Penn State debuts online renewable energy and sustainability systems degree

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Interest in renewable energy is growing worldwide and so are jobs in this field, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s green economy occupations database. Penn State, which is ranked first among universities engaged in alternative energy research by Elsevier Publishing, is bringing together faculty from multiple academic units to help train renewable energy leaders and will launch an online master’s degree in renewable energy and sustainability systems starting this fall.

“The new Intercollege Master of Professional Studies in Renewable Energy and Sustainability Systems (iMPS-RESS) is designed to prepare professionals to lead the world’s transformation from an unsustainable, fossil energy economy to a renewable, sustainable basis of operation,” said Ali Demirci, professor of agricultural and biological engineering and iMPS-RESS academic program chair.

Academic units involved in this program include the colleges of Agricultural Sciences (lead academic unit), Earth and Mineral Sciences (lead administrative unit), Engineering and the Liberal Arts; and the departments of agricultural and biological engineering, aerospace engineering, architectural engineering, chemical engineering, ecosystem science and management, energy and mineral engineering, marketing and plant science. Penn State’s World Campus will deliver the degree online.

Daniel Ciolkosz, academic program coordinator for iMPS-RESS, said, “This program is focused on giving students the technical expertise and advanced project management skills they will need to effectively create or manage successful renewable and sustainable energy systems. Options in bioenergy, sustainability management and policy, solar energy and wind energy will allow students to tailor the degree to their career goals.”

The program will provide students with foundational knowledge in renewable energy and sustainability systems. It includes one course on energy markets, policy and regulation. Students also will complete a management and design project. Program options will provide specialized, technical knowledge.

“We are very excited about this new degree,” said Ann Taylor, director of the John A. Dutton e-Education Institute, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, and administrative program manager for iMPS-RESS. “We are creating a virtual program office to provide a single point of contact for students and developing a unified learning design for courses to give students a consistent experience.”

Applications are now being accepted for Penn State’s online renewable energy and sustainability systems degree. Inquiries also may be sent by email to

Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated August 14, 2013