Discover how to leverage renewable energy technologies, including solar thermal systems, photovoltaics, wind and biomass.


Faculty of Engineering
Delivery Mode
Face-to-face (includes blended)
Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)
Commencing Terms
Term 1, Term 2, Term 3
Duration (Full-Time)
4 Year(s)


In this degree, you'll immerse yourself in the manufacture and use of solar cells, which capture and convert sunlight into electricity. Courses in technology development, manufacturing, quality control, reliability, policy, system design and more will prepare you for varied, high-level work in an industry that is vital for humanity's future.

Your study looks beyond the sun as a source of energy, encompassing a wider range of technologies and their uses. It also addresses the important areas of solar architecture and the design of energy-efficient buildings and appliances. To get you work-ready, you'll apply your skills through 60 days of approved industry training.

Key features

UNSW Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Photovoltaics & Solar Energy) is a four-year full-time degree that'll teach you how to carve out a career that works towards a more sustainable future.

This undergraduate degree is globally recognised and is accredited by Engineers Australia. Part of your study involves applying your skills through 60 days of approved industrial training in Australia or overseas. Your industrial training will give you a taste of a real-world professional engineering setting and the hands-on experience to become career-ready.  

Make a difference to disadvantaged communities through our Humanitarian Engineering projects, electives and minors on offer. Humanitarian Engineering works to provide disadvantaged individuals and communities with engineering solutions that improve lives and livelihoods. These solutions may provide essential services such as food, water, shelter, energy and information where they are unavailable.

You can complete a Flexible First Year when you study this degree. Flexible First Year allows you to explore different engineering fields before choosing your specialisation. The first year of engineering study has a core of common subjects, plus a wide choice of electives, so you can figure out which one is right for you.

Why study this degree at UNSW?

For over twenty years UNSW has been a world leader in research and commercialisation of high-performance silicon solar cells. The School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering (SPREE) is a leading provider of world class education and research; specialising in education for both undergraduate and postgraduate students. 

UNSW academics in the photovoltaic field have been consistently ranked amongst global academic leaders through peer review. Our research has produced world record solar cells for a range of materials and technologies – including silicon, perovskite, CZTS and concentrating photovoltaics.

UNSW is known for its graduate employability. UNSW placed in the GradConnection AFR Top 100 Future Leaders Awards in 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023. Australia’s top employers prefer UNSW Engineering graduates over any other university and we’re ranked 29th in the world for employer reputation. We have close industry ties with industry partners including Suntech, China Sunergy, LG Electronics, Tongwei, Adani, CSR, BlueScope, AECOM and the NSW Government

At UNSW Engineering you’ll benefit from a diverse and welcoming community with plenty to keep you busy. UNSW Engineering boasts 16 student societies including a society for each school. Get involved in Queer Students in Stem, Women in Renewable Energy Society or Robogals. UNSW’s Women in Engineering (WIE) society runs social and industry events as well as programs designed to mentor and develop female engineers.  

As part of a range of student led projects on offer you can take part in SunSwift Solar. Sunswift is a student-led project run by UNSW students who are pushing the limits of solar technology to inspire sustainable action. They design, build and race solar-electric vehicles in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. Student volunteers from all areas of engineering come together to build a solar car from start to finish.


Program Code






UAC Code


Total Units of Credit (UOC)


Indicative Enrolments


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Entry requirements

2022 Lowest Selection Rank
2022 A levels
2022 IB Diploma
2022 Lowest ATAR
    1. The 2022 Lowest Selection Rank (LSR) is the adjusted rank (ATAR plus adjustment factors) you would have needed to gain entry to this degree in 2022.
    2. The 2022 A levels score is based on four Advanced Level (A2) subject. Entry scores are calculated from the best three or four A2 subjects (excluding repeated subjects) using the following values: A*=6, A=5, B=4, C=3, D=2, E=1. At most one Applied A Level subject may be included in the best four subjects used to calculate the aggregate.
    3. The 2022 IB Diploma is an indication of the IB you would have needed to gain entry to this degree in 2022. It is to be used as a guide only.
    4. The 2022 Lowest ATAR is the lowest ATAR (before adjustment factors were applied) to which an offer was made. Where <5 is listed, this indicates that less than 5 ATAR-based offers were made and so the score has not been published. N/A indicates no offers were made on the basis of ATAR.
  • At UNSW, we are committed to ensuring prospective students have all the information they need in order to make informed decisions about their study options.

    To assist you in gaining a better understanding of how Admissions works at UNSW, we have provided you with a summary of ATAR offers and the student profile.

    We hope this information will help you identify the degree that is right for you.

Assumed knowledge

Mathematics Extension 1, Physics

Adjustment Factors

We offer a range of adjustment factor schemes that reward students for academic performance and extra-curricular achievements. These schemes also take into account a range of personal and educational disadvantages that may have affected your studies. 

HSC Plus 
This scheme rewards students who perform well in Year 12 subjects that are relevant to their preferred UNSW degree. You may be awarded up to five points. 

Elite Athletes, Performers and Leaders (EAPL) 
This program recognises achievements in the areas of sport, academia, leadership and music at an elite level. You may be eligible for up to five points.

Educational Access Scheme (EAS)
Factors such as illness, financial hardship, language difficulties or attending a particular school can mean you don't always get the best possible marks in Years 11 and 12. If one of these situations applies to you, submit an application for the Educational Access Scheme (EAS) via UAC. Eligible students can receive between 1 and 10 points towards their chosen UNSW degree.

Admission pathways

The Faculty of Engineering Admission Scheme (FEAS) is a possible alternative admission pathway for the admission of domestic undergraduate students to UNSW Faculty of Engineering degree programs, including the BSc Computer Science and the BSc Food Science (Hons), who do not meet the published Guaranteed Entry selection rank. Visit the FEAS page for more information.

English language requirements


You may be asked to provide evidence of your English proficiency to study at UNSW depending on your educational background and citizenship. English language skills are vitally important for coping with lectures, tutorials, assignments and examinations - this is why UNSW requires a minimum English language competency for enrolment.

If you’re completing an Australian Year 12 qualification (e.g. NSW HSC or equivalent), you do not need to provide anything extra to prove your proficiency. Your qualification will be used as evidence of your English proficiency.

If you do need to provide evidence of your English proficiency, this will be indicated in your application. You can prove this by providing evidence that you meet one or more of the following criteria:

If you need to improve your English skills before you start your degree, UNSW College’s Academic English Programs are for you. The programs are suitable for various English levels and help you prepare for university studies and life in Australia.

International direct entry

We do not accept secondary qualifications from this country. We may accept tertiary study results, please contact us for more information.

Please contact us for direct entry requirements.

Admission pathways

If you do not meet the requirements for direct entry into your chosen degree, you may be eligible for a pathway program with UNSW College. UNSW College provides alternative entry options using university-approved content so that you can start your UNSW journey with confidence. 

English language requirements

You may be asked to provide evidence of your English proficiency to study at UNSW depending on whether you are from an English-speaking background or non-English speaking background. English language skills are vitally important for coping with lectures, tutorials, assignments and examinations - this is why UNSW requires a minimum English language competency for enrolment.

If English is not your first language, you’ll need to provide proof of your English proficiency before you can be given an offer to study at UNSW. You can do this by providing evidence that you meet one or more of the following criteria:

If you need to improve your English skills before you start your degree, UNSW College’s Academic English Programs are for you. The programs are suitable for various English levels and help you prepare for university studies and life in Australia.

Check the specific English language requirements for this program

Program structure

This degree is a four-year degree, which can be studied part time or full time. You’ll gain a solid background in mathematics, natural sciences and computing that’ll prepare you to learn knowledge and skills in Photovoltaics and Solar Engineering.

We place a strong emphasis on gaining hands-on experience of working with solar energy devices, modules and systems. You’ll study the following areas:

  • Technology development

  • Manufacturing 

  • Quality control 

  • Reliability 

  • Cell interconnection and encapsulation 

  • Policy development 

  • Life-cycle analysis 

  • System design 

Innovative teaching techniques have been developed to enhance the learning environment including the 'Virtual Production Line' and 'Virtual World Solar Car Challenge'. 

A unique feature of this degree is that in Year 2, you can select a strand to complement your education in Photovoltaics and Solar Energy. The strands available cover areas such as computing, electronics, mathematics, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, physics, chemical engineering, and architecture.


    • Photovoltaics and Solar Energy

Full program structure

Degree structures can vary depending on your specialisation of choice, the number of courses you choose and timetabling, to give you an indication you can consider the below.

In your first year you might study:

  • Two introductory courses in Mathematics

  • An introductory course in Physics,

  • and an introductory course in Computing

You may also study an introductory course related to your specialisation of choice. These courses equip you with the skills required for the rest of your Engineering degree.  

All students study ENGG1000 “Introduction to Engineering Design and Innovation”. In this course you’ll learn to think the way that engineers think, developing solutions with limited budget, time and resources. 

In your second year you’ll undertake:

  • Courses from your selected specialisations

  • Core courses to give you the fundamental knowledge in your area of interest

In your third and fourth year you’ll develop your knowledge further with a range of core and elective courses.  

During your degree you’ll be required to complete two General Education electives. These courses help you broaden your education by completing several courses from outside the engineering faculty strengthening your cross-disciplinary thinking, developing a flexible approach and enhancing your critical analysis skills. 

This degree also requires you to complete 60 days of industrial training, which gives you some on the job experience before graduating. This multidisciplinary educational approach connects students, academics and industry enabling you to develop the essential technical and professional skills, so you thrive in your future career. 


Future careers

Photovoltaic engineers can be involved in developing and refining cell production methods, installing and maintaining systems and further integrating photovoltaics into everyday life. Graduates from our undergraduate and postgraduate degrees are at the forefront of this transition to a renewable energy future.  

Opportunities are found in many fields. These include: 

  • Refining cell production technology 

  • Researching and developing multi-junction cells 

  • Concentrated solar power 

  • Multi-axis tracking 

  • Thin film technologies 

  • Grid-connection and integration 

  • Utility scale developments 

  • Independent system design 

  • Building integrated photovoltaics 

Our graduates are equipped to work in large engineering companies or small start-up companies.


Potential careers

  • Manufacturing
  • Quality control and reliability
  • Computer-aided design of devices and systems
  • Policy formation 
  • Programs for developing countries
  • Energy utilities


Institution of Chemical Engineers, Engineers Australia, Institution of Chemical Engineers, Australian Computer Society, Graduates are eligible to apply for membership of Engineers Australia. Further information may be found on The Surveying major is recognised by the Board of Surveying and Spatial Information of New South Wales for registration as a surveyor in NSW.

How to apply

Applications for undergraduate study from domestic students (Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents, Australian permanent humanitarian visa holders and New Zealand citizens) are processed by the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC).

Visit the Apply section of the UAC website and you can nominate up to five degrees in order of preference, with the first being your most desired degree and university.

On-time applications for admission usually close at the end of September each year for Term 1 admission. Late applications can be submitted, but a late fee will apply. For study starting in Term 1, the majority of offers are made in December and January. Visit the UAC website for key dates for admission outside of Term 1.

Ready to start your application?

For most international students, applications are submitted via our Apply Online service. We encourage you to submit your completed application as early as possible to ensure it will be processed in time for your preferred term.

Some high-demand programs with limited places, may have an earlier application deadline or may have an earlier commencement date. For more information visit our international applicant information page.

*If you are an international student studying an Australian qualification, go to the Universities Admission Centre (UAC) for application and UAC key dates. Note: If you are under 18 years of age, you need to make special arrangements. Read more.

Ready to start your application?

Fees & Scholarships

2023 Indicative First Year Full Fee

Commonwealth Supported Place: Student Contribution Band 2

*The student contribution for a Commonwealth Supported Place is an indication only of the amount payable in Year 1 based on a standard full-time load of 48 credit points (1.0 EFTSL). The actual student contribution you will be liable for depends on your individual program of study and the calendar year in which you enrol. Actual fees are calculated upon enrolment. Student contribution amounts are subject to annual review by the university and may increase each year during your studies (subject to caps determined by the Australian Government), effective at the start of each calendar year.

The indicative fees listed here are based on an estimated average and are for tuition only - other fees and charges are not included.

2023 Indicative First Year Fee
2023 Indicative Fee to Complete Degree

*Fees are subject to annual review by the University and may increase annually, with the new fees effective from the start of each calendar year. The indicative fees listed here are based on an estimated average and are for tuition only other fees and charges are not included. The amount you pay will vary depending on the calendar year to enrol, the courses you select and whether your study load is more or less than 1 Equivalent Full Time Student Load (8 courses per year).

Indicative fees are a guide for comparison only based on current conditions and available data. You should not rely on indicative fees. More information on fees can be found at the UNSW fees website.

Indicative fees to complete the program have been calculated based on a percentage increase for every year of the program. Fee increases are assessed annually and may exceed the indicative figures listed here.

Indicative fees to complete the program include tuition plus an estimate of study-related costs of approximately $1,000 per year. To find out more about other costs, visit UNSW International.


At UNSW, we award over $83 million in scholarships each year. We pride ourselves on rewarding excellence and making university accessible to students from all walks of life. Whether you’re a domestic or international student, our range of scholarships, prizes and awards can support your journey.

Featured scholarships

Women in Engineering Scholarships 

UNSW provides a wide range of Women in Engineering scholarships to support high-achieving female students throughout their degree.

Apply here and search for ‘Engineering’ in the keywords.  

Engineering Rural Scholarship

The Faculty of Engineering Rural Scholarships Program aims to assist high achieving high school students from rural or isolated areas to study in the Faculty of Engineering at UNSW. 

Apply here and search for ‘Engineering’ in the keywords.