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The goal of the Petroleum Engineering department is to educate undergraduate students so they will be prepared to compete for challenging entry-level positions in the petroleum industry and government agencies. Entry level petroleum engineers are involved in a diverse range of jobs that include: exploration for oil and gas-containing formations and reservoirs; characterization of reservoirs and fluids; design of equipment and processes to optimize recovery; drilling and completions; computer modeling and simulation for production optimization and field management, recovery development; and monitoring of production and processing. In addition to these upstream activities, petroleum engineers are also involved in downstream activities such as refining, petro-chemical production, and transportation of products as well as geosciences, environmental efforts, and international commerce. Petroleum engineers are trained to ensure that all operations are safe and environmentally healthy.
Currently, UND offers the only Petroleum Engineering program in the state of N.D. With the discovery and development of the unconventional resources, in particular with the Bakken Formation in Williston Basin being the second largest producer of oil in the US, this program is strategically important to UND in terms of educating practical and hands-on engineers who can work in the field, and also develop the latest technologies for discovery, exploration, drilling and production of the oil and gas fields to produce future energy. Our Graduate program is focused to perform both fundamental and practical research on topics in demand of the industry. The UND petroleum engineering program emphasizes the development of technical problem solving skills through a fundamental understanding of geology, chemistry, physics, and engineering. The fundamentals and problem solving skills are combined with a strong background in ethics, safety, economics, information technology, leadership, management, and communication. The Petroleum Engineering degree is designed to provide students with a systematic understanding of the petroleum industry that includes: science and technology; economics and business; policy and regulation; and society and behavior. Students will develop the skills to contribute to petroleum exploration, production/injection, property management and project optimization, and will demonstrate integrity, responsibility, ownership, and accountability for their work.
To meet the goals of the program, the following program educational objectives have been established. The undergraduate Program Educational Objectives (PEO) are the expected accomplishments of graduates during their first few years following graduation. The PEOs of the Department of Petroleum Engineering (PTRE) as adopted by the PTRE faculty and Industry Advisory Board are as follows: 1. Contribute as engineering professionals in industry, including government or academia; 2. Pursue continued education and professional development through participation in professional organizations, training and possible post graduate education; 3. Progression or attainment of professional registration and licensure. The core of the program is a strong technical curriculum, whereby the fundamentals of geology, physical sciences, mathematics, and petroleum engineering are learned. This core is complemented by general courses in other engineering and technical disciplines to help prepare the students for professional registration or other future careers. Twelve credits of the required technical courses are electives, which provide each student the opportunity to tailor the program to his/her individual interests such as petroleum geology, fuel technology, refining, entrepreneurship, etc. Other prescribed courses include topics such as economics, statistics and professional integrity. The program also gives students a chance to become proficient in computer skills, database management, oral and written communication, and team work. The undergraduate program culminates in a senior design course in which the students bring together all they have learned as they work in teams on a design and evaluation project. Practical, hands-on experience is gained in laboratories distributed throughout the undergraduate program. Laboratory experiments form a significant part of each student’s learning beginning immediately in first year chemistry and continuing throughout the curriculum. In addition to university experiences, which include opportunities to conduct research, students are encouraged to spend time working in the engineering profession via summer internships or cooperative education.
Besides the technical education embodied in the program, there is a strong required general education component with a focus on thinking and reasoning in a diverse society. This is included to round out the individual’s university experience and help prepare for a full life, not just a career. There are also many extracurricular activities available (including professional societies, honor societies, sports and clubs) to enhance the enjoyment of the time spent at UND and to develop important friendships and leadership and team building skills. One of the main characteristics of this department, which distinguishes it from most other petroleum engineering programs around the country, is the commitment to building a strong rapport between the students and faculty. We are able to maintain close interaction because of the relatively small class sizes, and because all faculty members are committed to helping all students do their best and succeed. The interaction between faculty and students occurs formally in the classrooms and through the advising process, but it also frequently arises informally because all faculty maintain an open door policy. It all adds up to an environment that fosters mutual respect and maximizes learning.