Minor in Engineering for Sustainability

The minor in Engineering for sustainability aims to enable EPFL students to address the sustainability challenges they will face as future professionals and responsible citizens. It will do so by building competences in engineering, natural sciences, innovation & technology, and social sciences that are required to develop a holistic understanding of sustainability.

The minor has 3 main objectives:

  • Heighten the awareness of sustainability related challenges and their interrelation
  • Provide the necessary tools and competences to address these challenges
  • Develop a common understanding  and interdisciplinary perspective of sustainability across all EPFL Master programs

You should choose this minor if you want to:

  • integrate sustainability concerns in your future professions and add a sustainability focus to your diploma
  • gain an interdisciplinary perspective on sustainability and follow courses outside of your section
  • enhance your ability to deal with complex sustainability challenges as engineers and scientists

The minor (30 ECTS) is composed of 20 ECTS of courses + 10 ECTS of project work.

In order to guide students in their course selection, the courses in the minor are grouped into four groups:

  • Interdisciplinary project in sustainability: a 10 ECTS mandatory project specifically designed for this minor
  • Foundations, Tools & Methodologies: foundational courses in environmental, economic and social sciences, complemented with fundamental tools in engineering
  • Materials, Processes & Infrastructures: life cycle of different industrial segments, like energy, materials and chemical components
  • Environmental & Human Systems: environmental quality assessment, integrated resource management and impact of urbanization

All students are encouraged to take courses from the “foundations, tools and methodologies” group and, depending on what is relevant to their degree, to also choose courses from the “materials, processes and infrastructures” or “environmental and human systems” group. All student have to do an interdisciplinary project in sustainability to validate the minor.

The interdisciplinary project in sustainability will gather students and teachers across different sections within the context of interdisciplinary initiatives such as MAKE, SKIL, Act for Change lab, EPFL Changemakers as well as EPFL interdisciplinary research centers such as as the joint UNIL-EPFL Center for Climate Impact and Action (CLIMACT) or the UNIL-EPFL-IMD Center Entreprise4Society.

Code Course Credits Semester
ENV-491 Interdisciplinary project in sustainability * 10 A S
  Fondations, outils et méthodologies      
MGT-409 D.Thinking: real problems, human-focused solutions 5 A  
ENV-470 Development engineering 4   S
ENG-410 Energy supply, economics and transition 2   S
ENV-471 Environmental Economics 4   S
ENG-474 Etudes d’impact 3 A  
ENV-501 Material and energy flow analysis 4 A  
ENV-410 Science of Climate Change 4 A  
ENV-469 Systèmes de management environnementaux 2 A  
MGT-408 Technology Policy and the Energy Transition 3 A  
  Matériaux, processus et infrastructures      
CH-421 Catalysis for energy storage 3 A  
ENV-510 Life cycle assessment in energy systems 3 A  
MSE-430 Life cycle engineering of polymers 2 A  
ME-516 Life cycle performance of product systems 3   S
ChE-408 Process intensification and green chemistry** 3   S
MSE-463 Recycling of materials 2   S
  Systèmes environnementaux et humains      
ENV-400 Air pollution and climate change 5   S
AR-496 Behind/beyond future cities 3   S
AR-497 Building Design in the circular economy 3 A  
ChE-304 Energy systems engineering** 3   S
ME-409 Energy conversion and renewable energy** 4 A  
ENV-402 Sanitary engineering in developing countries 3 A  
ENV-500 Solid waste engineering 4 A  
ENV-461 Sustainability assessment of urban systems 3   S
AR-458 Ville et mobilité 3   S

Legend :

  • A = autumn, S = spring
  • 1 semester =  14 weeks. Notes: AR courses are taught for 12 weeks.
  • *: the interdisciplinary project in sustainability is mandatory
  • **: courses with prerequirement

The minor include a mandatory interdisciplinary project in sustainability of 10 ECTS. Students are encouraged to do their project toward the end of their Master cycle as the aim of the project is to apply knowledge and skills learned during the minor. They can either join a project proposed by an EPFL unit, or propose themselves a project and find one or two supervisors.
For more details, you can consult the project guide.

To enroll for the minor, the student needs to

  1. Fill in the registration form and send it to email to [email protected] and in cc to the secretariat of his/her section
  2. Once the registration form has been validated, register on IS-Academia for the minor and corresponding classes.

Coordinator: Melanie Studer

Heads of field of study : Pierre-Yves Gilliéron & Yves Leterrier 

Consultative committee:

  1. Prof. François Golay (ENAC)

  2. Prof. Holger Frauenrath (STI)

  3. Prof. Jean-Yves Le Boudec (IC)

  4. Dr. Igor Allaman (SV)

  5. Prof. Jeremy Luterbacher (SB)

  6. Dr. Marc Laperrouzza (CDH)

  7. Prof. Negar Kiyavash (CDM)

  8. Dr. Nicola Banwell (VPT)

  9. Charmilie Nault (CLIMACT)

  10. Mael Mouhoub (AGEPOLY)

  11. Marie Rérolle (AGEPOLY)