Rice Initiative for the Study of Economics to offer master's degree in energy economics

HOUSTON – (July 27, 2015) – This fall the Rice Initiative for the Study of Economics (RISE) at Rice University will begin offering a Master of Energy Economics degree.

The new professional master's degree is a 12-month, 40-credit-hour program designed to offer students graduate-level education that emphasizes applying economic principles to analyze and understand commercial and other influences on energy markets and effectively communicate their insights. It will provide students with a deep set of analytical skills along with practical knowledge of energy markets and will offer practical training for energy markets analysts working in government, the private sector and international organizations.

Rice Department of Economics

Rice Department of Economics

"Rice has a reputation in energy studies built upon the programs in the Department of Economics and the Baker Institute for Public Policy’s Center for Energy Studies," said Antonio Merlo, Rice's George A. Peterkin Professor of Economics, chair of the Department of Economics and director of RISE. "The Department of Economics currently has a field of study for its Ph.D. students in energy economics, which consistently places students at high levels of industry, government and academia. Given the resources available in Houston and at the university, Rice is uniquely positioned to offer a very successful professional master's degree program in energy economics."

Merlo said that energy is essential for continued economic activity in modern industrialized nations, and its absence would result in economic decline and rapidly diminishing standards of living. He said that because Rice is situated in Houston, the "widely recognized energy capital of the world," it is a perfect place for the program.

"None of the existing master's programs addressing energy economics are in Houston, and none are like the new program we have created," Merlo said. "In addition to being the only energy economics program that is one year in length, our program is focused on the study of markets and economic principles that are relevant to the energy sector, which is a critical part of the study of energy economics."

The inaugural class will matriculate this fall and includes 26 students. Merlo noted that the class is extremely diverse, with students from 11 countries (including the U.S.) represented.

"Many of these students have substantial work experience in the energy sector and are looking to increase their knowledge and expertise of the functioning of energy markets," he said. "Others are new graduates. The students have a wide variety of educational backgrounds, ranging from engineering to geology to general economics and finance. We look forward to producing graduates who will help companies and governments position themselves to deal with the uncertainties that are pervasive in the energy sector."

For more information on the Master of Energy Economics, including application requirements, visit http://economics.rice.edu/