MPGE to Launch Externship Program

Internships play a crucial role in the success of any degree program by allowing students to apply knowledge gained within the classroom to a real-world, hands-on industry setting. The Mewbourne School of Petroleum and Geological Engineering (MPGE) at OU believes so strongly in the importance of internship experiences that it has embedded them into the required curriculum.

In conjunction with the natural ebb and flow of the energy sector, internship offers for students decline during downturns in the industry and rise as the market improves. To stabilize this pattern and continue opportunities for students to learn through practical application, MPGE test marketed an externship program during the summer of 2016. The program paired faculty and students together to collaborate on research. This relationship was mutually beneficial, as faculty received additional labor to take on projects and students gained a first-hand understanding of the challenges faced by the industry. Demand for participation in the program was strong.

After seeing the success of the pilot program, MPGE is seeking to expand upon and launch the MPGE Externship Program. Presently, ten faculty have agreed to participate for 2017, with a goal to pair each of them with 3-4 students. In order to develop a strong and lasting program, though, further collaboration with companies to sponsor research and enable MPGE to hire students is needed. Industry sponsorship takes place in two areas:

  • Project Sponsorship
    • Provide corporate projects for student teams and faculty to complete during the externship
    • Provide datasets for research
    • Approximate project timeline of 6-8 weeks
    • Example projects include: field analysis, reservoir modeling and well control
  • Student Sponsorship
    • Fund an undergraduate student stipend ($1,000/month; $2,000 total)
    • Fund a graduate student to serve as a teaching assistant at $1,500/month ($3,000 total)
    • Fund a team of undergraduate students and a teaching assistant ($10,000 for the 2017 program)

MPGE Externship Program can only be successful if it meets the energy industry’s needs. To ensure this, regular contact with project sponsors will be maintained at the beginning, midpoint and end of each project to brief them on progress. At the close of the externship season, final project reports, providing detailed research findings, will be presented by each team to their sponsor.

Companies that provide sponsorship will find a low-cost opportunity in which to vet potential future employees. Additionally, each will enjoy the benefit of high-quality deliverables brought through high-caliber research completed by renowned faculty and OU students using modern, high-tech equipment unavailable to many smaller companies.

Project areas include:

  • Reservoir simulation, field studies, data analytics, EOR, reservoir characterization and petrophysics
  • Well control, well bore integrity, drilling simulation, cement and tubular integrity, well bore hydraulics, multi-phase flow and solid transport
  • Type curves and artificial lift for unconventionals, asphaltene deposition and wettability alteration

Facility and technological capabilities are:

  • Integrated Core Characterization Center: a state-of-the-art petrophysics laboratory for characterization of conventional and unconventional reservoir rocks
  • Well Construction Technology Center: a well-equipped laboratory to study wellbore corrosion, drilling hydraulics and multiphase flow, drilling fluids properties and cutting and solid transport
  • Drilling Simulation Center: a drilling process simulator and well control simulator

Those interested in supporting this project should contact Chandra Rai, MPGE director, at


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