Frequently Asked Questions


What is Power Engineering?

Power Engineering is one of the earliest fields that has developed within Electrical Engineering. It deals with generation, transmission and distribution of electric power. Power engineers also work on a variety of power devices and on power conversion (the process of transforming power from one form into another, as in electromechanical or electrochemical processes).

Many power engineers are part of the large team that builds, maintains and develops the large networks that connects power generators with users of this power (“the power grid”). These engineers, who work for power utility companies of governments that maintain power grids design components for the grid, architectures for the grid and devices that either supply power to the grid or draw power from it. Devices that power engineers design and work with include generators, transformers, circuit breakers, relays and transmission lines. Systems the power engineer work on include electrical substations (a subsidiary station of an electricity generation, transmission and distribution system where voltage is transformed from high to low or the reverse using transformers.) Some power engineers also work on smaller “off grid networks” that generate and supply electricity to independent plants or remote areas. A separate area of expertise is generation, transmission and distribution of power on stand-alone plants such as planes and ships.


When can I apply for the scholarship?

The application period is 1 March through 30 June, every year.

Do I need to be an IEEE member to apply?

No, not for the first year. Individuals who are selected as PES Scholars will receive IEEE and PES membership free for one year. If you receive a scholarship, you are then responsible for maintaining IEEE/PES membership in order to be eligible for scholarship renewal.

I am a High School Senior – am I eligible to apply for the scholarship?

Unfortunately – a student who is in High School is not eligible to apply for the scholarship. An applicant must be at a university or college in the U.S., Puerto Rico, or Canada that offers undergraduate courses in power engineering or at a community college. Additionally, the applicant must be planning (in the fall) on attending a university or college that has an ABET-accredited, 4-year electrical engineering program.

I will graduate with a Bachelors of Science in Engineering — am I eligible for the scholarship?

No. At the current time, the scholarship is limited to individuals who will be graduating with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from an ABET accredited program.

I am graduating in December of next year, so should I list myself as a Junior or Senior on my application?

Junior, since you will be attending school in September of that year.

Why is the program limited to individuals who are US Citizens or Permanent US Residents?

The reason for this requirement is because the program was established to address a specific need within the USA & Canada in regards to getting more undergraduates students involved in the Power & Energy Industry.  It’s been estimated that the power and energy industry will experience as much as a 50% turnover in engineers, and there’s increasing concern about the availability of highly-skilled, quality engineers.  This program was established to address this need & the industry requires that the individuals who fill these positions be US Citizens/US Permanent residents.

We are open to establishing a similar scholarship program in other parts of the world but we need individuals from the specific geographic area to take the lead and let us know what type of program would work for them.

In which countries is the PES Scholarship Plus Initiative active?

The Scholarship Plus Initiative is open to students who meet eligibility requirements in Canada, Puerto Rico, United States, Italy & India.

The Power & Energy Society is having discussions on expanding the program to other parts of the world.

Application Requirements

I attended a community college and transferred to new school as a junior — should I include transcripts from only my current school?

Please provide transcripts from all post-secondary schools you have attended.

Is the GPA requirement of 3.0 or higher just the current semester/trimester or cumulative?

The GPA requirement is cumulative.

What IEEE Region is my school in?

The IEEE Regions are as follows:

  • Region 1 – Northeastern USA.
  • Region 2 – Eastern USA.
  • Region 3 – Southeastern USA
  • Region 4 – Central USA
  • Region 5 – Southwestern USA.
  • Region 6 – Western USA.
  • Region 7 – The territory of Canada
  • Region 9 – Puerto Rico

Nominator/Reference Requirements

Can my nominator/reference submit a recommendation letter directly to the Scholarship Committee?

Yes, you can have an email sent to the person you want to submit a letter of recommendation for you. After you log on to your account, select the button for “Nominable Sections”. On the next screen, you will see an icon of a person — click on this and you will be asked to provide the name and email address of the person you’d like to submit a recommendation for you. This person will receive instructions on how to submit the letter, and it will be automatically attached to your application when they complete it. If you have trouble with this function, please contact the PES Scholarship Team directly via email (

Renewal Requirements

I am PES Scholar, but I did not find a career experience for this summer. Can I still renew my scholarship?

PES Scholars that are otherwise eligible for renewal but did not complete a career experience can still apply to renew their scholarship. The Selection Committee handles renewal applications on a case-by-case basis. You can strengthen your application by being actively engaged with your local IEEE student branch or PES Chapter, or if you have been involved in other extra-curricular power-related activities during the past year. Also note that a summer research position at your university does count as a career experience.

Career Experience

What qualifies as a power and energy engineering experience?

Significant work in a power and energy engineering position or engineering work that’s related to power and energy engineering. Usually that comes in the form of a summer internship — but it might be co-op work, or a job that has equivalent experience (for example, summer research in power and energy engineering at your institution).

A qualifying career experience is one in which the student is exposed to and performs the work of a power and energy engineer. The predominant work responsibilities of power and energy engineers are focused on electrical systems, equipment and facilities. (In contrast, electric and natural gas energy services may focus on mechanical systems and other non-electrical systems.) Power and energy engineers are involved in the planning, research, design, development, construction, installation and operation of equipment, facilities and systems for the safe, reliable, and economic generation, transmission, distribution, consumption and control of electricity.

Power and energy engineers may work for utilities, transmission companies, generation companies, regional transmission operators, equipment manufacturers, engineering service companies, regulatory agencies, the Department of Energy, national labs, industrial customers, cooperatives and public power utilities, or consulting companies.