Where to Begin

If you are interested in the RESS program, but aren't quite sure where to start or how to go about figuring out what to do next, read on - you are in the right place!

First - consider your options

There are several paths that you can take as part of the RESS program. Depending on your background or situation, consider one of these possibilities:

  • Professional Master's Program: This is the 32-credit program that gives you a Penn State Professional Master's degree in Renewable Energy and Sustainability Systems. Admission to this highly regarded program is competitive, and completion of the degree is a distinct achievement that will set you apart in the workplace. As part of this degree, you will be able to select an “option” whereby you focus your studies on one of four RESS tracks: bioenergy, solar energy, sustainability management & policy, or wind energy. Your final course for the degree involves completing a semester-long capstone project that synthesizes your skills as a RESS student.
  • Graduate Certificate: Many people find that they need advanced education in Renewable Energy and Sustainability Systems but are not in a position to pursue a full master's degree. That's where the RESS Graduate Certificates come in. These certificates require completion of 3 or 4 prescribed courses in a specific subject area and result in an official graduate certificate from the university. Graduate certificates are in Bioenergy, Solar Energy, Sustainability & Management Policy, and Wind.
  • Single Courses: Register as a "non-degree student" for a single course. Without committing to a multi-year program, learn how to balance your schedule with a single graduate course and decide whether the RESS program is a good fit for you.

Keep in mind that it is possible to apply to the full master's degree after completing a graduate certificate, or even after completing one or two courses as a "non-degree" student. Also, it is possible to apply for the graduate certificate even if you have already taken one or two of the certificate courses as a "non-degree" student.

Second - Ask some questions

You probably have some questions at this point. We'd love to hear them! Whether it's about scheduling, course content, finances, or some other issue, you can email us at info@ress.psu.edu.

You may also want to take a look at the class schedule to see which courses are offered, and when. While you are on that page, click on a course name to see the syllabus for that course.

The credits and options page gives more information about the program curriculum, including an example schedule for students. The RESS FAQ pageis another great place to learn more about the program.

Third - Go for it!

If you're ready to apply to the RESS program, then great! Step-by-step instructions on applying for the Master's or Graduate Certificate can be found on our "Apply" page. If you would like to register for a single course as a "non-degree" student, see "Taking a Single RESS Course."