growth, the role of population, human capital and innovation, labour and migration, international trade and foreign aid, and strategies for sustainable economic development. There is emphasis on the 'Newly Industrializing Countries' and other Third World developing countries.

Track 3: Disaster Risk Management and Development

This is a particular useful path for if you're interested in how energy projects can impact a countries’ development, especially around rural electrification, climate change impact and mitigation, solar projects and rural development. You may consider a mix of development, sustainability and risk management subjects.

Suggested electives

DEVELOP 701 Development Praxis (Semester Two)
Focuses on the practice of development and its relation to theory. General topics include aid modalities, participatory development and social and environmental discourses and practices, and in those contexts the project cycle, programme management tools, monitoring and evaluation and impact assessment.

DEVELOP 702 Gender and Development (Semester One)
Considers a range of topics focusing on the centrality of gender to development and developing nations. Topics include: empowerment, reproduction, masculinities, health, fertility, gendered economies, micro-credit and familial resource allocation.

DEVELOP 710 Development Policies and Institutions (Semester Two)
Provides students with in-depth knowledge of policy approaches to alleviate poverty, enhance social justice and achieve sustainability. Contemporary development policies carried out by governments, donor agencies and UN organisations will be scrutinised. Examples of policies that will be covered in the course are land reform and migration policies, gender policies, climate adaptation and mitigation as well as ethical trade policies.
Restriction: DEVELOP 700

DISMGT 701 Disaster Risk Management (Semester Two)
A broad based understanding of the critical elements of risk and risk management in pre- and post-disaster scenarios. Key elements include risk identification with regard to the forms and types of risk inherent in areas prone to disasters. Risk management approaches are explored and applied to different aspects of disaster management.

Track 4: Wind Energy and Advanced Thermal Systems

This track is generally aimed at those with strong interest in wind energy and/or thermodynamics, their technology, and applications. The latter include the utilisation of resources and wind farm sizing in different locations, the analysis and optimisation of heat pumps, and applications of binary plants in geothermal energy.

This option suits those with backgrounds in mechanical or industrial engineering. For more options in 700-level courses in Mechanical Engineering, you may additionally consult the University of Auckland Calendar.

Suggested electives

MECHENG 711 Computational Fluid Dynamics
(Semester Two)
Application of computational methods to fluid dynamics and heat transfer. Finite volume and finite difference methods. Convergence and stability. Mesh generation and post-processing. Application of commercial computer programs to industrial problems. An individual project in which the student will be required to apply a commercial CFD code to a research problem of the student's choice.
Restriction: MECHENG 718.

MECHENG 712 Aerohydrodynamics (Semester One)
The study of fluid mechanics relevant to external flows, eg, wind turbines, yachts, aircraft or wind loadings on buildings, boundary layers, computational fluid dynamics.
Prerequisite: MECHENG 325. 

MECHENG 713 Energy Technology (Semester One)
Industrial thermodynamics and energy conversion/efficiency, power cycles, availability and irreversibility, simple combustion analysis, mass transfer, energy studies, boiling and condensation.
Prerequisite: MECHENG 311. Restriction: MECHENG 413

MECHENG 714 Wind Engineering (Not offered in 2023) 
Advanced specialist topics in wind engineering such as: the wind-loading chain - planetary boundary-layer flow, extreme winds, wind structure, wind loads, dynamic response, bluff body aerodynamics, vortex shedding, aero-elasticity, wind-tunnel testing, pedestrian level winds, wind energy. The core taught skills are extended by an individual project in which independent research is undertaken to solve a challenging wind engineering problem.
Prerequisite: MECHENG 712

MECHENG 715 Building Services (Semester Two)
Principles and practice of heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC&R), psychrometry, heating/cooling loads, mass transfer and air quality, refrigeration/heat pump systems, cooling towers, pumps, fans, valves, pipes and ducts.
Prerequisite: MECHENG 325.

MECHENG 717 Advanced Thermal Systems (Not offered in 2023)
Fundamentals of advanced thermodynamics. Topics covered will include a selection from: cycles and applications, heat and mass transfer, psychrometry, refrigeration and air-conditioning, internal combustion engines, combustion, thermal system design and simulation.

Track 5: Geothermal Energy

This is one of the core specialisation tracks of the MEnergy, and involves plenty of input from the University of Auckland's Geothermal Institute. Be aware that core geothermal courses are generally taught in Semester Two each year.

Suggested electives

GEOTHERM 601 Geothermal Resources and their Use (Semester Two)
Worldwide occurrence of geothermal systems, introductory geology, volcanoes and volcanic rocks, New Zealand geothermal systems, structure of the TVZ, hydrothermal alteration, permeability and porosity, introduction to geochemistry of geothermal systems, geothermal surface manifestations, water compositions, geothermometry, silica geochemistry, overview of geophysics for geothermal exploration, geothermal resource assessment.
Corequisite: GEOTHERM 602, and 603 or 620. 

GEOTHERM 602 Geothermal Energy Technology (Semester Two)
Worldwide geothermal development, types of geothermal systems, thermodynamics, properties of water and steam tables, heat transfer, fluid mechanics, steam-field equipment, geothermal power stations, geothermal drilling, wellbore processes, completion tests, downhole measurements, reinjection, corrosion, stored heat, Darcy's law, cold groundwater, geothermal reservoirs, direct use, reservoir modelling, reservoir monitoring and steam-field management.
Corequisite: GEOTHERM 601. 

GEOTHERM 603 Geothermal Exploration (Semester Two)
Hydrothermal alteration, clays, fluid inclusions, direct use, subsidence, scaling and corrosion in geothermal wells, production geochemistry, environmental aspects of geothermal development, feasibility study, physical properties of rocks and self-potential (SP), magnetics, thermal methods, gravity, seismic methods, electrical methods, magneto-tellurics (MT).
Corequisite: GEOTHERM 601, 602. 

GEOTHERM 620 Geothermal Engineering (Semester Two)
Completion tests, wellbore flow, two-phase flow, geothermal power cycles, flow measurements, direct use of geothermal energy, environmental effects, scaling and corrosion in geothermal wells, drilling engineering, flow measurements, steam-field operation and maintenance, subsidence, waste heat rejection, heat exchangers, geothermal well-test analysis, stimulation, pipeline design, feasibility study, reservoir modelling theory, TOUGH2, reservoir modelling process, case study (data and conceptual model, natural state modelling), Wairakei model.
Corequisite: GEOTHERM 601, 602. 

EARTHSCI 703 Hydrothermal Systems: Geothermal Energy and Ore Deposits (not offered in 2023)

Active hydrothermal systems are dynamic and of vital significance to national energy requirements. In addition, their fossil equivalents are often important sites for ore deposition. This course overviews the geologic, hydrologic, and geochemical features of hydrothermal systems with an emphasis on exploration and development of active systems for geothermal energy, and fossil systems for mineral resources.
Requires enrolment in GEOTHERM 601 and 602. Restriction: GEOLOGY 703

Track 6: Electrical/Power Systems

The Power Systems track is aimed at those with a strong foundation electrical/power systems engineering, and an interest in the technical and market implications of integrating new, renewable energy technologies – such as wind, solar and geothermal – in existing grids and/or stand-alone village grids.

Suggested electives

ELECTENG 731 Power Systems (Semester One)
Builds on the knowledge of three-phase power systems components to understand modelling, formulation and typical analysis carried out by electricity transmission, distribution and generation entities. Load flow, fault, stability and power quality. Supplemented by laboratories where students learn to use professional software to implement the theoretical aspects.
Prerequisite: ELECTENG 309. Restriction: ELECTENG 411

ELECTENG 703 Advanced Power Systems (Semester Two) 
Electricity markets: structure, pricing, optimisation, ancillary services; Power system protection practices; Distribution network development: Smart Grid, Demand Side participation; HVDC and FACT Devices Theory and Application; Renewable energy grid integration.
Prerequisite: ELECTENG 731. Restriction: ELECTENG 738

ELECTENG 738 Selected Topics in Advanced Power Systems  (Semester Two) 
Electricity markets: structure, pricing, optimisation, ancillary services; Power system protection practices; Distribution Network Development: Smart Grids, Demand Side Participation, Integration of DG/renewable sources and Electric Vehicles. Core concepts are extended by an individual research project, a self-guided protection laboratory and industry engagement in advanced power system practices
Prerequisite: ELECTENG 731. Restriction: ELECTENG 703

ELECTENG 735 Green Energy Technologies (Not offered in 2023)
Advanced green energy technologies with examples from current industry practice and cutting edge research developments. Topics include: renewable energy systems, distributed power generation, energy storage techniques, transportation electrification, power converters for renewable energy integration, soft-switched resonant converters, wireless power transfer, new semiconductor devices, motor drives, and LED lighting.
Prerequisite: ELECTENG 734

Other common electives

Other electives include Environmental Management, Sustainability, General Engineering and Project Management courses, such as: 

ENVMGT 741 Social Change for Sustainability (Semester Two)
ENVMGT 742 Social Dimensions of Global Environmental Change (Semester One) 
ENVMGT 744 Resource Management (Semester Two)
ENVMGT 746 Collaborative Environmental Management (Semester One)
ENVSCI 701 Research Practice in Environmental Science (Semester One)
ENVENG 702 Engineering Decision Making in Aotearoa (Semester Two)
ENVENG 704 Sustainable Resource Management (Not offered in 2023)
ENVENG 750 Advanced Sustainability Engineering (Not offered in 2023)
ENVENG 751 Sustainable Technologies and Processes (Not offered in 2023)
ENVENG 752 Sustainability and Life Cycle Assessment (Semester Two)