News Releases

South Dakota School of Mines & Technology to add Minor in Petroleum Systems
Release Date Tuesday, June 10, 2014

RAPID CITY, S.D. (June 10, 2014) – The South Dakota School of Mines & Technology announced today it will add a minor in Petroleum Systems as part of its broader Energy Resource Initiative, pending approval from the Board of Regents this week.

“The energy industry is rapidly growing in our region. Many of our graduates are already hired into the industry and we are well positioned to expand both teaching and research in this field,” said Heather Wilson, president of South Dakota School of Mines & Technology.

Likely to attract students from the mining engineering and management, geology, geological engineering, mechanical engineering, civil engineering and chemical engineering disciplines, the new minor will be available to any student at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology beginning this fall.

The minor in Petroleum Systems is the education component of a broader Energy Resource Initiative, which will serve both upstream and downstream energy industries and encompass a state-of-the-art laboratory for petrophysics/geomechanics research. Mines anticipates adding a faculty member renowned throughout industry and higher education for expertise in this area to supplement its existing strong faculty in geology, mining, civil and environmental engineering, mechanical engineering and chemical engineering.

In April, the university announced a new Shale Research Initiative in which researchers will investigate the geomechanical and hydrological properties, mineralogy and composition of various shale units to further the scientific and engineering applications of shale and other fine-grained rocks. In partnership with RESPEC Consulting & Services and supported by the Department of Energy and the State of South Dakota, initial work will assess the feasibility of what would be the nation’s first underground shale research laboratory.

The South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is equidistant from three of the largest energy-producing basins in the United States: the Williston Basin (Bakken, N.D.) to the north, the Powder River Basin to the northwest and the Denver Basin directly south. The university, known for having one of the best returns on investment in the nation for a college education, is located in Rapid City, S.D., and offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in science and engineering.

“Mines is an exceptional engineering and science university. We will prepare engineering and science leaders, conduct research and catalyze economic development in the energy industry, which is a priority for economic development in South Dakota,” Wilson said.

Set to begin this fall, the new minor will offer an 18-credit program in a mix of new and existing courses, including core courses in drilling and production engineering, fluid mechanics and a petroleum field course. The minor is expected to be approved by the South Dakota Board of Regents this week.

Additionally, the SD School of Mines is developing a Graduate Certificate in Petroleum Systems, a 12 credit-hour program of graduate-level course work open to both Mines graduate students and outside professionals.


About SDSM&T

Founded in 1885, the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is a science and engineering research university located in Rapid City, S.D., offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university enrolls 2,640 students from 45 states and 37 countries, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1. The average starting salary for graduates is $62,400 with a 98 percent placement rate. Find us online at, on Facebook at and on Twitter at