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Jul 27, 2013 06:03 AM EDT

U. Offers Petroleum Engineering Graduate Program

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The University of Utah (U.) is introducing a new graduate program this fall in petroleum industry in order to meet the increasing demand of skilled engineers with the knowledge of oil and gas resources.

According to the International Energy Agency, the United States will be the leading oil-producing country in the world by 2020, beating oil giants like Saudi Arabia and Russia.

 "Economic and environmentally responsible extraction, transportation, distribution and use of hydrocarbons play a significant role in our nation's need for guaranteed domestic energy supplies during the next half-century," said John McLennan, associate professor of chemical engineering at the University of Utah. "This program is intended to provide new and experienced graduates with the opportunity to participate in the petroleum industry."

The petroleum engineering Master of Science degree will be offered through the U.'s Department of Chemical Engineering and is designed for students with a bachelor's degree in engineering.

Students enrolled in the program will be required to complete 33 credit hours including coursework, field studies and a project. The 16-month program will be taught by chemical engineering, geophysics and geology faculty, along with instructors from the Energy and Geosciences Institute at the U.

According to the figures released by the U.S. Department of Labor, engineers with a bachelor's degree in petroleum engineering are estimated to earn an average salary of $114,080, and the field is expected to grow 17 percent by 2020.

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