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Energy Business and Finance

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The solutions to society's existing and emerging energy challenges require interdisciplinary approaches integrating economics and business with the technical knowledge of energy systems and implications for our environment. That's where Energy Business and Finance experts come in.

What is Energy Business and Finance?

Our graduates use their knowledge of energy commodity markets, statistics and risk analysis, and project finance related to energy systems and environmental issues to shape the future of energy production. The major was designed to help students build critical analytical skills in preparation for careers with energy companies, public agencies, and the financial institutions that are investing globally in emerging energy technologies. Additionally, the Energy Business and Finance’s program unique option in Land Management offers excellent preparation for law school or careers in obtaining and negotiating property rights for energy projects.

You Might Like This Program If...

  • You want to work in the energy sector.
  • You enjoy analytical thinking and complex problem solving.
  • You are passionate about paving the way for a sustainable energy future.


The Energy Business and Finance (EBF) program in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences offers such a transformative approach by integrating the study of energy economics and decision-making within an engineering department.The John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering is one of the few in the world to place both engineering and energy economics education under the same academic roof. Our commitment to interdisciplinary study was recently advanced by John and Willie Leone's gift of $5 million to support joint education in energy economics and engineering.

The EBF program emphasizes risk analysis and decision-making related to energy systems and environmental issues. Students are challenged to examine problems using rigorous quantitative analysis. Students entering the EBF major can choose either the general option or the energy land management option. EBF graduates who do well in the program have strong employment opportunities in the energy sector, and are well trained to enter both law and business school. The EBF program has already had substantial success. Building upon the long and respected tradition in EMS for Mineral Economics, in a few short years EBF has become one of the largest majors in the College. We believe, however, that our interdisciplinary educational approach has only begun to scratch the surface of EBF's potential. Our alumni now work in a variety of energy and consulting companies, as well as financial trading houses and federal agencies.

Want to learn more?

Visit the University Bulletin to learn more about:

  • How to Get In
  • Program Requirements
  • Integrated Undergrad-Grad Program
  • Learning Outcomes
  • Academic Advising
  • Suggested Academic Plan
  • Career Paths
  • Accreditation

Insider's Guide to EBF

The Insider’s Guide to the EBF major contains detailed information about program requirements, strategies for success in the EBF program and a complete listing of courses that will count towards EBF degree requirements. All students are urged to review this document. There are three versions of the Insider’s Guide for the general option depending upon when a student entered Penn State and one version for the ENLMN option – please make sure you are using the right guide.

In addition, check out the List of Summertime Courses that EBF students can take during the summer sessions.

Helpful Tips from EBF Scheduling Night

A list of all the required courses for the program are available on the Recommended Academic Plan/Scheduling Guide for Energy Business and Finance.

Check Sheets 

Instructional video for filling out EBF checksheets

EBF General Option Check Sheet for Program Year 2014 of earlier (without minor or term abroad)

EBF General Option Check Sheet for Program Year 2015 or later (with minor or term abroad)

Business Fundamentals Certificate offered by the Smeal College of Business

The Smeal College of Business has recently decided to allow students majoring in Energy Business and Finance to enter their Certificate in Business Fundamentals program. More information about the certification is available below.

EBF and Smeal Business Certificate

It is tough to describe a “typical” career path for an EBF student because the opportunities are so broad. Our graduates work at oil and gas companies; electric utilities; energy technology companies; investment banks and insurance companies; state and federal government agencies; and more. Below are some examples of types of career paths, from recent years:

  • Commodities trading
  • Project development and finance (planning and raising money for large energy projects, whether those are oil/gas, renewables or infrastructure)
  • Gas and electricity scheduling (operating energy infrastructures)
  • Energy marketing (risk management and procurement of electricity and fuels)
  • Energy analysts at diversified companies in banking, finance and insurance
  • Energy economists at state and federal agencies
  • Commercial risk analysts
  • Energy efficiency project analysts
  • Many larger energy companies also offer rotational programs for which EBF students have been competitive

Whether you want to work on Wall Street, for an oil and gas company, or in renewables or electricity power, EBF can be a great way to set up an energy-related career. There are some limits, though. EBF students generally can’t get engineering jobs (unless you double-major in an engineering field); aren’t that competitive for positions in accounting; and don’t often go into fields other than energy, the environment and natural resources.

Unlike some other energy-related majors, employment opportunities for EBF students have not been affected by the recent downturn in oil prices. There are fewer oil-company jobs out there when oil prices are low, but right now there are many, many jobs in electric power, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Students who are highly successful academically and who make themselves known to their professors (showing up in class, asking questions and so forth) have generally not had any problems finding jobs.

It is very common for EBF students to take internships during the summer of their sophomore or junior year (or even both). Many of the same companies who hire EBF students for full time employment will also take on summer interns. Go to the career fairs in the fall, and be on the lookout for announcements about companies visiting the department. The department has strong ties with many energy-related companies that visit us each year to interview and recruit interns and full-time employees.

Alternate Access to Web Information

If the format of any material on our website interferes with your ability to access the information, please contact Ashley Nottingham at 814-865-4475 or by email at To allow us to respond in a manner most helpful to you, please let us know:

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