Energy on the Brain

Photo by Shutterstock.
Photo by Shutterstock.
Photo by Shutterstock.

When it comes to hands-on experience as well as cutting edge, top-notch education opportunities in energy, Oklahoma is the place to be.

“Energy, specifically the oil and natural gas industry, is the defining industry in Oklahoma, as published research has shown,” says Dr. Steven C. Agee, dean of the Oklahoma City University Meinders School of Business.[pullquote]“In recent years the energy industry has focused more specifically on business operations and processes than ever before, and the demand for robust, flexible, industry-focused business education has never been stronger.”[/pullquote]

“OCU is one of the leading applied economic research centers is this region, with economists from its Steven C. Agee Economic Research & Policy Institute conducting economic impact studies for the oil and gas industry as well as economic forecasting,” Agee says. “[The University of Oklahoma] has a world-class school of geology as well as an engineering school. Oklahoma State University also has an excellent school of geology, and [the University of Tulsa] has a well-known school of petroleum engineering. It also helps to have some of the most prominent independent energy companies located in Oklahoma City such as Devon, Chesapeake, Continental Resources, SandRidge, Chaparral, Linn and many others.”

Guest speakers from the major oil and gas companies are frequent presences at the state’s schools to provide students with current material regarding events going on today and planned for the future, says Agee. OCU also has annual energy conferences and works closely with partners such as GE Oil & Gas, which is building a new global energy research center near the school’s campus. OCU offers both a Master of Energy Management and a Master of Energy Legal Studies – the only two graduate energy programs in the U.S. that are accredited by the American Association of Professional Landmen.

Energy is written all over The University of Tulsa.

“In a very real sense, energy is at the very fiber of this institution,” says Dr. Gale Sullenberger, dean of the nationally ranked Collins College of Business at TU.

Accredited for more than 50 years by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International, the most respected and recognized business accrediting organization in the world, the TU college is home to the National Energy Policy Institute and to the School of Energy Economics, Policy and Commerce, which offers both undergraduate and graduate programs focused on business aspects of the energy industry.

“In recent years the energy industry has focused more specifically on business operations and processes than ever before, and the demand for robust, flexible, industry-focused business education has never been stronger,” says Dr. Tim Coburn, director of TU’s School of Energy, Economics, Policy and Commerce. “One of 10 such programs accredited by the American Association of Professional Landmen, our undergraduate degree in energy management that focuses on land and business development is second to none; and our graduate Master of Energy Business degree, which is delivered online to participants throughout the country and internationally, preparing them to effectively manage energy organizations, is one of the largest and most extensive of its kind.”

In addition to this lineup of energy business programs, TU’s College of Engineering and Natural Sciences, world-renowned for its long-standing support of the petroleum, geoscience, chemical and refining industries, includes the Tulsa Alternative Energy Institute and the McDougal School of Petroleum Engineering, one of the oldest and most prestigious of such programs. The university’s College of Law hosts the Sustainable Energy and Resources Law program and serves as the academic home of the Energy Law Journal, which it co-publishes with the Energy Bar Association in Washington, D.C. The College of Law annually hosts the Chesapeake Energy Lecture and recently added a new online Master of Jurisprudence in Energy Law. TU is also home to Petroleum Abstracts, the most extensive and well-known bibliographic resource for information about the petroleum industry worldwide.

Along with TU, the University of Oklahoma is one of seven U.S. schools to offer a degree for oil landmen. OU’s Mewbourne School of Petroleum and Geological Engineering combines teaching, research and service for an undergraduate program that includes intensive study of contemporary oil and gas issues, extraction methods, engineering processes and resource development, according to OU officials. U.S. News and World Report ranks OU’s program among the top five in the country. Petroleum engineering graduates may pursue master’s and doctoral degrees in petroleum engineering as well as a Master of Science in natural gas engineering management.

Energy leaders are aging out and leaving a void.

“There are thousands of employees in the energy industry,” says Agee. “Many of them are young and will be required to step into the shoes of soon-to-be retiring managers and executives. When Oklahoma experienced the oil bust of the 1980s, many young students stopped enrolling in energy-related university programs because there were few jobs available upon graduation. We essentially lost a generation of qualified people entering the energy industry … The master’s degree program in energy management at OCU is designed to fill this gap and provide a rigorous background in organizational structure, strategic management, internal and external communications, energy economics, accounting for energy managers, operations management, financing energy investments and a capstone experience.”

This story is part of an Oklahoma Energy Special Report. Continue reading additional stories from the report below.