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Where to Begin

If you are interested in the RESS program, but aren't quite sure where to start, read on:

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 33-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.  Your final course for the degree involves completing a semester-long capstone project that synthesizes your skills as a RESS student. Most students are able to finish Professional Master's degree in 2-2.5 years.
  • Graduate Certificate: If you need advanced education in Renewable Energy and Sustainability Systems, but are not yet ready to commit for the full Master's degree, consider RESS Graduate Certificates. Two available certificate programs require completion of 4 prescribed courses (12 credits) in a specific subject area. Currently RESS offers Graduate Certificates in Solar Energy and Sustainability Management and Policy. You can complete a Graduate Certificate within a year.
  • Single Courses: If you are just interested in a single course, you can enroll as a non-degree student. Without committing to multiple semesters of coursework, learn how to balance your schedule with a single graduate course and decide whether the degree RESS program is a good fit for you. Each course is 12-15 weeks long.

Keep in mind that you can still apply to the full Master's degree after completing the Graduate Certificate, or after completing one or two courses as a "non-degree" student. In that case, all your collected credits will apply to your Master's.

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

The RESS FAQ page is another great place to learn more about the program.

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.

Third - Go for it!

If you're ready to apply to the RESS program, then great! Click on the link below to access the World Campus RESS page and start the process.


If you would like to register for a single course as a "non-degree" student, see "Taking a Single RESS Course."