Renewable Energy and Sustainability Systems (RESS) Master's and Certificate Programs

Renewable Energy and Sustainability Systems (RESS) Master's and Certificate Programs Policy changes, technological advances, and an increased awareness of the world's resources are creating a growing need around the globe for advanced expertise in renewable and sustainability systems. There is an urgent need to prepare professionals who can serve as leaders of the emerging "green" economy.

Penn State's RESS programs deliver world-class, interdisciplinary education to professionals in the fields of renewable energy and sustainability that empowers them to lead the transformation of our nation's economy to a renewable, sustainable basis of operation. Options are available in Sustainability Management and Policy and Solar Energy. Much of the course content for the RESS program is available here as part of our Open Educational Resources.

Geography of Water Resources

Course Description

Geography 431 is designed to further understanding of the natural processes of aquatic ecosystems, management of water resources, and threats to sustaining water quantity. Develop awareness and appreciation of the perspectives about water as a precious resource, commodity, and sometimes hazard. Learn how and why water is distributed unevenly around the Earth. Examine how resource management decisions are strongly related to water availability, quantity, and quality.

Advanced Energy Policy

Course Description

Energy policy is typically evolutionary as opposed to revolutionary. We can look to historical policies to understand how we've inherited the policies governing our energy use today. But looking backward only tells us part of the story. In the face of climate change, we need to look ahead and instead envision a more revolutionary change to our energy systems and the policies that govern them. This class takes you on that journey to energy policies past, present, and future.

Course Description

Are you prepared to find strategic opportunities for sustainability-driven innovation within your business or organization? This engaging course will prepare you to do just that. BA 850 will give you the tools and practical experience needed to discern consumer and organizational needs related to sustainability, to create unique offerings to meet sustainability needs, and to develop innovative processes necessary to test and refine sustainable solutions.

Solar Resource Assessment and Economics

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.

Energy in a Changing World

Course Description

What is energy? It's the hot in heat, the glow in light, the push in wind, the pound in water, the sound of thunder and the crack of lightening. It is the pull that keeps us (and everything else!) from simply flying apart, and the promise of an oak deep in an acorn. It is all the same, and it is all different. Sunshine and waterfalls won't start your car, and wind won't run the dishwasher. But, if we match the form and timing of the energy with your needs, all of these things could be true.

Global Energy Enterprise

Course Description

Have you seen a Clean Coal baseball cap? In the challenge to meet soaring energy demand with limited resources, volatile issues like those related to the environment, national security and public health are often addressed outside of normal market transactions and are called externalities, or nonmarket factors. Stakeholders can act in resourceful ways to create a nonmarket environment that best serves their interest. A firm may challenge a law that makes it expensive or difficult to do business or compete with others, for example.

Energy Industry Applications of GIS

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.

From Meteorology to Mitigation: Understanding Global Warming

Course Description

Human-caused climate change represents one of the great environmental challenges of our time. As it is inextricably linked with issues of energy policy, a familiarity with the fundamentals of climate change is critical for those looking to careers in the energy field. To appreciate the societal, environmental, and economic implications of policies governing greenhouse gas emissions, one must understand the basic underlying science. METEO 469 serves to lay down the fundamental scientific principles behind climate change and global warming.

Human Use of the Environment

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.

Technologies for Sustainability Systems

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.

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Course Spotlight

From Meteorology to Mitigation: Understanding Global Warming (METEO 469) - learn about the fundamentals of climate change and its impact on societal, environmental, and economic policies. Visit the course.

Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Richard Alley

Dr. Richard Alley has been with us since the beginning, with one of our first OPEN courses - Geology of the National Parks. See what he has to say about the OPEN.ED effort over ten years later.