University of Utah Promotes First M.Sc. in Petroleum Engineering Graduates


On Friday May 8, the first five graduates from the University of Utah’s Department of Chemical Engineering Master of Science (M.Sc.) degree in Petroleum Engineering received their degrees. The degree program, which first offered classes in the fall of 2013, is a sixteen-month, 33-credit-hour program of course work, practical field and design work, and a project or thesis. The course work incorporates petroleum engineering fundamentals and advanced topics, fundamental petroleum geologic concepts, and exposure to constraints on energy technologies (geopolitical and economic considerations, environmental issues). Geared toward working professionals and motivated by industrial, national and regional needs, the M.Sc. in Petroleum Engineering degree program can be completed largely on-line, with one short-term field study and one accelerated course required of all students, to be completed at the University of Utah and in the field locally. Current student make up includes participants from Utah, the United States, and across the globe.

Al Walker, EGI Affiliate Scientist & Senior Advisor to the Director and Director of Technology Outreach for the Utah Science, Technology and Research (USTAR) initiative was among the graduates receiving degrees in May. With over 20 years in the engineering field, many of those primarily in management, Walker saw the M.Sc. in Petroleum Engineering as an opportunity to hone the skills he first acquired two decades ago and increase his capacity and contribution to the USTAR and EGI programs. Walker has since moved on to the California Department of Conservation where he serves as Supervising Oil & Gas Engineer  in the Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources.

“As a working professional in the program, I appreciated the rigorous course of study along with the convenience of the on-line option. The insights I gained into recent innovations in petroleum engineering were very valuable in extending an understanding and skill set I initially learned 30 years ago,” Walker said.

Program instruction is a collaboration of the faculty and instructors from the University’s Department of Chemical Engineering, the Energy & Geoscience Institute (EGI), and the Department of Geology and Geophysics. EGI staff and affiliate scientists John McLennan, Milind Deo, Ian Walton, Rasoul Sorkhabi, Lauren Birgenheier, Tom Anderson, Bill Keach, and Brian McPherson serve as course instructors and field leaders and provide extensive industry-related and distance education expertise.

For full program details and admissions information about the University of Utah’s Master of Science in Petroleum Engineering, visit the Department of Chemical Engineering’s web site.