Credits and costs
Bachelor of Arts in Energy and Sustainability Policy
Our global economy relies heavily on an abundant and consistent supply of energy. With a Bachelor of Arts in Energy and Sustainability Policy (ESP), you can gain the knowledge and skills to research, analyze, and communicate diverse information about emerging global trends in energy policy, technologies, and economics.
As a student in the program, you can:
- acquire technical knowledge of energy use (both conventional and renewable) and its environmental implications
- gain valuable analytical and communication skills
- develop strong collaboration skills needed to facilitate stakeholder interactions on matters related to energy, sustainability, and related policies
- strengthen your global perspective through studies related to foreign language and world cultures
- expand your knowledge in areas of interest beyond your major
Graduates will be prepared to act as agents for stakeholders — facilitating communications, design, and planning between the executive wing and operations wing of various organizations, including commercial firms, government agencies, nonprofits, regulatory and advocacy bodies, and energy trade groups.
The Penn State Difference
The ESP program at Penn State is one of the few online programs in the country that focuses specifically on policy within the realm of energy and sustainability. Our program is all-inclusive, covering all forms of energy with policy serving as the program's nexus.
In addition to instilling a strong sustainability ethic, we integrate an international perspective into the program, so you can gain knowledge of international, social, cultural, and political dimensions of energy and sustainability considerations on a global scale.
Your Online Bachelor of Arts Curriculum
This interdisciplinary program integrates course work in energy security, sustainability management, foreign and domestic energy, and sustainability policy analysis. As a student, you will also gain a well-rounded education that emphasizes communication skills (including foreign language), global cultures, and humanities.
A Degree to Meet Your Needs: B.S. or B.A.
The Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in Energy and Sustainability Policy are both 120-credit programs, with the same General Education requirements and the same prescribed course work. In the B.S. program, students select additional course work in areas closely related to the major. In the B.A. program, the focus is expanded to allow students to select a foreign language and take supporting course work in global culture and humanities. In choosing which program best meets individual needs, students are encouraged to consider personal interests and strengths, professional aspirations, and plans for graduate school. For those with prior learning experience, the applicability of earlier course work to degree requirements may also be a consideration.
Military Grant-in-Aid Benefits for ESP Students
The Military Grant-in-Aid is an undergraduate program that brings our tuition rate closer to the Department of Defense cap, making a Penn State World Campus–quality education more affordable to our military students and spouses. More details, including Grant-in-Aid forms, can be found on the Military Grants and Scholarships page.
The Bachelor of Arts in Energy and Sustainability Policy (ESP) is designed for students with various education and professional experiences. The program course work will cover a variety of topics, including the energy industry and the domestic and global impact it has on the environment, and foreign and domestic policy, as well as corporate and community sustainability initiatives. Because of this, our graduates are able to pursue careers in both corporate and governmental organizations. Others may continue their education and work toward a master’s or doctoral degree.
Please note that some courses in the ESP program require students to maintain a web presence, which may include creating a web page, blog posting, video sharing, and other internet participation. ESP students may be required to participate in online activities that are widely accessible to the public, including audiences outside of the Penn State community.
The course list includes only courses offered by World Campus. An official degree audit or the recommended academic plan for this program may include additional course options and detailed requirements. All students are expected to complete at least 36 credits at Penn State to earn this degree. Please consult an academic adviser for details.
Prescribed Courses (62 credits)
Additional Courses (select 6 credits)
Engaged Scholarship: Internships and Foreign Studies
Penn State was selected by the Carnegie Foundation for its 2015 Community Engagement Classification, an honor resulting from our commitment to providing students with at least one outside-the-classroom engagement opportunity that impacts our community. Every student in the ESP program takes part in this type of international study experience (EGEE 299) or domestic internship (EGEE 495). You will work with faculty to design a meaningful opportunity that complements your professional aspirations and busy schedule.
Electives (select 8 credits)
8 credits chosen in consultation with an adviser.
Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements
Some Bachelor of Arts requirements may be satisfied by courses required for the major, General Education courses, or electives. Students should work with an adviser to select courses.
- Foreign Language: 0–12 credits
Student must attain 12th credit level of proficiency in one foreign language.
- B.A. Fields: 9 credits
Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Arts, Foreign Languages, Natural Sciences, Quantification (cannot be taken in the area of the student's primary major; foreign language credits in this category must be in a second foreign language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the first language)
- Other Cultures: 0–3 credits
Select 3 credits from approved list. Students may count courses in this category in order to meet other major, minor, elective, or General Education requirements, except for the General Education US/IL requirement.
General Education Requirements
Some General Education requirements may be satisfied by courses required for the major. Students should work with an adviser to select courses.
- Arts (GA): 6 credits
- Humanities (GH): 6 credits
- Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
- Natural Sciences (GN): 9 credits
- Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 6 credits
- Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits
A student must receive a grade of C or better in GWS courses.
- Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
A student must receive a grade of C or better in GQ courses.
- Integrative Studies: 6 credits
This requirement only applies to students starting in summer 2018 or later. Learn more about the Integrative Studies options and consult your academic adviser when choosing courses to fulfill these requirements. Integrative Studies credits may be completed within the thirty Knowledge Domain credits and must be completed with either Inter-domain or Linked courses, not a combination of both.
If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search (opens in new window) to start planning ahead.
Costs and Financial Aid
Undergraduate tuition is calculated based on the number of credits for which you register and the number of total credits you have accrued at or transferred to Penn State. Tuition is due shortly after each semester begins and rates are assessed every semester of enrollment.
|How many credits do you plan to take per semester?||If you have 59 or fewer credits||If you have 60 or more credits|
|11 or fewer||$620 per credit||$664 per credit|
|12 or more||$7,527 per semester||$8,125 per semester|
Financial Aid and Military Benefits
Some students may qualify for financial aid. Take the time to research financial aid, scholarships, and payment options as you prepare to apply. Military service members, veterans, and their spouses or dependents should explore these potential military education benefits and financial aid opportunities, as well.
How to Apply
Deadlines and Important Dates
Your degree application, including receipt of all transcripts, must be received by the following deadlines to be considered complete.
- Fall Deadline: Apply by June 30 to start August 21
- Spring Deadline: Apply by October 31 to start January 8
- Summer Deadline: Apply by March 15, 2024, to start May 13, 2024
New students are encouraged to complete the FAFSA by March 1. Please visit the Office of Student Aid website for more information about applying for financial aid and recommended deadlines.
Thank you for your interest in applying to this program. Contact an admissions counselor to discuss your educational goals, financial aid options, and application deadlines.
To apply for this program, you must be a high school graduate or have completed your GED.
If you have prior college experience, please contact the energy and sustainability program for more information about how your previous course work may work within the degree requirements (if applicable).
What You Need
Applications are submitted electronically and include a nonrefundable application fee. You will need the following items to complete your application:
High school transcripts or GED transcript — First-year applicants are required to submit Self-Reported Academic Records (SRAR). Official high school transcripts will only be required at the time a student accepts an offer of admission to Penn State.
Official college or university transcripts, if you attended another institution, and/or official military transcripts (if applicable) — All college or university transcripts are required regardless of the length of time that has passed, the grades earned, or the accreditation of the institutions attended. Acceptance of transfer credit toward your degree is subject to final approval by the academic department. For detailed information, see the Transfer Students page.
Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation. Please send your transcripts by mail or electronically through Parchment, eScrip-Safe, or the National Student Clearinghouse directly to Penn State from the college/university where course work was attempted.
Submit official documents by mail to:
Undergraduate Admissions Office
The Pennsylvania State University
201 Shields Building
University Park, PA 16802
English Proficiency — The language of instruction at Penn State is English. With some exceptions, international applicants must take and submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Minimum test scores and exceptions are found in the English Language Proficiency section on the Undergraduate Admissions International Requirements page. Visit the TOEFL website for testing information. Penn State's institutional code is 2660.
Start Your Application
Former Penn State students may not need to complete the admissions application. Please visit our Returning Students page for instructions.
If this is your first time applying to Penn State, you'll need to complete the following steps:
- Review the application instructions before beginning.
- Complete the online application and submit all official documents.
- Pay the application fee.
Checking Your Status
You can check the status of your application by using the same login information established for the online application form and choosing "MyPennState — Check Application Status." Your decision letter (confirming your acceptance or denial) will be mailed four to six weeks after receipt of all application materials. An admissions counselor will contact you if additional information is required.
Review the technical requirements for this degree program.
Get the resources you need to make informed decisions about your education. Request information on this program and other programs of interest by completing this form.
Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State bachelor's degree?
A Career in Sustainability
A Career in Sustainability
Within the past decade, new career opportunities have emerged as we have witnessed a worldwide power shift toward a more sustainable future. With a sustainability degree and the support of Penn State career services, you can be well prepared for career advancement in this growing field.
To learn more about the online Bachelor of Arts in Energy and Sustainability Policy, offered in partnership with the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, please contact:
Academic Program Office
2217 Earth & Engineering Sciences Building
University Park PA 16802
Phone (toll-free): 855-886-1951
Email: [email protected]
You may also visit the Energy and Sustainability Policy (ESP) program website within Penn State's College of Earth and Mineral Sciences.
DegreeM.S., Atmospheric Science, Penn State
DegreeB.S., Meteorology, Northern Illinois University
Danny Brouillette is a research atmospheric and climate scientist in Michael E. Mann's research group. His education and experience touch on traditional meteorology (including weather forecasting), applied climatology, basic climate science, the paleoclimate of the Holocene, the impacts of climate change on society, and applied statistics
DegreePh.D., Energy and Environmental Policy, University of Delaware
DegreeM.S., Geography, National Taiwan University
DegreeB.S., Geography, National Taiwan University
Dr. Wei-Ming Chen’s expertise is in energy research, especially energy transition, renewable energy and energy efficiency policies, and electricity markets. She is a 2022–23 AAAS Science and Technology Policy fellow at the U.S. Agency for International Development and served as an energy technical advisor. The position provides her with opportunities to enhance scientific and policy interaction in the federal government and help developing countries implement energy projects.
DegreePh.D., Geo-Environmental Engineering, Penn State
DegreeM.S., Geo-Environmental Engineering, Penn State
DegreeB.S., Geology, Moscow State University (Russia)
Dr. Mark Fedkin is an assistant teaching professor and lead faculty of the energy and sustainability policy program at Penn State. He is also a lead faculty in the renewable energy and sustainability systems graduate online program. He has worked for more than ten years for the Earth and Mineral Sciences Energy Institute, where he led experimental research on electrochemical energy systems and processes, including fuel cells, hydrogen technologies, electrophoresis, and corrosion in extreme environments. During his career as an experimentalist, Dr. Fedkin developed a number of methods and technologies for monitoring and sensing the environmental parameters in both simulated and natural settings.
DegreeM.A., International Affairs, The George Washington University
DegreeB.A., International Economics and Cultural Affairs, Valparaiso University
Matt Howard is an adjunct instructor in the energy and sustainability policy program area with nearly 20 years of work experience in the field. He has developed and run sustainable manufacturing programs at the federal and local levels. Matt has also served as the sustainability officer for a major U.S. city and managed its energy portfolio. He previously served on the National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology and currently works in the nonprofit sector addressing water security and sustainability issues.
DegreeM.A., Geography, University of Denver
DegreeB.S., Earth Science, Penn State
Daniel Kasper is an adjunct instructor in the energy and sustainability policy program. His teaching focus is on global energy issues, residential and commercial energy efficiency and conservation, political ecology, and general sustainability. The focus of his research and praxis is environmental and social justice, political ecology, energy efficiency and conservation, energy and sustainability policy, sustainable food production, and community gardening, with a particular focus on issues disproportionately impacting low income and otherwise marginalized communities.
DegreeM.S., Geography, Penn State
DegreeB.A., Environmental Studies and Geography, University of Pittsburgh
Brandi Robinson is an instructor for the energy and sustainability policy program as well as the renewable energy and sustainability systems master's program. She brings expertise in policy formation and analysis relative to carbon markets to her teaching, as well as local-scale greenhouse gas inventorying and mitigation strategy development.
DegreeMPS, Project Management, Penn State
DegreeB.S., Environmental Practice and Policy, Juniata College
Haley Sankey is an instructor and adviser for the energy and sustainability policy program, instructing EGEE 495: Internship Experience, EGEE 299: Foreign Studies, and EM SC 302: Orientation to Energy and Sustainability Policy. She also serves on the Commission for Adult Learners and the Student Engagement Network advisory board.