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UH Norway Exchange Program

Norway Pics

Background and history of the exchange program

Representatives of the University of Stavanger and the Norwegian government visited UH on November 13, 2012, to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) concerning academic exchange programs between the University of Houston’s Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and to promote cooperation between other components of the universities.meeting

This meeting followed up on a visit to the University of Stavanger in May, 2012,  by Jerald Strickland, Associate Vice Chancellor/Associate Vice President for International Studies and Programs; John Casey, former chairman of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences; and John Bear, former NSM Dean. At that meeting, the group discussed avenues for broader cooperation between the two institutions. The meetings covered existing cooperation between the universities in the areas of geosciences and history and possibilities for expanding cooperation to the faculty level or through a memorandum of understanding.

Houston and Stavanger are the financial and technological energy centers of their respective countries and have been sister cities since the early 1980s. Both groups realize the importance of education in this highly technical area and of promoting international exchanges of people and ideas.

The goal of the MOU is to establish an academic exchange between the two universities that will involve faculty, graduate students and undergraduates. A cooperative geological research effort, funded by the oil industry, currently exists between Paul Mann, professor of geology at UH, and Alejandro Escalona, associate professor in petroleum geology at University of Stavanger.

A grant from the Norwegian Science Council to Escalona for $24,000 (U.S. dollars) was announced at the signing ceremony. The grant will provide initial travel support for two workshops to establish the details of the exchange. Several UH Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences faculty members have ongoing studies in Norway and hope to expand their research efforts in the area.

The representatives attending the November signing ceremony included:

From University of Stavanger
Rektor: Marit Boyesen
Pro-Rektor: Tor Hemmingsen
Dean: Ole Ringdal
Faculty Board Chair : Terje Halmø
Research Director at SUS: Stein Tore Nielsen
Head Petroleum Department: Hans Borge

From the Kingdom of Norway
Minister of Education and Research Kristin Halvorsen
Other Delegates from the Ministry:
Gard Sandaker-Nilsen; KOM
Trond Fevolden (Secretary General)
Toril Johansson (Director General)
Linda Rutledal, Adviser, Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education

From the City of Houston
President, Sister Cities of Houston, Ellen Goldberg

From University of Houston
Vice Chancellor/Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer Roth Bose
Associate Vice Chancellor/Associate Vice President for International Studies and Programs Jerald Strickland
Associate Dean Ian Evans, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
Dean Joseph Tedesco, Cullen College of Engineering
Professor John Bear (former Dean, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics)
Professor Paul Mann, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Professor and Chair of Mechanical Engineering Pradeep Sharma
Professor Matthew Franchek, Subsea Engineering Program
Professor John Casey, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Professor Tom Lapen, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Professor Jolante Van Wyck, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Professor Julia Wellner, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Other UH faculty members and graduate students from related disciplines participated as observers.
Who can apply to the new exchange program
Both undergraduate geology majors and graduate students in geology and geophysics in good standing can apply to the exchange program with the University of Stavanger for a period of one semester to one year. Students are encouraged to visit with Dr. Paul Mann (SR1, room 427), Dr. Julia Wellner (SR1, room 225C) or Dr. Tom Lapen (SR1, room 315A), all of whom have spent time at the University of Stavanger and are familiar with their course offerings for both undergrads and grads.  These faculty can help advise you on the best time for you to go on the exchange and the courses you might take while there. 
The website of the Department of Petroleum Engineering provides useful information on course offerings and prerequisites. 

Main action items and application deadlines for the exchange program
Key information is reviewed on the document below: "University of Houston-University of Stavanger Exchange Program At A Glance". 

Questions on the requirements from the University of Houston side?
Students are encouraged to visit with Mr. Ryan Michaud, Learning Abroad Advisor, located in the E. W. Cullen Bldg. Suite 105 (phone: 713-743-9167; email: Note their "Five Steps to Study Abroad" attached here. 

Questions on the requirements from the University of Stavanger side including finding student housing in Stavanger?
Students are encouraged to visit with Ms. Bente Dale, International advisor, University of Stavanger, Faculty of Science and Technology (email:  The web site of their office

Questions on field courses held on Svalbard Island in the Arctic zone of Norway and if this can be taken instead of UH field camp for undergrads in Montana?
These courses are not part of the University of Stavanger but are offered at the undergraduate and graduate level through UNIS, or The University Centre in Svalbard.  For information see their website at Note that these field-based courses could fulfill the UH undergraduate field course requirement at UH provided the student petitions the UH undergraduate advisor for this arrangement.  Two UH graduate students completed courses through this program in the summer of 2013 (Jen Campo and Yuribia Munoz).  They have posted blogs of their experiences at: