UH petroleum engineering program hits full department status

Offshore staff

HOUSTON – The University of Houston’s petroleum engineering program has been elevated to a full department within the UH Cullen College of Engineering.

The new department, which serves about 1,100 undergraduate and graduate students, previously had been a program within the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. The program started in 2009 with 20 undergraduate students.

Director Tom Holley has overseen its rapid growth. With 968 undergraduate students, it is one of the largest petroleum engineering departments in the nation. Holley said the new status will help in recruiting both faculty and students.

Joseph Tedesco, dean of the Cullen College of Engineering, said UH petroleum engineering graduates will help to define the energy future.

“The University of Houston is the nation’s Energy University, and the establishment and success of its petroleum engineering department is vital to the future of the city of Houston, where the demand for engineering talent is higher than in any other major US city,” he said. “UH petroleum engineering graduates are the next-generation of global, entrepreneurial energy leaders.”

In August, the petroleum engineering program  earned accreditation by the Accrediting Board for Engineering Technology, which focuses on college and university programs in applied science, computing, engineering and engineering technology.

In addition, a Ph.D. program in petroleum engineering was approved in April by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

Holley said demand for petroleum engineering degrees remains high, even with lingering low oil prices, with enrollment about 150 students higher than last year.


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