Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
University of Utah students are conferred their degrees during commencement in Salt Lake City Thursday, May 2, 2013. The U. is launching a new graduate program this fall to meet the increasing demands for experienced engineers with knowledge of the petroleum industry.

SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah is launching a new graduate program this fall in petroleum engineering. The program is designed to produce petroleum engineers with knowledge about responsible development of oil and gas resources.

“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 U. “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 admitted to the program will be required to complete 33 credit hours consisting of coursework, field studies and a project.

Chemical engineering, geophysics and geology faculty, along with instructors from the Energy and Geosciences Institute at the U., will teach students during this 16-month program. Industry professionals and students in distance education may pursue the degree at their own pace.

Statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor show that working engineers with at least a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering earn a median salary of $114,080, and the field is predicted to grow 17 percent by 2020.