A new Bachelor of Science
program in energy science and technology available beginning this fall takes advantage of the region’s place in
the petroleum and gas industries and the growing interest in alternative energy
Developing the interdisciplinary
major has been one of the goals of the American Refining Group/Harry R.Halloran Jr. Energy Institute at Pitt-Bradford for the past several years.
The new four-year degree will
complement the university’s two-year associate degree in petroleum technology,
said Dr. Matt Kropf, director of the institute and program director for the new
The core of the major is a survey of
advanced mathematics, energy science and technology, physics, chemistry, global
information systems, geology and engineering designed to give students a solid scientific
background preparing them for work in a variety of energy fields, from
traditional fossil fuels to alternative energies. The major adds social
sciences that give students an understanding of the policy issues surrounding
today’s energy debate, including economics, politics, environmental studies and
The degree places a focus on the
technical aspects of integrating sensor networks with computer monitoring and
control with a new course called Sensors and Automation and a senior capstone
project requirement. At the upper levels, students will be encouragedto
specialize through approved electives, focusing on energy use in buildings,
alternative energy production, petroleum technology, nuclear energy or energy
and the environment.
has been teaching Introduction to Energy Science and Technology every semester
since the fall of 2011 and taught Sensors and Automation during the spring
Kropf said that there has been a lot
of support for a four-year program in energy studies from local industries,
including American Refining, Dresser-Rand, Domtar and Terra Green Energy. He
plans to work with those companies and others to develop internships and
opportunities for undergraduate research.
“Everywhere you look, opportunities
are rapidly growing for specialists in renewable energy to develop, manage and
control energy needs,” said Harold Carr of St. Marys, who is on track to be the first
graduate of the new major. “The future outlook in renewable energies looks
extremely strong, which is why this program has sparked my interest.”
As part of the university’s current
50 and Beyond fundraising campaign, it plans to raise $1.25 million to renovate
a storage building on campus to accommodate the new program. Kropf said the
proposed lab would provide an industrial laboratory setting for students to learn
hands-on, conduct research in collaboration with industry and potentially
operate a small biodiesel plant to convert waste grease from campus dining into
fuel for campus vehicles.
facility would also accommodate the technologies featured in the Sensors and
Automation course and other renewable energy demonstration projects, such as
small-scale solar and wind.
Dr. Steven Hardin, vice president
and dean of academic affairs, said the major was developed in large part at the
request of students in the current two-year petroleum technology program who
wanted to go on to earn a related four-year degree.