two fingers touching behind a lightbulb

Credit: Home Energy by George Hodan is licensed under CC0 1.0

Course Description

Our world runs on energy - without it, things come to a screeching halt, as the recent hurricanes have shown. Ever stop to wonder what our energy future is? What are our options for energy, and what are the associated economic and climatic implications? In "Energy and the Environment" we explore these questions, which together represent one of the great challenges of our time - providing energy for high quality of life and economic growth while avoiding dangerous climate change.

Human Dimensions of Global Warming

Credit: Sunny Day Tidal Flood by User B137 is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Course Description

GEOG 438W is a writing-intensive course that concentrates on the human-environment interactions involved in contemporary and future global warming. The course comprises two broad topical areas: global warming impacts, which takes place in the first half of the course, and global warming mitigation and policy, which encompasses the second half of the course. Each week highlights a theme, such as the impacts of climate change on human health or greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, that weaves through the course lecture, reading assignment, class discussion, and writing activity.

Course Description

EMSC 302 provides an orientation of the Energy and Sustainability Policy (ESP) degree program, preparing students for further study in the five program learning outcome areas: energy industry knowledge, global perspective, analytical skills, communication skills, and sustainability ethics. It also provides an introduction to the basic skills necessary to be successful in higher-ed online learning, including communication and library skills.

Energy Policy

Credit: Purple Flowers by winterseitler is licensed under CC0

Course Description

Energy policy sits at the crossroads of science and policy. And now, energy and climate policy are inextricably linked; the policies we choose have very real consequences for our climate. This intersection of science and policy is chaotic and bustles with activity motivated by various competing (and conflicting) interests and factors. We must understand the motivations driving them and bridge the divides between our reliance on fossil fuels and our need to transition to less carbon-intensive and renewable alternatives.

Course Description

EME 812 explores the main physical principles of core solar energy conversion systems, including direct power conversion photovoltaics, concentrating photovoltaics (CPV), and thermal conversion to electricity via concentrating solar power strategies (CSP). It also covers the fundamentals of enabling technologies such as light concentration, solar tracking, power conversion cycles, power conditioning and distribution.

Solar Resource Assessment and Economics

Credit: Photovoltaic System by andreas160578 is licensed under CC0

Course Description

Are you interested in Solar Energy? Solar Resource Assessment and Economics explores the methods, economic criteria, and meteorological background for assessing the solar resource with respect to project development of solar energy conversion systems for stakeholders in a given locale. It provides students with an in-depth exploration of the physical qualities of the solar resource, estimation of the fractional contributions of irradiance to total demand, and economic assessment of the solar resource.

Sustainability and Non-Market Enterprise

Credit: White Windmill by fxxu is licensed under CC0

Course Description

The primary goal of this course is to provide a toolset for characterizing and strategizing how nonmarket forces can shape current and future renewable energy markets. The course approaches the exploration and explanation of key concepts in renewable energy and sustainability nonmarket strategies through evidence-based examples. Main topics for the course include: a sociological approach to markets, renewable energy markets, nonmarket conditions, complex systems analysis, and renewable energy technology and business environments.

Course Description

EME 807 overviews a wide range of contemporary technologies in the context of sustainability and examines metrics for their assessment. The course explores the main principles that guide modern science and technology towards sustainable solutions. It covers such topics as resource management technologies, waste and wastewater treatment, renewable energy technologies, high performance buildings and transportation systems, application of informatics and feedback to sustainable systems, and more.

Energy Industry Applications of GIS

Credit: Stormast by Inactive account 127071 is licensed under CC0

 

Course Description

Is Energy and GIS your passion? If so, Energy Industry Applications of GIS provides students with an in-depth exploration of the complexities of siting decisions in the electricity market. The course introduces a variety of siting challenges that confront the energy industry and its customers and neighbors but focuses on the siting of electrical transmission lines. The course also provides hands-on experience with a common decision support technology, ArcGIS, and considers how the technology may be used to facilitate public participation in siting decisions.

Human Use of the Environment

Credit: Green 2558976 by StockSnap is licensed under CC0

Course Description

Geography 430 is an active, creative learning community focused around understanding the changing relationships between people and their environments, the causes and consequences of environmental degradation, strategies for building a more sustainable world, and the methods and approaches that scholars have used to understand human-environment interactions.

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Course Spotlight

pile of maps

Cartography and Visualization (GEOG 486) covers design principles and techniques for creating maps with contemporary mapping tools. Students will be introduced to future-focused application topics such as augmented and virtual reality, mapping with multivariate glyphs, the visual depiction of uncertainty, interactive geovisualization, and (geo)visual analytics, and decision-making with maps and mapping products. Visit the course.

Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Fritz Kessler

Dr. Fritz Kessler has taught various online courses in the Master's of Geographic Information Systems at Penn State since 2007. He's also an avid cyclist and musician. Learn more about Dr. Kessler, see what he has to say about online education, and hear him play a tune on the mandolin.