Energy and Sustainability Policy, B.A.

Program Code: ESPBA_BA

Entrance to Major

In order to be eligible for entrance to this major, a student must:

  1. attain at least a C (2.00) cumulative grade-point average for all courses taken at the University; and
  2. have third-semester classification.


Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Arts degree in Energy and Sustainability Policy, a minimum of 120 credits is required:

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Electives 8
Bachelor of Arts Requirements 24
Requirements for the Major 68

25 of the 45 credits for General Education are included in the Requirements for the Major. This includes: 6 credits of GN courses, 9 credits of GWS courses, 4 credits of GQ courses, and 6 credits of GS courses.

General Education

Connecting career and curiosity, the General Education curriculum provides the opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills necessary to be successful in the future and to thrive while living in interconnected contexts. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, a strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. These are requirements for all baccalaureate students and are often partially incorporated into the requirements of a program. For additional information, see the General Education Requirements section of the Bulletin and consult your academic adviser.

The keystone symbol Keystone/General Education Course appears next to the title of any course that is designated as a General Education course. Program requirements may also satisfy General Education requirements and vary for each program.

Foundations (grade of C or better is required.)

  • Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
  • Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits

Knowledge Domains

  • Arts (GA): 6 credits
  • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
  • Humanities (GH): 6 credits
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 6 credits
  • Natural Sciences (GN): 9 credits

Integrative Studies (may also complete a Knowledge Domain requirement)

  • Inter-Domain or Approved Linked Courses: 6 credits

University Degree Requirements

First Year Engagement

All students enrolled in a college or the Division of Undergraduate Studies at University Park, and the World Campus are required to take 1 to 3 credits of the First-Year Seminar, as specified by their college First-Year Engagement Plan.

Other Penn State colleges and campuses may require the First-Year Seminar; colleges and campuses that do not require a First-Year Seminar provide students with a first-year engagement experience.

First-year baccalaureate students entering Penn State should consult their academic adviser for these requirements.

Cultures Requirement    

6 credits are required and may satisfy other requirements

  • United States Cultures: 3 credits
  • International Cultures: 3 credits

Writing Across the Curriculum

3 credits required from the college of graduation and likely prescribed as part of major requirements.

Total Minimum Credits

A minimum of 120 degree credits must be earned for a baccalaureate degree. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 credits. Students should consult with their college or department adviser for information on specific credit requirements.

Quality of Work

Candidates must complete the degree requirements for their major and earn at least a 2.00 grade-point average for all courses completed within their degree program.

Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition

The college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. Credit used toward degree programs may need to be earned from a particular source or within time constraints (see Senate Policy 83-80). For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.

B.A. Degree Requirements

Foreign Language (0-12 credits): Student must attain 12th credit level of proficiency in one foreign language. See the Placement Policy for Penn State Foreign Language Courses.

B.A. Fields (9 credits): Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Arts, Foreign Languages, Natural Sciences, Quantification (may not 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.​

Requirements for the Major

To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn a grade of C or better in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.

Prescribed Courses
CAS 100Effective Speech Keystone/General Education Course3
ECON 102Introductory Microeconomic Analysis and Policy Keystone/General Education Course3
ECON 104Introductory Macroeconomic Analysis and Policy Keystone/General Education Course3
EGEE 120Oil: International Evolution Keystone/General Education Course3
EGEE 401Energy in a Changing World3
EMSC 240NEnergy and Sustainability in Contemporary Culture Keystone/General Education Course3
ENGL 15Rhetoric and Composition Keystone/General Education Course3
ENGL 202DEffective Writing: Business Writing Keystone/General Education Course3
PLSC 1American Politics: Principles, Processes and Powers Keystone/General Education Course3
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
EBF 200Introduction to Energy and Earth Sciences Economics Keystone/General Education Course3
EGEE 102Energy Conservation for Environmental Protection Keystone/General Education Course3
EME/GEOG 432Energy Policy3
EME 444Global Energy Enterprise3
EME 466Energy and Sustainability in Society3
EMSC 302Orientation to Energy and Sustainability Policy1
GEOG 30NEnvironment and Society in a Changing World Keystone/General Education Course3
GEOG 438WHuman Dimensions of Global Warming3
GEOG 469Energy Industry Applications of GIS3
METEO 469From Meteorology to Mitigation: Understanding Global Warming3
PLSC 490Policy Making and Evaluation3
STAT 200Elementary Statistics Keystone/General Education Course4
Additional Courses
EGEE 299Foreign Studies3
or EGEE 495 Internship
METEO 3Introductory Meteorology Keystone/General Education Course3
or METEO 101 Understanding Weather Forecasting Keystone/General Education Course

Program Learning Objectives

  1. Graduates will have broad and accurate business and technical knowledge of all major sectors of the energy industry, including conventional, alternative/renewable, and emerging technologies.
  2. Graduates will be able to quantify and explain the geographic distributions of energy resources, including reserve estimates, methodology and uncertainty.
  3. Graduates will be able to describe how global systems of energy production, distribution and consumption are linked with social and environmental systems.
  4. Graduates will be able to find, read, understand, interpret and synthesize evolving energy policy and regulations.
  5. Graduates will interpret legislative processes within state, federal and international governments, including the roles of regulators, non-governmental organizations and other advocacy groups.
  6. Graduates will be able to effectively explain to diverse audiences—orally, in writing, and through maps and other information graphics—the intended and unintended consequences of energy policy and regulation.
  7. Graduates will be able to bridge the gap between theory and practice, by applying the knowledge acquired through formal learning to real-world settings.

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university’s academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee’s unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.


University Park and World Campus

Haley Sankey
Lecturer and Adviser
415 Earth & Engineering Sciences Building
University Park, PA 16802

Suggested Academic Plan

The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2020-21 academic year. To access previous years' suggested academic plans, please visit the archive to view the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin edition (Note: the archive only contain suggested academic plans beginning with the 2018-19 edition of the Undergraduate Bulletin).

Energy and Sustainability Policy, B.A. at World Campus

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First YearCredits
EMSC 302 (orientation experience course)*1
ENGL 15 (GWS)‡†3
CAS 100 (GWS)‡†3
World Language level 14
Natural Sciences (GN) - elective3
Arts (GA) -- recommended LARCH 65 (GA, US/IL)3
Arts (GA) or Humanities (GH) -- recommended PHIL 103 (GH)3
Humanities (GH) -- recommended RLST 13
General Education Health and Wellness (GHW) -- elective3
Quantification (GQ) -- elective2
BA Fields course13
BA Fields course13
Second YearCredits
STAT 200 (GQ)*‡†4
World Language level 24
World Language level 34
ENGL 202D (GWS)‡†3
ECON 102 (GS)3
ECON 104 (GS)3
Other Cultures course3
BA Fields course13
Third YearCredits
EBF 200 (GS)*†3
EGEE 102 (GN)*†3
METEO 3 or 101 (GN)3
METEO 469*3
GEOG 30N (GN & GS; IL)*†3
EGEE 120 (GS, US/IL)3
PLSC 1 (GS)3
Fourth YearCredits
EME 444*3
GEOG 469*3
EGEE 4013
PLSC 490*3
EGEE 299 or 4953
GEOG 438W (Writing across the curriculum)*3
GEOG 432*3
EMSC 240N (GH & GN)3
EME 466 (capstone experience course)*3
Total Credits 125

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.

Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.

Bachelor of Arts Requirements:

Bachelor of Arts students must take 9 credits in Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Fields (Humanities; Social and Behavioral Sciences; Arts; World Languages [2nd language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the 1st]; Natural Sciences; Quantification). The B.A. Fields courses may not be taken in the area of the student’s primary major. See your adviser and the Degree Requirements section of this Bulletin.

Bachelor of Arts students must take 3 credits in Other Cultures.
See your adviser and the full list of courses approved as Other Cultures courses.

Advising Notes:

Students should work closely with their academic adviser in planning course sequencing in the ESPBA major.  While the Bulletin only permits the listing of courses as "years"  (ex:  first-year, second-year, etc.), ESP prefers to discuss the courses in this way:  Orientation Experience (EMSC 302, 1 credit, listed in the First-Year); Stage 1 -- Build Foundations (the remaining courses listed in First-Year); Stage 2 -- Formulate Understanding (courses listed in Second-Year); Stage 3 -- Generate Expertise (courses listed in Third-Year); Stage 4 -- Culminate Experience (the courses listed in Fourth-Year); and Capstone Experience (EME 466, 3 credits, the last course listed in Fourth-Year).  

Career Paths

Students enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts in Energy and Sustainability Policy degree program can gain the knowledge and skills needed to provide research, analysis, and communication about technical and policy-related issues central to an in-depth understanding of energy and sustainability policy. Topics include energy supply, demand, and environmental impact; sustainability management; and foreign and domestic energy and sustainability policy. Graduates’ knowledge and skills are valued by many types of organizations, including commercial firms, government agencies, public utilities, regulatory bodies, nonprofit and advocacy groups, and energy and trade organizations.


Employment opportunities for graduates with a Bachelor of Arts in Energy and Sustainability Policy are broad and include a wide range of staff, management, and leadership positions, such as sustainability specialist, legislative or regulatory affairs coordinator, permitting and compliance specialist, public relations representative, and many more.


Opportunities for Graduate Studies

The Bachelor of Arts in Energy and Sustainability Policy is an interdisciplinary program designed to examine crucial issues facing our twenty-first century society, including climate change, economic stability, and energy resource security. Graduates may pursue advanced degrees leading to careers in education, law, or business administration, and many other related areas.



University Park

2217 Earth & Engineering Sciences Building
University Park, PA 16802

World Campus

2217 Earth & Engineering Sciences Building
University Park, PA 16802