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Departments & Programs



The BPSM curriculum consists of 8 core courses, selected to provide a broad cross-sectional view of the elements of basin and petroleum system modeling. Students will complete the balance of required total units from the list of elective courses. Other courses may be substituted in consultation with the faculty advisor. Some prerequisite undergraduate courses may be necessary for some students.

GES248The Petroleum System: Investigative method to explore for conventional & unconventional hydrocarbons. This new-for-2014 seminar led by Les Magoon introduces the petroleum system concept and how it can be used to more systematically investigate both  unconventional and conventional accumulations. Topics include how to identify, map, and name a petroleum system.   In its inaugural meeting at Stanford this fall, the course has attracted 16 students from across the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences.

GES255, Basin and Petroleum System Modeling, is our marquee course. Taught three times since our inception, the course has resulted in introducing many graduate students and associated scientists to this exciting field in petroleum sciences. Course lectures combine the geochemistry, geology, and geophysics of petroleum systems with sedimentary basin analysis to develop the most robust concept possible of the basin in question. During the lab session, all of the gathered information is input to PetroMod software to create a multi-dimensional numerical representation of the basin. Calculated quantities include generation-migration-and accumulation of petroleum. Lectures are led by Dr. Ken Peters, with numerous guest lectures by field experts, and labs are led by Dr. Allegra Hosford Scheirer and Les Magoon.

GES256 (formerly GES292; also cross-listed as ENERGY275), Quantitative Methods in Basin and Petroleum System Modeling, initiated in the fall of 2011 to allow students to dive deeper into the equations behind basin and petroleum modeling software. Drs. Tapan Mukerji and Allegra Hosford Scheirer developed lectures designed to derive the basic equations of fundamental, coupled geologic processes such as fluid flow and heat flow, deposition, compaction, mass conservation, and chemical reactions. Other lectures provided detailed overviews of the petroleum system concept and “recipes” for how to start a modeling project. Lab exercises followed up on concepts introduced in the lectures, and students used PetroMod, COMSOL, and MATLAB software in lab.