Department of Sustainable Technology & the Built Environment at Appalachian State University

Why you should consider this program

The Graduate Program within the Department of Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment furthers the department's vision of "Building Solutions, Developing Leaders." We have earned a reputation for innovative research and sustainable development in the areas of building science, renewable energy, and other sustainable technologies. Our mission is to foster a strong and vibrant culture of inquiry, discovery, and innovation that integrates theory with application, problem seeking with problem-solving, local issues with global perspectives, and technological progress with environmental stewardship.

Each graduate student designs a unique program of study that includes required and elective course work tailored to his or her concentration area (Appropriate Technology, Renewable Energy Engineering, or Sustainable Building Design and Construction), background, and individual interests. Cross-disciplinary study is encouraged. Our program has served many RPCVs and we value their unique attributes and commitment to service.

We welcome applicants from a broad range of backgrounds who seek to move to a new level of intellectual and professional achievement. Our graduate students have served as lead investigators in renewable energy research and outreach projects, as project managers in competitions such as the USDOE Race to Zero, and through outreach to agencies like Habitat for Humanity. We invite you to become part of this dynamic and engaged community of learners! 

Benefits for Coverdell Fellows

Tuition/fees for Complete Program Value of Coverdell Fellowship Net cost *
In state $ 15,442 $ 18,000 $ 0 + You receive additional benefits.
Out of state $ 41,780 $ 44,338 $ 0 + You receive additional benefits.
* Net cost is equal to tuition/fees minus fellowship value. For some universities, the fellowship value includes non-tuition/fee benefits such as health insurance or housing—see the first point below for more details.

Where the cost savings value of the Coverdell Fellowship comes from

20-hour-per-week research assistantship; additional scholarships available for eligible applicants based on UGPA, GRE scores, and statement of goals. Eligible out-of-state students receive a North Carolina Tuition Scholarship, which covers the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition. 

Fellowships awarded per year (average)


Other benefits or opportunities

The university and the department have competitive scholarships available for graduate students. In addition there are diversity scholarships, and the possibility of higher-paying research assistantships (at this time, $13,000 per year compared to the standard $9,000 per year). 

Annual cost of living (estimated)

$ 14,000

Application fee waived?



Although a variety of internship options working with underserved American communities are possible, we have partnership agreements with two such organizations for Coverdell Fellows. The first organization is Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture, which has committed to providing a multi-faceted internship experience that will include working with its CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training) program, the Watauga Food Council, and the Watauga Seed Library. In addition, the intern will assist with the HomeGrown Workshop series, which serves aspiring, beginning, and experienced farmers in the Appalachian region. Our second internship partner commitment is with Habitat for Humanity of the Catawba Valley, which serves the foothills area of North Carolina’s Appalachian region. Habitat interns will be engaged in project management activities related to design and construction of energy-efficient homes for underserved families in the region. Other internship partners might include High Country Community Supported Agriculture and WAMY Community Action (which provides energy efficiency services for low-income homeowners), among others.

Fellows will complete a minimum 150-hour internship, earning three hours of graduate credit.

Jobs for program alumni

Graduates work in a variety of professional capacities, as project managers, design engineers, research associates, sustainability directors, and more. A sampling of employers of recent graduates includes Schneider Electric, North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association, Cypress Creek Renewables, Strata Solar, Duke Energy, Steven Winter Associates, Western Carolina University, Alaska Center for Energy and Power, U.S. Department of Energy, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Lowe’s Home Improvement, ICF International, North Carolina Energy Efficiency Alliance, and Sigora Solar.

Other details

Program length

1.5 to 2 years

Application requirements

GRE scores

College transcripts

Three letters of reference

Statement of goals

Admissions process

In the statement of goals, indicate that you are applying as a Coverdell Fellow. Once applications are completed they are released for departmental review, and applicants are generally notified within 2-3 weeks of their acceptance to the MS Program and as a Coverdell Fellow. 

Program begins

Mid August and Mid January

Non-traditional options

Approximately 30% of graduate courses are offered in the evenings. Fellows must maintain full-time status of nine semester hours (with a maximum of twelve semester hours) per term. 

Year Coverdell Fellows partnership started



Marie Hoepfl, Professor and Graduate Program Director

Katherine Harper Hall ASU Box 32122
Appalachian State University
Boone, North Carolina 28608