Colorado School of Mines has launched a new master’s degree program that will apply a unique, multidisciplinary social science lens to natural resources and energy issues, preparing students for careers in energy and engineering companies, advocacy and government agencies.
The new Natural Resources and Energy Policy (NREP) graduate program “is unique in that it targets engineers that are working in industry for a social science program,” said Kathleen Hancock, program director and associate professor of humanities, arts and social sciences.
The program replaces the Master of International Political Economy of Resources (MIPER) program, which was founded in 2005 but phased out in 2015. NREP will cover both domestic and international topics, natural resources, energy and policy, and will work to link students to industry and potential employers. In the required political assessment course, students work on a report for actual companies.
“Students are required to find a real company and work with them to prepare a political risk assessment for a country the company is interested in,” Hancock said. “They invite company representatives and present a final report in class, and provide the company with that final report.”
NREP is also developing strategies to integrate departments from across campus. Two of the required courses are taught through the Petroleum and Mining Engineering departments.
“You cannot examine policy in isolation and without learning how the policy will be applied,” said Linda Battalora, teaching professor of petroleum engineering. “You need to have technical appreciation for the policy that will extend over the life cycle of an engineering project.”
NREP students will learn more about the major stakeholders for energy and extractive industries, the processes behind local, national and global policymaking, laws and regulations related to energy and extractive industry and principles of social responsibility. Graduates from the program will also learn to apply quantitative analysis to assess energy and natural resource issues, identify political risk and mitigation options and conduct independent and original research.
“Students will learn to communicate policies with project stakeholders in the government, academia, community and other regulators,” Battalora said.
“The program is intended for people with a social sciences background interested in the energy and natural resources sectors as well as engineers who want to expand their perspective in the industry they are working in,” Hancock said. “There is a really great mix of professors involved in this program. We are a very diverse group of people and a lot of us have hands on backgrounds that we are all bringing into play.”
Applications for the Fall 2018 semester are open until July 2018. The master’s degree requires 30 hours, but there’s also a 12-credit-hour minor for graduate students pursuing degrees in other departments as well as a 12-credit-hour certificate option.
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