Minor in Engineering for Sustainability

The minor in Engineering for Sustainability offers EPFL Master students a unique opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to make a meaningful contribution to a more sustainable world.

The program offers an interdisciplinary set of courses and a hands-on projects that draw on themes from engineering, natural sciences, innovation and technology, and social sciences.

The minor has 3 main objectives:

  • Increase students’ awareness of the complex and interconnected nature of sustainability issues
  • Equip students with the necessary tools and competences to address these issues
  • Foster a holistic and interdisciplinary perspective on sustainability

The minor is open to Master students enrolled at EPFL. As such, students from Applied Physics, Architecture, Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, Civil Engineering, Computer science, Communication Systems Science, Environmental Science and Engineering, Life Science Engineering, Neuro-X, Material Science and Engineering,  Mechanical Engineering, Microengineering, Molecular and Biological Engineering, Physics, Robotics and Management, Technology and Entrepreneurship participate in the minor.

You should choose this minor if you want to:

  • Contribute to sustainability in your future profession and help drive positive change in your field
  • Nurture your passion and interest for sustainability and expand your knowledge and skills beyond your main area of study
  • Put your learning into practice an exciting 10 ECTS project of your choice

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

Study plan – SAC – 2023 – 2024

In order to guide students in their course selection, the courses in the minor are grouped into four groups (see p. 2 of this registration form):

  • 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 minor includes 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.

Example of past projects

  • In labs
    • Analysis of the potential to reduce the air network from Geneva Airport (LASUR)
    • Urban maps of the brain in the context of climate change – Association between cognitive performance and land surface temperature (GEOME)
    • 3D printed mycelium building materials (SML)
    • Experimental-based comparative life cycle assessment of low-carbon concrete blocks (LMC)
    • Study of the variation of GHG emissions from soil saturation with reference to precipitation intensity (EML)
    • Production measurement analysis of a PV installation on old wind turbine wings at the Lukmanier pass (CRYOS – Sweet Edge project)
    • Glucose enrichment provides insights into the role of nitrogen cycling in aiptasia – symbiodiniaceae symbiosis challenging this emerging model for coral bleaching (LGB)
    • Climate engineering in the Arctic (EERL)
    • Carbon fiber netzero 2050 transition strategy modeling (LPAC)
    • LCA estimation of perovskite solar cells deposition procedure (IPESE)
    • Characterization of Ice-Nucleating Particles measurement installation (EERL)
    • Measuring device for geometry of concrete rubbles from demolition (SXL / CRCL)
  • In labs with external partners
    • How can Switzerland become a leading hub for sustainable proteins? (GR-LUD and the Swiss Food and Nutrition Valley)
    • Evaluation of tillage practices for climate change mitigation (SOIL, Agroscope and UNIL)
    • Managing multi-energy microgrids in a hydrogen eco-system (IPESE, LEURE and with Maxton Society)
    • Multi-service battery planning (DESL and GreedSteer)
    • Development and Characterization of Cellulose Nano Crystals (SML and Radiant Matter)
    • Business and technical assessment for a bio-electrical system (GEM and HEXEM)
  • With centers
  • MAKE projects
    • Social and technical analysis of a pre-constructed pavilion in Ecublens (RebuilT)
    • Sustainable energy generator for a building site (RebuilT)
    • Phytoepuration and water treatment system (RebuilT)
    • Design of a sustainable battery for an electric race car (Racing team)
    • Scaling up graphene membrane manufacturing for carbon capture (Carbon team)
    • Citizen activation (RebuilT)

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: Charlotte Vandenberghe

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)