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Turning Innovation Into Enterprise


WVU Launches Two New Energy Programs Designed to Prepare Students for Careers in Energy

College of AgWest Virginia University’s Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design had a busy summer preparing to launch its Bachelor of Science degree program in Energy Land Management (ELM).  This is a companion to the Environmental and Energy Resource Management program launched last year.

Both programs were developed as a result of the exponential growth of energy as an innovative industry and are designed to prepare students for important roles in the energy sector.  Students will develop skillsets that are portable across industries, and they will graduate equipped to work in the oil, natural gas, coal and renewable energy sectors in positions ranging from government and regulatory affairs to land contracts and lease management.

Energy Land Management Major

The ELM program will focus on equipping students with the knowledge necessary to succeed as energy land managers. Professionals in this discipline determine the ownership of surface and subsurface rights, negotiate contracts and leases, coordinate field exploration activities, serve as a liaison between lease owners and exploration and production companies and ensure community and environmental quality during energy development.

On June 9, the ELM program reached a significant milestone when they acquired approval from the West Virginia University Faculty Senate to proceed with a new degree program and major in Energy Land Management.  Seven new classes were approved as part of the offering.

Energy companies with large footprints in West Virginia and the Marcellus Shale have supported the ELM program through its development and are pleased to see its progress.

Mark Acree, Senior Land Manager in the Marcellus Business Unit at Noble Energy, Inc. said that Noble Energy is proud to support this exciting academic initiative that will prepare students for careers in energy land management.

“Noble Energy is proud to financially support West Virginia University’s Energy Land Management program and serve on the ELM Advisory Board,” said Acree.

“We look forward to watching the program grow and are actively involved in contributing to the success of the program through our advisory board membership and by providing guest lecturers for classes. We anticipate this program will generate very qualified students that will be prime candidates for internships and ultimately, recruited to work with top energy companies around the country, Noble Energy included.”

The ELM program will be reviewed by the WVU Board of Governors in September for final approval.

Environmental and Energy Resource Management Major

The Environmental and Energy Resource Management program was developed to offer a broad energy-based curriculum to prepare students for long-term career opportunities in government, industry and regulatory roles in the thriving energy sector.

The program emphasizes the core components of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning in its curriculum, and all students are required to take a core curriculum with required coursework in energy, environment, economics and entrepreneurship.  Students select electives in in one or more of the four core areas to design a plan of study specific to their interests.

Internships are also encouraged as a key component of the program to allow students to select an area of focus and develop hands-on experience in the field that has the potential to pave the way for long-term career opportunities.

Dr. Daniel Robinson, Dean of the WVU Davis College, says it’s the right degree program for WVU and the state of West Virginia.

“The energy sector represents opportunity, jobs, revenue, community development and industrial activity,” said Robinson.  “This is the right time and the right state to pursue an energy-based degree.

For more information on both of these programs visit