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Published October 31, 2022
A new master’s degree program in energy and petroleum engineering will be the first to offer graduate courses in blockchain starting in fall 2023 at the University of Wyoming.
“If you have any B.S. degree and fulfill the admission requirements of UW, you can apply for our course-based Master of Petroleum Engineering degree,” says Vamegh Rasouli, professor and head of the UW Department of Energy and Petroleum Engineering.
Rasouli says the program will be offered in person on campus or remotely via distance delivery mode, or a combination of both, to meet the needs of students. He adds that the program is structured to be affordable compared to similar graduate programs offered by other institutions.
“And the program is available to interested students around the world,” Rasouli says.
Including blockchain courses in an energy and petroleum engineering master’s degree program combines topics important to Wyoming and other regions worldwide, he says. The program is designed so that someone without an energy and petroleum engineering background, or without knowledge of blockchain, can take fundamental courses to understand how the degree applies to energy and the oil and gas industry, Rasouli says.
“One of the blockchain courses, for example, relates to carbon capture and sequestration, which is everywhere now,” he says. “Another one is about the economy and law.”
Blockchain courses to be offered in the master’s degree program include “Fundamentals of Blockchain”; “Business Application of Blockchain”; “Case Studies in Blockchain”; “Blockchain in Energy”; and “Blockchain for Oil and Gas.”
Students enrolled in the program without an energy and petroleum engineering degree will take five core courses in petroleum engineering from the list of existing courses offered in the department, Rasouli says. These include geology and geophysics, drilling engineering, reservoir engineering, production engineering, completion and stimulation, with remaining courses from a combination of the specialized paths.
“So, they learn the basic concept for petroleum engineering that allows them to apply for a job,” Rasouli says. “The industry would be more than happy for someone who knows about five or six topics, give them on-the-job training and then take them as a petroleum major because, right now, there is a desperate need for petroleum engineers.”
In addition to careers in carbon capture, utilization and storage, Rasouli says the new master’s degree program in energy and petroleum engineering can be applied to careers involving hydrogen production technologies, petroleum and geothermal energy, data analytics, deep-water drilling and much more.
The UW Center for Blockchain and Digital Innovation (CBDI) is helping to facilitate the blockchain courses at a graduate-degree level. Steve Lupien, CBDI director, says student enrollment in courses offered in the undergraduate minor in blockchain degree program has more than quadrupled in the past three years.
“Initiating graduate-level courses with the Department of Energy and Petroleum Engineering is a major step toward expanding blockchain offerings to other UW advanced degree programs,” Lupien says.
In presenting the new master’s degree program to the department’s industry advisory board, Rasouli says there was an overwhelmingly positive response by industry members who hope it can help alleviate the demand for energy and petroleum engineers and expand the knowledge base of innovative technologies, all at a low cost to students.
“This is not a certificate program like those offered by other schools,” Rasouli says.