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Oil and Gas Investor Magazine

[Editor's note: A version of this story appears in the February 2021 issue of Oil and Gas Investor magazine. Subscribe to the magazine here.]

Though extensive field experience inevitably forms the core of many energy executives’ careers, graduate energy education can also provide invaluable information, skills and connections to help accelerate one’s trajectory. For energy professionals, graduate business education, in the form of an MBA or an EMBA as well as technical M.S. programs focused on energy development, offers increasingly relevant opportunities to develop new knowledge as more research orients toward the energy transition and understanding its complex dynamics.

However, a career in energy takes a great deal of time, sometimes leaving little spare time for researching academic opportunities. To that end, Investor has compiled this list of U.S.-based graduate energy programs to show the diversity of relevant opportunities available in higher education.

This list does not constitute a ranking of the selected programs. Programs are arranged in alphabetical order, and the information for each program overview was pulled from publicly available data on university websites.

At the core of all these programs are commitments to specialized energy curriculum, flexible course formats and student-to-industry connections. Most of these programs also emphasize the international nature of the energy business, which is reflected in international residencies and coursework.

However, like the industry itself, several of the energy-focused graduate programs on this list have adapted their energy curriculums to account for the growing urgency surrounding the energy transition. Many of these programs have faculty that also work in the industry or advisory boards composed of energy executives, and several of them are hosted at universities with leading energy research centers.

2020 was a tough year for energy, and the future of the industry is filled with a number of questions. As part of the effort to help answer them, energy professionals would do well to consider graduate education in energy.


Executive Certificate in Global Oil and Gas Management

■ Program Highlight: Globally focused, this executive certificate program provides a broad view of the different components of the oil and gas industry.

■ Tuition: In total, the cost to earn the certificate is $2,300.

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Arizona State University’s (ASU) Thunderbird School of Global Management has streamlined its global oil and gas management master’s certificate into an all-online program that students can begin on demand.

Broken down into five chapters, this program prepares students for work in all industry sectors: upstream, midstream and downstream, with a chapter devoted to each.

According to the program website, the Thunderbird School emphasizes giving students an “entrepreneurial edge” that they can utilize across the global marketplace.

The certificate program is suitable for those who wish to enter oil and gas management from a different field or for those looking to advance an existing industry career.

The program’s global emphasis broadens students’ career opportunities, providing knowledge and practical skills that can be put to use in oil and gas management anywhere in the world.


Duke University - Breeden Hall
Duke University

Global EMBA and Weekend EMBA

■ Program Highlight: Duke EMBA students are structured into teams that will learn together and collaborate throughout the entire program.

■ Tuition: For students starting in July 2021, total tuition cost is $152,000 for the Global EMBA program and $145,875 for the Weekend EMBA program.

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Collaboration lies at the heart of the two EMBA programs offered at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business: the Global EMBA and Weekend EMBA. To mimic the experience of being part of a diverse business team, EMBA students are grouped into learning teams of five to six students who progress through the program together. As a result, they are able to share intensive knowledge and build connections throughout the entire program with their colleagues, many of whom represent countries from across the globe.

The Global EMBA program, with a duration of 21 months, and the Weekend EMBA program, with a duration of 22 months, each allow working professionals to enhance their leadership abilities in a hybrid learning environment that mixes distance learning with in-person residencies. The global program emphasizes international residencies; students participate in one-week residencies in Asia, Latin America and Europe through the months of October, January, April and July. Both the Global EMBA and Weekend EMBA include short residencies at Fuqua’s campus in Durham, N.C.

For energy-focused executives, each EMBA program offers a concentration in energy and environment, which allows students to develop subject matter expertise in the intersection of energy and environmental issues that will affect the future of the business. Like the other concentrations available to EMBA students, the energy and environment concentration requires two courses from an approved list as well as an independent elective project.


M.S. in Energy Management and M.S. in Energy Legal Studies

■ Program Highlight: Two distinct program tracks provide specialized learning outcomes for students, and both tracks are all online.

■ Tuition: The 2020 to 2021 total tuition cost for both programs is $23,650.

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The Meinders School of Business at Oklahoma City University offers two M.S. programs that provide energy professionals with specialized opportunities to develop their knowledge bases: the M.S. in energy legal studies program and the M.S. in energy management program.

Both programs are offered in 100% online learning environments, and their curricula are dedicated solely to the energy industry, providing ease of access and immediate practical relevance to working professionals. Together, they comprise the first graduate energy program accredited by the American Association of Professional Landmen.

Each master’s degree track consists of 30 credit hours (10 courses), which are usually completed on a part-time basis over two years. All students complete two energy overview courses before pursuing course paths tailored to their degree focus: the Leadership and Management in the Energy Industry, which covers all sources of energy throughout generation and delivery cycles, and the Legal and Ethical Environment in the Energy Industry, which provides an overview of the industry’s legal dynamics.

Oklahoma City University
Oklahoma City University


M.S. in Energy Systems

■ Program Highlight: Northeastern’s graduate engineering co-op places students in four- to eight-month positions with diverse companies.

■ Tuition: The estimated total tuition cost for the 2020 to 2021 academic year is $53,200.

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Because successful energy management requires awareness of both technological and financial developments, Northeastern University’s M.S. in energy systems program provides relevant, strategically useful instruction for energy professionals. The program integrates the technology side of energy systems development with the financial planning needed to effectively implement them.

The all-online curriculum, which can be pursued on either a full-time or part-time schedule, usually takes one and a half to two years to complete and comprises a set of six core courses in engineering knowledge and finance and four electives that can be taken from any department within the College of Engineering.

A unique feature of the program, the cooperative education program (co-op) connects students to experiential learning and research opportunities in the energy industry. In 2019 the Graduate School of Engineering placed nearly 1,000 students in co-op positions. In general, these co-op positions span four to eight months in duration and occur in organizations ranging from large companies to startups.


Professional MBA

■ Program Highlight: A global field experience provides all PMBA students with the opportunity to build lasting professional relationships and make a difference in local communities.

■ Tuition: The total two-year tuition for the PMBA evening class of 2023 is $109,930, and the total two-year tuition for the PMBA weekend class of 2022 is $115,050.

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Houston-located Rice University hosts a variety of energy-oriented educational and research programs, and its professional MBA (PMBA) with a focus in energy can help working professionals advance their careers or prepare to pivot in a new direction. Rice’s MBA programs have risen steadily in national and global rankings, with U.S. News and World Report ranking the PMBA program at No. 13.

Built with flexibility in mind, PMBA students can complete the part-time program in evenings or on weekends, a process which typically takes two years to complete. An extended format, which allows student to complete the program in three to five years, is available and is taught by the same faculty with the same curriculum as the traditional two-year format.

Regardless of duration, the PMBA program takes place on Rice’s Houston campus. However, to extend the opportunity for access, the university offers a travel subsidy for students commuting to Houston for the weekend-based program. The subsidy provides and pays for nearby hotel accommodations during students’ weekend stay and involves an optional fee that is separate from tuition.

A core component of both the evening and weekend PMBA student experience is the global field experience, in which students work in small teams to complete consulting projects with local students, companies and nonprofits. This experience serves a dual function: helping PMBA students build lasting professional relationships and positively impacting the local community via a service project.


EMBA, Online MBA and Professional MBA

■ Program Highlight: SMU’s Maguire Energy Institute provides research and networking opportunities for energy-focused MBA students.

Southern Methodist University
Southern Methodist University

■ Tuition: The estimated 2020 total tuition costs for the three aforementioned programs were: $123,495 for the EMBA, $91,624 for the online MBA and $101,950 for the PMBA.

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Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business hosts several highly ranked MBA programs that provide working professionals with diverse opportunities to develop their knowledge and leadership skills to advance their energy careers.

In 2020 the 21-month Cox EMBA program was ranked the top MBA program in the U.S. by Business Insider and No. 16 in the U.S. by Financial Times. The two-year online MBA program offers the same rigorous curriculum as the Cox MBA in Dallas but in a part-time, online learning environment. Also a two-year, part-time program, though not all online, the Cox PMBA is designed to accommodate existing careers.

Of note for energy professionals, the Cox School of Business hosts the Maguire Energy Institute, which supports energy-focused MBA students through its advisory board of leading energy professionals, who are accessible to students, and its deep network of industry contacts. A variety of energy-specific courses are available to MBA students through the partnership with the institute.


M.S. in Petroleum Engineering and M.S. in Energy Resources Engineering

■ Program Highlight: Two M.S. tracks, both also scalable to a Ph.D., provide technical knowledge and skills to understand the energy development process.

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Stanford University’s College of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences offers two graduate programs that are designed to develop in-depth technical knowledge of energy extraction and production. On one track, students may earn a M.S. or Ph.D. in petroleum engineering, and on another, they may complete a M.S. or Ph.D. in energy resources engineering. Both programs aim to provide a strong background in the basic sciences relevant to energy as well as the practical application of this knowledge to solve problems in the field.

“The objective of the M.S. degree in energy resources engineering is to prepare the student either for a professional career or for doctoral studies,” according to the Stanford Bulletin, the university’s official catalog.

The petroleum engineering track’s objective is “to prepare the student for professional work in the energy industry, or for doctoral studies, through completion of fundamental courses in the major field and in related sciences as well as independent research,” the Stanford Bulletin described.

Enrolled students in this program are expected to have an undergraduate background in engineering or the physical sciences.

Stanford University


EMBA and M.S. in Energy

■ Program Highlight: With an EMBA class composed of 50% energy professionals and an M.S. program that focuses on cultivating industry expertise, TAMU offers multiple options to advance industry careers.

■ Tuition: For Texas residents, the estimated total tuition cost for the EMBA program is $99,500; TAMU’s website notes additional costs for nonresidents. The estimated total tuition cost for the M.S. in energy program is $30,000 for Texas residents and $40,000 for nonresidents.

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Long known as a pioneering school for energy professionals, Texas A&M University (TAMU) offers multiple graduate programs that can enhance industry careers.

The EMBA program begins with a one-week residency at A&M’s College Station, Texas, campus. The program is then primarily based out of the Mays Business School’s private facility in Houston and utilizes an interdisciplinary curriculum to explore the connections among diverse business disciplines and to cultivate leadership skills.

Though not strictly energy focused, TAMU’s EMBA program has a strong stake in the energy business, which is represented in its student composition: 50% of students in the EMBA class of 2020 work in the energy industry.

Texas A&M University
Texas A&M University

Also interdisciplinary, the 10-month M.S. in energy program focuses on theoretical and practical knowledge of all components of energy to create a new generation of energy experts, according to the program website. Faculty are drawn from diverse academic departments and include industry and government experts. The M.S. program has two tracks, one of which easily accommodates working professionals via its distance learning environment.

Though each program provides distinct pathways for energy professionals, both grant access to the university’s alumni network of almost 400,000 former students around the world, providing an invaluable resource in an international energy business.


MBA in Energy Leadership

■ Program Highlight: TAMU-Texarkana’s MBA-Energy Leadership program prioritizes affordability without sacrificing quality in an effort to make graduate energy education accessible.

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Through partnerships with energy organizations, including the American Association of Petroleum Geologists and the Southern Gas Association, the College of Business, Engineering and Technology at Texas A&M University-Texarkana offers an energy-focused MBA track to working and aspiring energy professionals.

The MBA-Energy Leadership program consists of 30 credit hours of coursework that is offered in an online learning environment, which encourages students to enroll from across the globe.

Affordability is a core value for the College of Business, Engineering and Technology. According to its website, the TAMU-Texarkana MBA program has been ranked among the Top 5 Best Value MBA Programs by for the past three years and has been ranked among the Top 5 Best Graduate Schools for Business Administration by since 2016.


Energy MBA

■ Program Highlight: Multiple completion tracks (standard and accelerated) and options for in-person and online coursework provide students with significant flexibility.

■ Tuition: For the 2020 to 2021 academic year, the estimated total tuition cost for the standard-length Energy MBA is $85,458 and $74,784 for the accelerated track.

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With a faculty ranked No. 1 in the world by The Economist, Texas Christian University’s (TCU) Neeley School of Business provides globally recognized graduate business education, and its Energy MBA program draws from the core Neeley MBA curriculum while adding select courses and experiences exclusively focused on the energy industry.

The 42-hour Energy MBA program consists of 25.5 hours of core courses, 10.5 hours of energy-specific courses, which include an international trip, and six hours of business or energy electives. An accelerated completion track is available, which cuts the total semester hours from 42 to 36 by eliminating certain courses, for students who meet specific requirements.

The Energy MBA program can be completed in person at TCU’s Fort Worth campus or online. All students connect on campus twice during the program as part of program-wide student experiences. In-person and online courses are offered only in the evenings, which allows working professionals to continue their careers alongside their MBA studies.


M.S. of Management in Energy

■ Program Highlight: Unique course offerings and resources through the Tulane Energy Institute allow students to engage in complex learning environments.

■ Tuition: For the 2020 to 2021 academic year, the estimated total cost of the MME program, including tuition and university fees, is $67,286.

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The M.S. of management in energy (MME) program at Tulane University’s A.B. Freeman School of Business has been designed with the input of energy leaders to provide students with knowledge and skills that are relevant and practical. In addition to accessing program faculty and curriculum, MME students are able to get involved with the Tulane Energy Institute, which includes its Trading Center, a facility that replicates real-world trading experience for students and serves as a laboratory for a variety of experiential MME courses.

Among the unique course offerings available to MME students, the Burkenroad Reports program stands outs. As the first university-sponsored securities analysis program, Burkenroad Reports assigns teams of Tulane graduate business students to follow public small-cap companies and write investment research reports on them. MME students who participate in Burkenroad Reports are able to write a comprehensive analyst report about an energy firm based on research and meetings with company executives.

The MME program typically can be completed in 10 months, though it can be extended to 18 months to involve a summer internship. The program notes it has a consistent 100% graduation rate.


MBA in Energy

■ Program Highlight: Coverage of the entire energy value chain ensures that the UNC MBA in energy students have a full understanding of the industry.

■ Tuition: Estimated total tuition costs vary depending on state residency. For North Carolina residents, total tuition and mandatory fees come out to $51,152 and $66,840 for non-North Carolina residents.

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Over the course of two years, students at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (UNC) can earn an MBA in energy at the Kenan-Flagler Business and receive a comprehensive education in the entire energy value chain. In courses based upon actual energy operations and deals, with faculty applying the skills they developed in their own industry careers, energy MBA students at UNC receive a specialized energy business education that is directly applicable to their careers.

As part of the program, students gain access to the Kenan-Flagler Energy Center, which enhances the student experience through career-focused events and conferences, research assistantships, curriculum development, internship assistance and access to faculty and industry professionals.


M.S. in Global Energy Management

■ Program Highlight: CU Denver GEM’s executive in residence program gives students direct access to industry leadership.

■ Tuition: According to the program website, the total cost of tuition for the M.S. in global energy management is $54,000, or $4,500 per course.

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The University of Colorado Denver Global Energy Management (CU Denver GEM) takes an expansive view of the energy industry, providing a flexible curriculum that actively responds to the developing energy world.

Over the course of the 18-month program, students will be able to collaborate directly with three different energy executives through the CU Denver GEM program’s executive-in-residence feature. This immediate student connection to the C-suite is a unique feature of CU Denver GEM. Combined with the program’s faculty, all energy practitioners with an average 15-plus years of work experience create a learning environment that is closely connected to the industry itself. Students complete coursework online and attend a four-day on-campus weekend held in Denver every three months.

In addition to the M.S. degree, CU Denver GEM faculty offer several relevant certificate programs that demonstrate the school’s energy-focused curriculum. These include the global energy financial management certificate, which is a for-credit program that strengthens hard skills in energy finance, and the energy analytics and Big Data for managers certificate, which provides an in-depth look at the practices of the increasingly relevant field of data analytics.

University of Colorado Denver



■ Program Highlight: A significant portion of EMBA graduates report promotions and new responsibilities during the program.

■ Tuition: The total program cost for the EMBA program for in-state and out-ofstate residents is $77,000.

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Before enrolling in the EMBA program at University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business, students must have acquired five years of experience. On average, EMBA students already have 12 years of management experience. As a result, the program is able to tackle problems directly relevant to executives, including those in energy, from the start.

Students earn their EMBA through 18 months of coursework, which is offered in a hybrid learning environment with a 50:50 mix of classroom and online learning. In-person commitments required of students comprise two week-long residences, 21 weekend sessions and a 12-day international residency. The international residency directly exposes students to challenging global business environments through multiple intensive learning experiences.

In an exit survey of graduating students, 39% of EMBA students reported that they were promoted during the program and 59% said they were awarded new responsibilities at work, according to the program’s brochure.


EMBA and M.S. in Global Energy Management

■ Program Highlight: University of Houston’s EMBA and GEM programs provide specialized instruction and connections to Houston’s energy industry.

■ Tuition: The total investment for the Bauer EMBA program is $74,700 for Texas residents but differs for nonresidents. The Bauer GEM program costs $35,000 (tuition and fees) for Texas residents and $60,000 for international students.

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The University of Houston leads a number of energy-focused programs and initiatives. Its C.T. Bauer College of Business offers two separate graduate degree programs of notable relevance for energy professionals: the Bauer EMBA and the M.S. in global energy management, offered through the Gutierrez Energy Management Institute. Both programs benefit from University of Houston’s deep industry engagement to provide distinct course offerings and student opportunities.

The Bauer EMBA program emphasizes the international nature of business and includes an intensive 10-day international residency, which takes place between the first and second year of classes. Available in weekend-only (20 months) and evening formats (22 months), the 48-credit hour EMBA curriculum comprises two separate but related tracks: the EMBA core and a leadership track.

The Bauer GEM program is the only M.S. in global energy management program offered in Texas and was created in response to the evolving needs of the industry. The 36-hour, 12-course program is most relevant for professionals working in energy management, energy finance and energy trading, according to the program web site. In general, classes in the Bauer GEM program take place once a week from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The Bauer GEM program is now an Energy Risk Professional program partner with the Global Association of Risk Professionals, a framework through which academic institutions can ensure that their risk management course offerings align with global industry needs and best practices.


University of Oklahoma
University of Oklahoma

EMBA in Energy

■ Program Highlight: OU’s energy-only EMBA curriculum has been recently updated to provide executives with the full tools to navigate the energy transition.

■ Tuition: The total cost of the program,
including tuition and fees, is $85,500.

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University of Oklahoma’s (OU) nationally ranked EMBA in energy program offers students a 15-month curriculum that will prepare them to thrive during the industry’s transition to renewable and alternative energies. Unlike most other EMBA programs in the U.S., the program’s curriculum is entirely focused on the energy industry, with all components of the program having been designed with the real-world needs and challenges of energy professionals in mind.

Adapting to the increased sense of urgency around transition, the EMBA program has developed new classes and revised existing curriculum to better prepare students to innovate and lead in the growing fields of renewable energy, alternative fuels and electrification.

An integral component of the EMBA program is its international residency module, which grants students the opportunity to take courses in Amsterdam and London. In addition to the international residency, the EMBA program has two domestic residencies that take place on campus, one at the start of the program and another at its conclusion.

Due to the intensive nature of its curriculum, which will equip students with knowledge on topics such as decarbonization and energy economics, the university recommends that students set aside at least 25 hours per week to absorb new materials, complete assignments and work with their classmates on team exercises.


Online MBA

■ Program Highlight: With a highly affordable tuition rate and cost-savings through transfer credits, the online MBA at University of Phoenix is a cost effective means of earning a graduate business education.

■ Tuition: The tuition rate for the program is $639 per credit, or $21,087 in total.

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To accommodate the needs of working professionals, the University of Phoenix offers an online MBA to teach students how to use technology, manage projects and human resources, direct operations and excel in finance and marketing. The program is accredited by the ACBSP.

The 33-credit program can be completed one course at a time, or 18 months in total. To save costs, the program offers students the opportunity to transfer applicable credits from other institutions they previously attended.

With a 19:1 student-faculty ratio, University of Phoenix students receive personalized feedback on their performance and assignments. Graduates of the program frequently find placements in management occupations, including the oil and gas industry.


Online MBA in Energy Business

■ Program Highlight: This is one of only three programs accredited by the American Association of Professional Landmen.

■ Tuition: In 2019 the estimated total tuition cost for the program was $43,250.

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With a focus on leadership and innovation, the University of Tulsa Collins College of Business MBA in energy business program affords students an opportunity to complete a nationally ranked graduate business program with their choice of concentration in energy law and regulation, energy economics/finance, or corporate strategy and commercial operations.

To meet the diverse needs of students, this 34-credit hour program is offered online with spring, summer and fall start options. The program is usually completed in 24 months. During this time period, students will travel to the University of Tulsa twice for executive style weekend seminars that provide networking opportunities and include experiential learning activities.

The MBA in energy business program has received multiple forms of accreditation. Along with its AACSB accreditation, held by all Collins College programs, the MBA in energy business program in particular is one of three post-baccalaureate programs accredited by the American Association of Professional Landmen.


EMBA and Full-time, Evening and Weekend MBAs

■ Program Highlight: UT’s McCombs School of Business offers a diverse set of graduate business programs to meet varying student needs.

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University of Texas’ (UT) McCombs School of Business offers multiple MBA tracks to accommodate a variety of schedules and backgrounds. In addition to the full-time MBA and EMBA programs, the McCombs School of Business offers multiple working professional MBA formats: the evening MBA at Austin and weekend MBA programs at Houston and at Dallas/Fort Worth.

The full-time MBA offers more than 20 concentrations and study abroad opportunities for students to customize their two-year learning experience. For working professionals, the evening MBA based in Austin allows students to complete classes at night, without interrupting their careers. This program can be completed in two and a half years and still allows students to network and benefit from the classroom experience.

For students in Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth seeking to earn a degree while continuing their career, UT offers MBA programs that meet on alternating weekends with a two-year targeted degree time. These offerings focus on teaching students a broad set of business management skills in a cohort-focused curriculum.

Highly experienced professionals looking to develop new skills can enroll in the EMBA program, which allows optimum flexibility and fast degree turnaround. Students complete most coursework online and spend one weekend per month at UT’s campus in Austin to collaborate with colleagues and professors. The targeted degree completion time for the EMBA is 20 months.

University of Texas
University of Texas


M.S. in Energy Management

■ Program Highlight: Practical instruction drawn from real-world deals and executive mentorship helps graduates hit the ground running in energy.

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The Naveen Jindal School of Management at University of Texas-Dallas designed the M.S. in energy management program to provide a hands-on curriculum that addresses the myriad practical challenges involved in managing energy assets, technically and financially.

The 36-hour STEM program uses real-world contracts and case studies in its curriculum and takes students to diverse energy facilities as part of its experiential learning component. An overall mixture of traditional MBA courses and energy courses, 24 credit hours form the core curriculum, which all M.S. students complete, and the remaining 12 credit hours consist of electives. Students can follow one of four available specialized curriculum tracks, each tailored to specific career outcomes: energy risk management, energy analytics, international energy management and energy operations.

According to the program website, all students in the M.S. in energy management program are assigned energy executive mentors.