GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 283-7
Presentation Time: 9:45 AM


BECK, Dagmar, Natural Science - Professional Master's, Rice University, 6100 Main St, MS-103, Houston, TX 77005,

The Professional Science Master’s Program (PSM) is an interdisciplinary degree that provides students with grad level STEM education, combined with a professional skills component: enrichment in business, management, communication skills and a practical work experience, developed in concert with employers to meet current workforce needs.

The Subsurface Geoscience (SG) program at Rice University is geared for students aiming to become proficient in applying geological knowledge and geophysical methods to find employment in industry. The SG Board of Affiliates at Rice University has ensured that the program provides interdisciplinary training to align itself with workforce needs which demand that new hires are able to integrate into teams, possess a blend of scientific, engineering and analytical skills, have excellent communication skills, versatile backgrounds, business/marketing skills, and exceptional work ethics.

Therefore, the interdisciplinary SG curriculum consists of technical courses on geophysical, seismic exploration methods and principles, geophysical financial decision making, and "PLUS" courses in risk analysis, business, management and policy, communication skills and requires a practical work experience.

The program’s strong ties with industry facilitates the communication of opportunities. Corporate contacts are offered via receptions, seminars, luncheons with industry representatives, out-reach to internship providers, interaction with alumni via mentorships and socials, distribution of a SG contact database and much more.

Contrary to PhD program, PSM students are self-funded. Therefore, students are committed to complete the degree, SG program retention is nearly 100%. 97% of our students completed the program, 3% moved into thesis programs after or during completion of our program. 97% of graduates are employed in industry as of Spring 2016.

The program prides itself to attract a diversified student body consisting of 30% students with Asian origin, 5% Hispanic, 4% African-American, and 4% Middle Eastern. Furthermore, 43% of our students are female, which is a high percentage considering that this industry consists of a male dominated workforce.

This presentation will show how enriched geoscience education can fulfill workforce needs in the oil and gas industry.

  • GSA Conference 2016rev.pptx (14.0 MB)