The Pratt School of Engineering will offer a minor in energy engineering, which will open to applicants starting this semester.

The minor was created by Marc Deshusses, professor of civil and environmental engineering, and Josiah Knight, associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science. Deshusses called energy “the defining issue of this century.”

“It’s hard to open a newspaper and not find something related to energy,” Deshusses said in a press release. “There is a lot of emphasis on energy generation, biofuels, solar energy and the environmental impact of our energy policies. Energy delivery and efficiency are also very current. Several wars can be traced back to energy conflicts.”

The minor will be open exclusively to Pratt undergraduates at this time, in order to ensure that students in the minor have the background required to complete technical coursework. But some courses are cross-listed with the Duke Energy Initiative to allow students from other fields to engage in discussions on energy and the environment.

The Duke Energy Initiative and the Energy and Environment Certificate—available to students in both Pratt and the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences—are already in place to address issues related to energy. Pratt Dean Tom Katsouleas said the minor serves as an additional tool to enhance Duke’s engagement with study of issues related to energy.

Knight said the minor will cover a broad variety of topics related to energy, rather than one specific type of energy. The minor will be comprised of a core course and four electives.

Pratt hopes to eventually create an energy engineering major, Deshusses said.