Credits and Options

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The iMPS-RESS degree is conferred upon students who earn a minimum of 32 credits of approved courses that meet the program's curriculum requirements.  Students must maintain an average grade-point average of 3.0 or better in all course work, including at least 18 credits at the 500 level or above (with at least 6 credits at the 500 level).  The program curriculum includes 11 credits of core courses, 9-12 credits of a selected option (or an advisor-approved course of study), 6-9 credits of electives, and a 3-credit capstone course (ABE 589).

While not required to do so, students may choose from one of four program options that provide specialized technical instruction in various aspects of renewable energy and sustainability systems:

Students who opt to not select an option must design their curriculum based on specific program rules. For details, scroll to the bottom of this page to the section titled "No Option for RESS Master's Students." 

Sample Programs of Study

While there is not a single, prescribed way one must progress through the program, students typically begin either by completing a program option or by completing the program's core courses first. Below are illustrations of both paths through the program. You will work with your advisor to create your actual schedule.  

Our programs operate on a 12-15 week “northern hemisphere” semester basis:

  • Fall: August through December
  • Spring: January through May
  • Summer: May through August

The typical student course load is expected to be three to four courses per year. It is strongly recommended that students initially take no more than one course at a time. At the rate of three three-credit courses in one year, a student can complete the iMPS-RESS Degree in about four years.

Program progression for students starting with option courses, then moving on to core courses

Program progression for students starting with option courses, then moving on to core courses
  Bioenergy Option Solar Energy Option Sustainability Mgmt & Policy Option Wind Energy Option
YEAR 1 ABE 884
Biomass Energy Systems
EME 810
Solar Resource Assessment and Economics
BA 850
Sustainability Driven Innovation
AERSP 583
Wind Turbine Aerodynamics
FOR 880
Bioenergy Feedstocks
SOLAR COURSE #2
(see list below)
EME 803
Applied Energy Policy
AERSP 880
Wind Turbine Systems
ABE 888
Conversion Technologies for Bioenergy Production
SOLAR COURSE #3
(see list below)
EME 805
Renewable Energy and Nonmarket Enterprise
AERSP 886
Engineering of Wind Project Development
YEAR 2 ABE 885
Biomass Harvest and Logistics
AE 878
Solar Project Development and Finance
EME 807
Technologies for Sustainability Systems
WIND ELECTIVE
(see below)
EME 802
Renewable and Sustainable Energy Systems
EME 504
Sustainability Systems
YEAR 3 BIOET 533
Ethical Dimensions of RESS
EME 801
Energy Markets, Policy, and Regulation
ELECTIVE #1
(see below)
YEAR 4 ELECTIVE #2
(see below)
ABE 589
Management and Design of RESS
Degree complete!  Well done!

Program progression for students starting with core courses, then moving on to option courses

Program progression for students starting with core courses, then moving on to option courses
  Bioenergy Option Solar Energy Option Sustainability Mgmt & Policy Option Wind Energy Option
YEAR 1 EME 802
Renewable and Sustainable Energy Systems
EME 504
Sustainability Systems
BIOET 533
Ethical Dimensions of RESS
YEAR 2 EME 801
Energy Markets, Policy, and Regulation
ABE 884
Biomass Energy Systems
EME 810
Solar Resource Assessment and Economics
BA 850
Sustainability Driven Innovation
AERSP 583
Wind Turbine Aerodynamics
FOR 880
Bioenergy Feedstocks
SOLAR COURSE #2
(see list below)
EME 803
Applied Energy Policy
AERSP 880
Wind Turbine Systems
YEAR 3 ABE 888
Conversion Technologies for Bioenergy Production
SOLAR COURSE #3
(see list below)
EME 805
Renewable Energy and Nonmarket Enterprise
AERSP 886
Engineering of Wind Project Development
ABE 885
Biomass Harvest and Logistics
AE 878
Solar Project Development and Finance
EME 807
Technologies for Sustainability Systems
WIND ELECTIVE
(see below)
ELECTIVE #1
(see below)
YEAR 4 ELECTIVE #2
(see below)
ABE 589
Management and Design of RESS
Degree complete!  Well done!

Notes:

  • Solar Course #2 and #3 are to be selected from the following four courses:  AE 862: Distributed Energy Planning and Management; AE 868: Commercial Solar Electric Systems; EME 811: Solar Thermal Energy for Utilities and Industry; EME 812: Utility Solar Power and Concentration.
  • "Wind Elective" is an additional elective course to be selected in consultation with your advisor.
  • Elective #1 and Elective #2 are additional courses in renewable energy or related fields that enhance the quality of your degree program.  There are some electives available across the RESS course options (see electives lists within the option descriptions), and courses offered online in other programs may also be used to fulfill this requirement.  Please see your advisor for more details.

"No Option" for RESS Master's Students

If you choose to not select an option for specialization, you will need to build your curriculum carefully, and you should seek advice from your faculty advisor as you go about this process.  Several RESS option courses are reserved only for students in that option.  Therefore, as a "no option" student, your choices are somewhat more limited.  It might be in your best interest to reconsider selecting an option, in order to gain program access for more course.  

RESS Students that do not select an option are required to take the following core courses:

  • EME 504 Foundations in Sustainability Systems (3 cr.)
  • EME 801 Energy Markets, Policy and Regulation (3 cr.)
  • EME 802 Renewable and Sustainable Energy Systems (3 cr.)
  • BIOET 533 Ethical Dimensions of Renewable Energy and Sustainability Systems (2 cr.)
  • ABE 589 Management and Design of Renewable Energy and Sustainability Systems (3 cr.)

In addition, students must select 18 credits from the following list:

  • A B E 884 Biomass Energy Systems (3 cr.)
  • A E 862. Distributed Energy Planning and Management (3 cr.)
  • EME 803. Applied Energy Policy (3 cr.)
  • EME 810. Solar Resource Assessment and Economics (3 cr.)
  • EME 812. Utility Solar Power and Concentration (3 cr.)
  • MANGT 510. Project Management (3 cr.)* - see note below
  • SCM 800. Supply Chain Management (4 cr.)*

Courses marked with an asterisk (*) are offered by programs other than the RESS program.  Student permission and course availability will depend on the program offering the course.    Additional courses, including "independent study" may be available as well.  

Note - MANGT 510 is available on a "space available" basis no more than one month prior to the start of the semester.  To register, please contact World Campus Registration at Phone: 814-863-5256, Email: registration@outreach.psu.edu 

In addition to the above pre-approved electives, the following courses, offered by programs other than RESS, may also be possible as electives, based on discussion with your advisor and approval of the program chair:
  • AGRO 851: Applied Plant Population Management
  • BRS 896: Individual Studies
  • CEDEV 430: Principles of Local Economic Development**
  • CEDEV 452: Community Structure, Processes and Capacity**
  • CEDEV 500: Community and Economic Development: Theory and Practice**
  • CEDEV 505: Leadership Development**
  • CEDEV 509: Population, Land Use, and Municipal Finance**
  • CEDEV 567: Resilient Communities and Environments**
  • CEDEV 575: Methods and Techniques for Community and Economic Development**
  • EBF 483: Introduction to the Electricity Industry
  • EME 401: Energy in a Changing World
  • EME 444: Global Energy Enterprise
  • GEOG 430: Human Use of the Environment
  • GEOG 431: Geography of Water Resources
  • GEOG 469: Energy Industry Applications of GIS
  • METEO 469: From Meteorology to Mitigation: Understanding Global Warming
Courses marked with two asterisks (**)  require registration by contacting the office for that program, rather than using the university's registration system.  
 
If you have questions about selecting "No Option" for the RESS program, please contact Daniel Ciolkosz, RESS Academic Program Coordinator, at dec109@psu.edu.