Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Petroleum Engineering Schools Enjoy Enrollment Resurgence

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Petroleum Engineering Schools Enjoy Enrollment Resurgence

Article excerpt

With the price of oil now hovering at the $51 mark, oil producers are not the only ones riding the current wave of a resurgent oil and gas industry. Lured by multiple job prospects and guaranteed high- dollar salaries, undergraduate students are returning to petroleum engineering programs in record numbers.

The Colorado School of Mines, for example, one of the nation's top schools for engineering, this academic year enrolled the largest number of petroleum engineering undergraduates since 1987.

Closer to home, administrators for the Mewbourne School of Petroleum and Geological Engineering at the University of Oklahoma have seen a boom in enrollment as well.

During the last three years, there has been a 60 percent increase in the number of students enrolled at the school. Current enrollment totals 174 students, up from 100 in 2001-2002.

Of the students slated to graduate in May, 90 percent who are U.S. citizens have already accepted permanent positions. A student survey shows base salaries for those jobs range from $65,000 to $70,000 a year.

And those are some of the key reasons for a return to the profession, said Dean S. Oliver, director of the Mewbourne school. There are very good job opportunities in field. Many of our students get an average of seven job offers, and we have the highest starting salaries on campus.

Much like the industry itself, undergraduate enrollments in petroleum engineering surged in the early '80s. Everyone, it seemed, was going after the big dollars assured at the end of the long college road.

In 1983, the nation's 10 largest petroleum engineering schools saw a peak enrollment of more than 6,900 students. When the market crashed, so did enrollments, dropping to a low of 981 by 1990. By this time, the high-tech boom was gearing up and students were not returning to the petroleum engineering classroom. …

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