Academics & Research

Minor energizes students of all disciplines

The Honors College is bringing a new minor to UH, allowing students to broaden their horizons by studying in multiple disciplines.

The Energy and Sustainability minor is open to all majors on campus and includes courses in business, technology, architecture, political science, chemistry, English and history.

“The intersection of energy and environment contains a variety of issues that will remain important throughout the 21st century,” said history professor Joseph Pratt.

“This minor gives students a chance to understand these important issues, gives them a potential boost in job markets, and (allows them) to become knowledgeable citizens.”

Pratt partnered with chemistry professor Ognjen Miljanic to create a joint class of U.S. history and engineering, an interdisciplinary course that is also an introductory course for the minor.

“An advantage of this minor is that (because Houston is) the energy capital of the U.S., lots of students will find jobs with energy corporations. It is important to educate them in that field, but the problem I saw is energy crosses so many fields,” Miljanic said.

“Putting these courses together in one minor that is a focus program and is coherent is going to educate students better in job prospects.”

Honors College Dean William Monroe said he is excited about the new minor not just because Houston is the energy capital of the world, but because sustainability is such an important issue today. He thinks that because energy and sustainability are such complex issues, offering classes from a wide range of professors in different disciplines makes for a richer educational experience for students.

“For students looking to work in the energy sector, it will give them a base knowledge that will make them attractive for recruiters,” Monroe said.

“For students who are interested in the sustainability side, it will help them gain understanding of what sustainability is and the various factors, social, political and economic, that are in play when it comes to sustainability.”

The minor was launched in Spring 2013 and will have its first graduate in December. It requires 18 hours of coursework including working alongside a professor to complete a final research project.

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