Penn State introduces new online masters program - The Daily Collegian: Campus

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Penn State introduces new online masters program

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Posted: Thursday, August 29, 2013 12:00 am

A new masters program is hitting the web this fall to help provide more knowledge about renewable energy and sustainability systems to professionals working in the field.

The Intercollege Master of Professional Studies in Renewable Energy and Sustainability Systems (iMPS-RESS) is designed for people in the work force who can’t necessarily come to a Penn State campus for classes, but instead can take classes through World Campus, said Daniel Ciolkosz , the academic program coordinator.

“We want our graduates to have advanced technical skills and project development skills,” Ciolkosz said. “They can take good ideas and turn them into good projects.”

The program, which took about four years to develop, consists of 32 credits , said Ali Demirci , academic program chair.

“The curricula are designed to prepare students for the leadership positions in design and management of energy and sustainability solutions emerging globally,” Jeffrey Brownson , faculty lead for the solar energy option in iMPS-RESS , said via email.

The program has different options related to renewable energy and sustainability systems, including bioenergy, solar energy, wind energy and sustainability management and policy , Demirci said.

But there are other possibilities than just enrolling in the masters program.

Students can take courses to see if they’re interested enough to pursue the masters program without enrolling in it, Demirci said.

The program, which launched in July, is already receiving interest, he said.

About 20 students are enrolled either in one course or the masters program for fall, Ciolkosz said.

Most classes only have a few students registered, but Demirci said even if there is one student registered in a course, they are willing to offer it.

Ciolkosz said he anticipates most of the students will be completing the program part time and will need about three years to complete it.

“Since this is all completely online, we can get people from all different backgrounds to participate with each other,” he said.

Collaboration among different backgrounds can even be found in the structure of the program itself.

There are 24 faculty in the program who are coming from eight departments in four different colleges , Ciolkosz said.

“It’s exciting to see people from all over the university work together on what is going to be an outstanding program,” he added.

Demirci said renewable energy is a new area and there aren’t enough trained people out there to work on these types of projects, a motivating reason for creating the iMPS-RESS program.

“We believe that [people] may have the fundamental knowledge but might not have the specific knowledge in renewable energy,” Demirci said.

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