As employers increasingly seek workers with global experience, an international network of subsea engineering programs will allow University of Houston students to study with experts around the world.
Still others may work from a laptop while on a break from their job on a rig in the Gulf of Mexico, now that the UH subsea engineering program is fully online.
“Two-thirds of the earth is covered in water – and oil is everywhere,” says Matthew Franchek, founding director of the University’s graduate program in subsea engineering.
Franchek and leaders of five other subsea engineering programs presented plans for the Global Subsea University Alliance at the 2014 Offshore Technology Conference. Led by UH, it includes Bergen University College in Norway, Curtin University in Australia, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, National University of Singapore and the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.
The first step was to standardize curriculum across the six universities, says Franchek, who started UH’s subsea engineering program as a graduate certificate program in 2011. It became a full-fledged master’s degree program in 2013, and remains the only subsea engineering program in the United States. One alliance goal is to encourage additional universities to offer the courses.
“This is a very serious need,” Franchek says. “ We have to generate a new work force.”