Petroleum, Geosystems Engineering department launches new sustainable energy minor

Judith Matehuala, News Reporter

Students can earn a minor in sustainable energy starting next semester as part of a new program that was launched last week. 

The new courses offered by the Hildebrand Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering will focus on sustainability issues in energy, energy technology and policy, climate change mitigation and renewable energy technologies, according to the website. Online applications for the summer and fall semesters are due March 1. 

Hugh Daigle, director of the sustainable energy minor, said the PGE department proposed the minor about a year ago as a way to help put the University at the forefront of education and training related to the energy transition away from fossil fuels. He said the program will also give students the opportunity to add additional skills to their portfolios and make them more marketable for jobs.

“For me, coming from petroleum engineering, I think about what we learned as part of the standard petroleum engineering curriculum here and, obviously, we’re focusing on producing oil and gas,” Daigle said. “However, as the energy industry changes (and) we start looking at different sources of energy and lowering the carbon footprint of some of the existing sources we use, like fossil fuels, there are new skills and concepts the students are going to have to understand and recognize to be able to work in the energy industry of the future.”

The 18-hour program is only available to some STEM majors. A full list of eligible majors can be found on the program’s website

Petroleum engineering sophomore Matthew Bagtas said he attended an information session about the minor on Feb. 15 and intends to enroll in the program. 

“Exploring the different types of technology and efforts there are to aid in this transition is something I’m most excited for,” Bagtas said. 

Students must take nine credits of required classes and an additional nine credits of electives from an approved list, according to the website. Students must also complete a list of prerequisite courses to enroll in the minor.

Daigle said the most important thing is for UT to position itself for the workforce, engineering and science needs of the future.

“It’s really important that we provide these opportunities to the students,” Daigle said. “This will really help keep Texas on top.”