Subsea Engineering

Message from the Founding Director

Matthew Franchek

Welcome to the nation’s first Subsea Engineering Graduate Program, located in the world’s oil and gas capital of Houston, Texas! In partnership with the world’s leading energy engineering companies, the University of Houston has created a relevant 21st-century energy engineering education, comprised of classroom lectures and hands-on software lessons for subsea systems design. Our program is the next step in an international outreach effort resulting in UH emerging as the Energy University. Today, UH offers a seamless curriculum comprised of oil and gas exploration, petroleum engineering through production, and petroleum refining.

Offshore oil and gas reserves are increasingly important sources of energy, as well as a significant driver of the international economy. There are billions of barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas predicted to lie within federally controlled waters in the Gulf of Mexico alone, including off the coast of Texas. The major problem is that the reserves lie underneath 10,000 feet of water, presenting unprecedented engineering challenges. The technical challenges in designing reliable oil producing systems in this environment manifest themselves as (i) heat transfer of multi-phase flow within pipes, (ii) fluid-solid interactions of flexible structures (such as risers and pipelines), (iii) reliability of materials in the presence of corrosion (due to sea water) and (iv) integration and control of the complete subsea system. Our graduate Subsea Engineering Program formalizes an engineering science-based education in subsea engineering. The curriculum provides the scientific and technical skills necessary to create the first generation of trained subsea engineering specialists.

Each subsea engineering course has its lecture content distributed as one-third basic engineering sciences, one-third engineering practices in subsea engineering (i.e., translating the engineering sciences into engineering design methods, including following regulated engineering standards) and one-third knowledge synthesis (enabled through a major design project). Each course also requires a written project report, a technical presentation and the use of state-of-the-art subsea engineering software. Our courses also provide an excellent opportunity to start networking with other engineering professionals.

If we can provide any information about our program, please contact us immediately. I wish you the best in all of your professional development efforts and hope to see you in one of my classes.

Best Wishes,
Matthew A. Franchek, Ph.D.
Founding Director of Subsea Engineering (2011-2017)
Department of Mechanical Engineering
University of Houston