Petroleum Geology

The Moncrief Petroleum Geology program is designed for geoscientists planning careers in the oil & gas industry, as well as careers in resource assessment and energy policy.

The Petroleum Geology Program was begun in 2002 thanks to a $1 million endowment from Western alumnus Paul Rady, CEO of Antero Resources. Another $2.5 million in gifts from legendary oilman W.A. “Tex” Moncrief, Jr. of Ft. Worth, Texas, in 2005 and 2007 established the "Moncrief Petroleum Geology Program". This further strengthened the program and is indicative of the significance of Western’s efforts to the industry. Interested students and sponsors can contact Rob Fillmore or Allen Stork, for more information.

Job Prospects are Outstanding

  • About half of all geoscientists will be retiring over the next ten years. Companies WILL replace them.
  • A hiring boom was experienced in the late 70's and early 80's within the petroleum, mining, environmental, engineering, government and academic geology areas. As these individuals retire, job opportunities for college graduates are greatly expanded.
  • In recent years, a hiring boom has brought career opportunities at all levels that is associated with a 10-20% increase in salaries for professional geologists with 0-2 years experience .  Over the past 10 years, the number of people enrolling in geoscience programs has been steady and according to AGI (American Geological Institute www.agiweb.org) only about 15% of those who enroll actually enter the geologic "professional pipeline".  This means there are far fewer graduates than their are positions to fill.

Who Should Pursue a Degree in Geology?

Geology is fundamentally a field science.  We work to collect information about natural systems and use this information to understand geologic process, to explore for natural resources, and to guide environmental stewardship. Working as a geologist requires strong skills in spatial thinking, visualization, creativity, and a sound foundation in the basic sciences (physics, and chemistry) and mathematics, all of which provide you with an ability to take large, sometimes fragmented datasets to understand natural processes.

In addition to the field aspects of our work, many professional geologists are engaged in modeling natural systems, which requires some interest in working with technology, computer programming, database management, and geospatial database management. Writing well and having skill in communicating complex ideas to your peers and to laymen improves a geology majors chance of professional success.

In addition to this broad spectrum of skills, geologists, unlike many other scientists, must consider the importance of "deep" time.  Many natural changes occur at very slow rates, often requiring a geologist to consider problems over time scales much larger than the human experience.

Wired for the 21st Century

The Petroleum Geology program is housed in Hurst Hall, one of the most technologically sophisticated science buildings in Colorado.  Instruction occurs in the GIS/Petroleum Geology lab.  The lab has thirteen student station for highly interactive instruction and uses the most up to date industry software and data sets.  In recent months the petroleum industry has made investments in Western’s program totaling more than $750,000.

  • P.R.A. BasinMod: Petroleum systems modeling
  • GeoPlus Petra: Well log correlation, petrophysics and mapping
  • Seismic Micro Technologies Kingdom Suite: 2D/3D seismic interpretation and modeling
  • GLS LithoTect: Seismic depth conversion and cross-section balancing
  • GeoTools QuickDip: Statistical Curvature (SCAT) dipmeter analysis
  • Midland Valley 2D and 3D Move: Balanced cross-section modeling
  • N.G.A. GMSys: Interactive gravity and magnetics modeling

The Moncrief Petroleum Geology program at Western:

  • Provides students a solid academic foundation
  • Combines classroom and field study with current industry technology
  • Fosters professional contact with industry geoscientists
  • Promotes industry internships for early career reinforcement
  • Mentors students toward relevant graduate programs
  • The Petroleum Geology Research Program - Undergraduates are engaged in applied and fundamental research.  Funding sources provide summer research experiences.

Why study Petroleum Geology at Western State Colorado University?

In addition to the strengths of the Moncrief Petroleum Geology Program, Western is located in an extraordinary natural laboratory.  Students gain a strong background in basic geology with an emphasis on critical thinking and visualization.  The local outdoor environment provides a wide range of opportunities for unique field experiences and undergraduate research opportunities.  Combined with a comprehensive technology experience, and our emphasis on written and oral communication, our students are generally highly qualified for entry-level work in industry or for continued study in graduate programs throughout the country.

Interested in the latest news on the state of salaries for geologic professionals?  The 2011 article by Larry Nation, AAPGs Communication Directory can be found at http://www.aapg.org/explorer/2011/04apr/salary0411.cfm.

Next Steps

If you're interested in Western's Petroleum Geology Program, we invite you to take the next steps towards becoming a part of the Mountaineer family. 

Share your interest with friends and family: 
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  2. Get more information about the program.
  3. Schedule a campus visit so you can meet professors, see the beautiful Gunnison Valley, and find out if Western is the perfect school for you.
  4. Start the online application process - apply online now.
  5. Find scholarships, grants, or financial aid that match your interests and situation.

Courses

Scholarships

Scholarships associated with academic programs usually have a specific scholarship application form that can easily be obtained by contacting that academic program's office or visiting that academic program's web page. If you have any questions, please contact the Financial Aid office at 970.943.3085 or 800.876.5309.

 Moncrief Petroleum Geology Scholarship, Transfer Students

Moncrief Petroleum Geology Scholarship for Transfer Students is Available to:

Students transferring to Western State Colorado University, with an interest in working in the petroleum industry with a declared major in Geology. Completion of at least 45 credit hours, GPA of 3.25 or higher and an ACT composite of 25 or greater. Renewable for up to two years with continuing progress made toward a degree in Comprehensive or Petroleum Geology, full time status and a cumulative 3.0 GPA overall.

Scholarship Provided by:

W. A. Moncrief, Jr.

Amount: $1,500 a year for up to two years

Scholarship Recipient Selected by:

Western State Colorado University Geology faculty

Application: Geology faculty review geology majors for consideration. Contact the Department of Natural and Environmental Sciences for additional information. (970) 943-2015 - Hurst Hall 128

Find out more about Western's Geology Program at www.western.edu/geology