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New bachelor of science degree to prepare students for changing energy field

A new bachelor of science degree in energy and sustainability policy is being offered online by Penn State’s College of Earth and Mineral Sciences through Penn State World Campus.
November 1, 2016

A new bachelor of science degree in energy and sustainability policy will prepare students for careers in the rapidly evolving field of energy policy.

The new degree is being offered online by Penn State’s College of Earth and Mineral Sciences through Penn State World Campus.

The 120-credit degree program will prepare students to work with a variety of types of organizations — from commercial firms to regulatory agencies to nonprofit advocacy groups, said Vera Cole, the lead faculty member of the degree program.

“The energy field is growing and changing quickly,” Cole said. “The more we understand about climate change, the more we realize that our businesses and markets need to adapt. This degree will position our graduates to influence business and market decisions and help lead sustainability efforts in the U.S. and worldwide.”

"The more we understand about climate change, the more we realize that our businesses and markets need to adapt."

-- Vera Cole, faculty lead, energy and sustainability policy degree

Cole said the new program dovetails with Penn State’s emphasis on being a leader in the management and stewardship of natural resources, including clean and accessible energy. The program aims to inspire students to consider how local decisions have far-reaching effects.

World Campus already offers a bachelor of arts in energy and sustainability policy. Core courses within both programs help students achieve a solid understanding of the energy industry. In the bachelor of science program, students take additional courses in areas closely related to the major, while students in the bachelor of arts program take coursework in global culture and the humanities, as well as a foreign language. Past students have gone on to careers in energy project development, policy planning and analysis, and energy efficiency and waste reduction, Cole said.

Courses typically include a mix of students who are already working in the energy field, both in conventional fossil fuel-based and renewable energy, and others from outside the field.

“Students in our courses are highly engaged, often sharing and learning from one another’s experiences in an enriching and meaningful way,” Cole said.

Like all World Campus programs, the new degree program is set up to be flexible for adult learners and offers the possibility of credit for prior coursework, Cole said.

For more information, visit the World Campus website.

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