Life at KU

Understanding KU’s #12 Nationally Ranked Petroleum Engineering Program


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Famous football coach Vince Lombardi once said, “Winning isn’t everything…it’s the only thing”, and as evidenced by the recent U.S. News & World Report release, KU’s newly ranked Petroleum Engineering Program could feel the same way; and at #12 in the country, KU’s Petroleum Engineering program may be the school’s best kept secret.

Also, with a new $82 million Earth, Energy, and Environment Complex – set to be completed in August of 2017 – the university will finally have the much needed space to continue impacting research in the Petroleum Engineering field. With this facility, along with prestigious faculty, and an unwavering focus on world changing research it’s clear to see how they got to #12 in the country.

1. Reason #1 Innovative Facilities

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One reason for the Petroleum Engineering’s ranking is the School of Engineering’s new and innovative facilities, which the school has been aggressively expanding since 2012.

According to their website,

“More and more students are choosing to earn their engineering and computing degrees at the University of Kansas. KU Engineering’s undergraduate enrollment is expected to grow by 60 percent as established in the school’s Building on Excellence Initiative. To meet increasing demand, the School of Engineering must add 60 percent to the school’s footprint.”

To meet that goal the School of Engineering initiated an expansion strategy that began in 2012, and is as follows:

  • Fall 2012
    • M2SEC research center opens (46,898 sq. ft.)
  • Summer 2013
    • Hill Engineering Research & Development Center opens (4,350 sq. ft.)
  • Fall 2014
    • West Campus Building opens (24,709 sq. ft.)
  • Fall 2015
    • Main Campus Building opens (109,819 sq. ft.)

You can also include the Earth, Energy, and Environment Complex going up next year consisting of about 145,000 sq. ft.

2. Reason #2 Prestigious Faculty

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Another key part of the School of Engineering’s academic quality, which probably impacted the U.S. News & World Report ranking is their faculty.

One of the most prominent faculty members in the Petroleum and Chemical Engineering department is Professor Bala Subramaniam. Professor Subramaniam was recently awarded the honor of ACS-IEC Division Fellow and holds KU’s highest award in research, the Higuchi Research Achievement Award.

For Professor Subramaniam, KU’s programs not only excel in research, but also teaching:

“I truly believe that if a graduate student wants to see balance in excellence in teaching, and excellence in research – they will see it here at KU.”

Professor Subramaniam is one of the many accomplished faculty in the Chemical and Petroleum Engineering department. He also has a great video explaining his research from his recent appearance at KU Elevate.

3. Reason #3 Unwavering Focus

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KU’s unwavering focus towards creating research that impacts the world undoubtedly came into consideration during the U.S. News & World Report’s ranking process.

In the Petroleum Engineering Department, one example of cutting edge research comes out of their Tertiary Oil Recovery Program (TORP).

According to the TORP website,

“The aim of TORP research is to evaluate the full potential of the oil recovery processes in the region. This includes tertiary oil recovery as well as more standard technologies such as water-flooding.”

For a full list of the University’s Chemical and Petroleum labs click here.

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