Skip to main content

EBF 200 - Introduction to Energy and Earth Sciences Economics

This is a sample syllabus.

This sample syllabus is a representative example of the information and materials included in this course. Information about course assignments, materials, and dates listed here is subject to change at any time. Definitive course details and materials will be available in the official course syllabus, in Canvas, when the course begins.


EBF 200 is a required course in Penn State's online Bachelor of Arts in Energy Business and Policy. It is also required in the online Bachelor of Arts in Energy and Sustainability Policy as well as in Penn State's resident Bachelor of Arts in Energy Business and Finance. 

This class is a course in microeconomic fundamentals with a focus on the applications of economics to energy and environmental markets. In the course, we introduce the economic method of analysis to the environmental and resource questions facing society. 


Upon successful completion of the course, you will be able to:

  • illustrate the fundamentals of supply, demand and market equilibrium;
  • define different types of market failure and identify solutions to address each one;
  • apply your skills to the analysis of key topics in energy and environmental economics.

As a result of this class, students are expected to be able to synthesize information to better appreciate the complexity of modern resource policy. In addition, they are expected to be able to make more informed judgments on the nature and relative seriousness of these issues.

Required Materials

The materials listed here represent those that may be included in this course. Students will find a definitive list in the course syllabus, in Canvas, when the course begins.

Textbook Option #1 

Microeconomics: Private and Public Choice, 14th Edition, by Gwartney, Stroup, Sobel and MacPherson. The 12th or 13th Edition of the book can also be used. You will find that the textbook can be purchased as a hard copy (new or used), or via online access.

Textbook Option #2

Principles of Microeconomics, Greenlaw et al. (Available through Openstax). This book can be purchased as a hard copy or downloaded for free as a PDF.


ECON 102 and MATH 022


We have worked hard to make this the most effective and convenient educational experience possible. How much and how well you learn is dependent on your attitude, diligence, and willingness to ask for clarifications or help when you need them. We are here to help you succeed. Please keep up with the class schedule and take advantage of opportunities to communicate with us and with your fellow students. You can expect to spend an average of 10 – 12 hours per week on class work.

Major Assignments

There are 12 lessons in this course. There will be 10 quizzes, 10 homeworks, one mid-term, and one final exam.

Weekly Quizzes (20% of total course grade)

There will be 10 multiple choice quizzes in this course. We will count the 8 highest scores (out of the 10) and take the average.

Weekly Homeworks (30% of total course grade)

There will be 10 homeworks in the form of essay and problem solving questions. We will count the 8 highest (out of the 10) and take the average.

Mid-term Examination (20% of total course grade)

The mid-term will cover material from lessons 1-6.

Comprehensive Final Exam (30% of total course grade)

The final exam is cumulative, meaning that it covers the entire course.

This course may require you to take exams using certain proctoring software that uses your computer’s webcam or other technology to monitor and/or record your activity during exams. The proctoring software may be listening to you, monitoring your computer screen, viewing you and your surroundings, recording and storing any and all activity (including visual and audio recordings) during the proctoring process. By enrolling in this course, you consent to the use of the proctoring software selected by your instructor, including but not limited to any audio and/or visual monitoring that may be recorded. Please contact your instructor with any questions.

Discussion Forum Participation (2% extra credit)

One of the features of this course is a discussion forum. Use the course Discussion Forums to get to know one another, work together, and learn from one another. It’s a special opportunity. You’ll learn more, enjoy the course more, and probably make a better grade. The designated Discussion Forums provide a place where you can work together to surface problems and questions and give me the chance to redirect or provide additional information if needed. You are welcome to write your questions and topics or add your thoughts and answers to the questions or topics of other students. You will be graded at the end of the semester on the quantity and quality of your contributions (posting and also replying) to the Discussion Forum. I recommend you read the forums regularly.

Course Schedule

Course Schedule
11Orientation & Lesson 1: Thinking about economics
  • Orientation Quiz
  • Initial Course Survey
  • Introduce Yourself
  • Lesson 1 Quiz
  • Lesson 1 Homework
12Markets: Demand
  • Lesson 02 Quiz
  • Lesson 2 Homework
13Markets: Supply
  • Lesson 03 Quiz
  • Lesson 3 Homework
24Market dynamics
  • Lesson 04 Quiz
  • Lesson 4 Homework
25Market power-
26Other market failures
  • Lessons 5 and 6 Quiz
  • Lessons 5 and 6 Homework
37Externalities and Environmental Economics
  • Midterm
  • Lesson 7 Quiz
  • Lesson 7 Homework
38Government Failure-
39Government intervention
  • Lessons 8 and 9 Quiz
  • Lessons 8 and 9 Homework
410Topical Issues: Climate change and carbon policy
  • Lesson 10 Quiz
  • Lesson 10 Homework
411Topical issues: Resource scarcity and energy security
  • Lesson 11 Quiz
  • Lesson 11 Homework
412Topical issues: Changes in the electricity business
  • Lesson 12 Quiz
  • Lesson 12 Homework
Final Exam