Each year hundreds of petroleum engineering graduates enter the oil and gas industry workforce eager to confront the challenges presented by worldwide supply and demand. As industry expands its mission to include clean energy, have we adequately prepared our new graduates to address the complex role of global energy consumption and its impact on the oil and gas industry?
An education model exists at the Colorado School of Mines (CSM) to enhance the undergraduate curriculum in the discovery, production and use of energy. An 18-credit Energy Minor addresses the scientific and technical aspects of energy production and consumption in tandem with economic, environmental and societal impact. In a multidisciplinary environment, students investigate the production, delivery, and utilization of fossil, renewable and nuclear energy as it relates to current and future domestic and global requirements and concerns.
The Energy Minor at CSM involves multiple departments on campus. Students enrolled in the Energy Minor may choose from three curricular tracks: Fossil Energy, Renewable Energy, and General. All students must take an Introduction to Energy course, Energy Economics and Global Energy Policy in addition to courses specifically designed for each track. Additionally, an opportunity exists for students who do not wish to enroll in the Energy Minor to earn special recognition in an Area of Special Interest (ASI). The ASI recognition requires a minimum of 12 credit hours of acceptable course work and 2 additional courses selected from the Energy-related course list.
To meet present and future domestic and global energy requirements, we, as educators, are charged with educating our engineering graduates in the areas of renewable, nuclear and unconventional (energy) fossil-based resources in addition to conventional coal, oil and gas energy sources. The Energy Minor at CSM is a novel educational approach that accomplishes this goal.